Blessed are the poor in spirit….

I had this thought today in the shower because that is where I do the most profound thinking these days…

It’s a stream of conciousness so jump in a boat and hang on, yes? It starts like this: if I had a smaller house it would be cleaner…well, maybe not…if I had a smaller house and less stuff it would be cleaner…or at least it would be less cluttered….or maybe it’s a small house that has big closets…then, in theory I would have more stuff but I could hide it in the closets and thus my house would LOOK cleaner and less cluttered but then, I’d be afraid of my closets.

This led me to start thinking about the things I really do have in my closets and in the case of “storage” closets, why I have these things at all? The last time we moved we did pair it down but it seems that “storage items” are like expandable foam when left unattended. Any space left in the storage area becomes filled with no further explanation.

For a while we considered renting a “storage unit” in town for some of the items that no longer needed to be “on site” as it were. Our thinking at the time ran this way…we still want it, we don’t “need” it, or at least we don’t need immediate access to it so why don’t we get it an apartment of it’s own? Thankfully, we decided against this.

Because I AM Mrs Metaphor I thought I would draw this out a little and see how it applies to my life in a more than physical way. Indulge me for a moment.

What comes to me is this idea that the less I hang on to, clutter-wise the more space I have, regardless of my current capacity. I think through the things in my life that I hang on to…the clutter, the unneeded, the unwanted, the irrelevant, the unhealthy, perhaps even the baggage handed down from generation to generation taking up space in the attic, the closets, the basement. I imagine being able to take those things and remove them, like removing old files from a harddrive. What I’ve done is to make space, yes?

Becoming “poor in spirit”perhaps does not fit here exactly but I like to think the metaphor holds some merit even so. The more spriritual or emotional space I create in my own self the more able I am to serve others, to shoulder a little of their burden and when the time comes, perhaps help them purge as well so that perhaps the kingdom of heaven might belong to us after all…and then we’d actually have room for it.

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24 thoughts on “Blessed are the poor in spirit….

  1. We have too much stuff too. We need to declutter, but for some reason, we still hang on to things emotionally and the closets & crawl space fills to capacity.

    What’s the say? We accumulate stuff to fill up the storage space?

    Isn’t it interesting how emotional baggage can tie itself to real life baggage and reside in our closets? That’s a Stephen King movie, right there.
    Mrs M

  2. if you had less children, you’d have less clutter. you may consider renting a storage unit for them. pad it up, throw some toys and astronaut food in there and you’re all set. i’d be willing to bet the little rug rats would not mind, heck,they’d never want to come out of there.

    See, I was going to delete this one and let you off the hook on the name misspelling but since I had such a good comeback to your next comment I had ta let it in…it’s ALLLLL about the flow, babe.
    Mrs M

  3. if you had less children, you’d have less clutter. consider renting a storage space for them. pad it up, throw some toys and astronaut food in there and you’re all set. i’d be willing to bet the little rug rats wouldnt mind, in fact, they’d never want to come out of there.

    Aw, snap! It THAT the problem??
    Mrs M

  4. Amen and Alleluia to that, Sister! I am preoccupied with our “lack of space” when what it really is is our “wealth of STUFF”. I feel a major need to purge. The “Great No Presents Christmas of 2007” is sounding better and better. And the kids are ON BOARD — woo hoo! Heidi saw a commercial for some Christmas tripe today and she said, “We don’t believe that, do we Mom?” I fairly burst with pride.

    To tie in with the spirit of your post, I have to believe that many of the ailments I am currently suffering (PMDD, migraine, weight gain) are exacerbated by stress and stress is exacerbated by dwelling on my STUFF — where to keep it, how to work more hours to make money to get more of it, how to make my kids (and husband) take better care of their share of it, who to pay to clean it up and organize it, how to work more hours to pay said person to help me clean it up and organize it . . . and on and on it goes.

    LOL….especially that last line there, dina…wow…I’m right there with ya. Just stress of “parenting” my additional STUFF is enough to cause “insert ailment here.”
    Mrs M

  5. Hey MM,
    I think you’ve hit on something here. I believe that we accumulate ‘stuff’ in order to make space. If that makes sense? Speaking for myself, I often shop and buy when I’m down or feeling lonely. I feel small spiritually and have a compulsion to get some ‘things’ to feel less small. However, when I feel big spiritually things have little to no meaning – outside of the things I need (which really isn’t much) I’m usually happiest when I have very little. Odd, isn’t it?
    WC

    It is odd indeed…we are in a constant state of discontent for the most part, wanting to fill empty spaces by accumulating “things” and then feeling crushed by the very weight of them as they tumble out of the proverbial closet, yes?
    Mrs M

  6. Dear mrs., I have learned (again) recently, how much physical exercise can clear that spiritual/emotiona/mental clutter. Plus it has helped me slide back into my way-bigger-than-I’d-like Calvin Klein jeans, but they ARE still Calvins, so it’s good to be in ANYthing with a designer name, rather than from the section with the African wildlife prints (I think y’all know what I mean). It was the thought of these wildlife print clothes cluttering my closet (to stay on topic here), that played a big part in getting me to exercise again and, so, I guess I am poor in spirit because I have been duly humbled that I need to exercise to look decent, just like everybody else. Maybe the fact that many women accumulate “bum clutter” in an attempt to make room in their head and heart for why they aren’t taking care of themselves while they’re taking care of everybody else in the universe would be another good thing to post about sometime this month. Just trying to help your creative process. If you write another poem about it, though, I might get stressed out trying to understand it again and eat M&M’s which, in turn, create that bum clutter. Metaphors and cycles. . . hmmm.

    Bum clutter, I like that. I do have a theory that fits with yours Beefy, along those lines. I’ve often felt we accumlate the bum clutter to protect ourselves. We build up this actual flesh wall to keep people away. But, I like the way you are seeing it. With that in mind, I will see what comes to me for a post along those lines. I will write straight prose, beefy…because I like you. : )
    Mrs M

  7. I have the genetic packrat gene – both for the tangible/physical to the emotional. We are all packrats to one degree or another, some of us hold onto junk we think we can’t live without because it means we have arrived or simply we can’t bear to give up the kids artwork from kindergarten because it holds a place special our heart. Some of us are emotional packrats and can’t let go of issues or feelings and let them die. I am learning a great deal about myself and starting to declutter my life. Things have never really been important to me, I don’t care about designer labels, fancy coach bags (wouldn’t even know what one looks like or Prada stuff) I was stunned last week at the consumerism some of us instill in our children, my dd’s friend who is ten said she wanted a Prada purse for Christmas. I raised my eye brow at this and thought ‘wow’ what are the parents teaching this kid. My dd just wants a few games. When we indulge our kids at Christmas with every whim are setting them up in the future to be packrats or people who equate a true and good life with stuff? We have adopted the practice particularly around this time of year of purging our gently used things to charities for those who don’t have as much, some would say we are making room for more stuff, but I think it is more of making sure others benefit from our good fortune. I have also made the conscious decision to buy less and focus on things we can do as a family and traditions around the season.

    Now for clearing the clutter emotionally that we pick up over the years and sometime let sit in there because is is unresolved, I am learning that you can’t always resolve every issue and that sometimes you simply have to let it go and in a way it is resolved then. It may not have been the result I wanted, but why hang onto it? If you didn’t solve it at the time why keep thinking about it, because obviously it will always just sit there and bug you. I think when we deal with the emotional clutter of relationships we make it much harder than we really ought to. I also think there is more in the value of unconditional forgiveness than rehashing and trying to get it to be your way. Wow it took a long time for me to get this place. I also think we can cripple our children by being examples of bad emotional packrats, I think children need to see us deal with our problems and issues head on and know that you can’t always solve them and that is okay. We need to show them how to compromise in a healthy way so they are not submissive and bend all the time, but have courage to take the high road. How can you tell I have been pondering my relationships this week and how I relate to my loved ones and the world around me?

    To Dina, I don’t know how old your kids are, but I think even though they say they are on board with your idea of “no stuff Christmas 2007” they are just kids and yes you are teaching them something very healthy, but I think there would be disappointment. There is giving with the heart and then giving with excess and I think there can be a balance between the two, so I would encourage you to rethink this a little IMHO.

    I gotta say Mrs. you make me think about a lot of stuff.

    HH…I so appreciate your insights. truly.
    Mrs M

  8. Awwww, shucks, mrs. You’re makin’ me BLUSH! I like you, too! 🙂 I was thinkin’, on another twist of the same theme, maybe you could write another song and sing it: “My Empty Heart Don’t Flutter, But I Got the Bum Clutter.” One of this “since I lost you” songs . . .

    Well you know I ain’t bashful, I’m from Nashville
    Mrs M

  9. Good thinking, HH! Sifting, rehashing, and repacking the physical or emotional clutter doesn’t make it be gone, it just sucks away precious time and energy that could be better spent on spiritual and emotional growth and on nurturing relationships.

    Goodbye clutter!

    I would agree AND also I would differentiate between that which is piled on your emotional diningroom table so to speak from that which takes up space outside of your everyday view. The stuff we keep hidden in the attic and the basement. This, actually, DOES need to be sifted, rehashed and either repacked or tossed out. It’s that deep work that even though it may be out of sight is never TRULY out of mind, yes?
    Mrs M

  10. I think that we accumulate stuff because we can. I have a problem about clutter, too and I have no idea where it all came from.
    You see, I come from a country where “stuff” is not always easy to get. After food and bills, sometimes there’s nothing much left for the “I just had to have it” things. So we try to make good use of everything that we have. Having said that, my number one problem is throwing away things that I don’t use anymore. I just can’t. What’s worse is I still sometimes buy the wants.
    My mom was here with us during the summer and she told me one day, “You have too many stuff”. At first I thought, “Impossible!” She should see my friends’ homes. But when I really thought about it, I may have more stuff than 4 of my sister’s families combined. And we’ve only been here for 9 years. I really need to let go. With two kids growing up, I’m sure I’ll be accumulating more and more…. but as long as I can get rid of other things as quickly as we get new ones, I’ll be fine. Until I master that, I admit to being a Bum Clutter mom.

    Awareness of this, insight into what makes you tick and what pushes you along is such a gift, Crystal. Keep pursuing it, it’ll start to unravel at some point and then it will be time to let go.
    Mrs M

  11. Wow, it is deep in here. Loved all the insight truly.

    However, I am afraid you have hit me hard with my Bum Clutter.*

    Mercy, I moved 4 years ago, did the
    getting rid of a lot of stuff thing, downsizing thing etc: Just could not,repeat could not bring myself to get rid of so much that Yes, I am emotionally attached to. This Place is so much smaller, had to rent it an apartment as mrs. says. Did it do any good to downsize? Do I really think my daughter is going to want it? Or any of my loved ones? I asked her to take what she wanted and she says no room for now, Will there ever be?

    Why do I clean up something only to reorganize and put back?
    I tried blaming my Mama..lol. she was so neat and did not keep anything.
    I guess now I have been exposed..I am just a packrat!

    I heard many years ago that we tend to wear our hair the way we did when we were happiest. Do I hang on to a time when I was happier with the stuff?

    The big Why? I think you all are on to something. As a matter of fact, maybe this blog thing is keeping us (me) away from therapists. lol.

    Yes this is an excellent blog for thinking and having fun too. Mrs. I totally agree with the others, I join PB in the quest for the song…anxiously awaiting.

    LOL, I’ll send you the cyber-pseudo-therapy bill at the end of the month, babe.
    Mrs M

  12. Angie,

    I was happiest in my 20’s and that was in the 80’s – Thank goodness I don’t wear my hair teased to an inch of its life held together with superglue spray! Again we look at the various stages of our lives and there will always be one decade or another that we found the happiest. Would I go back there nope, because there are so many things that have enriched my life and changed my personal outlook and shaped me for who I am today. Yup there was pain and joy, but that makes you who you are. I have decided in my emotional decluttering you can’t revive the yesterdays and wish for them back because when you do this you wish away your tomorrows and don’t live today.

    I think the hardest thing we face is knowing when to let go, whether it be of stuff or relationships. We are always changing and so do our needs, desires and expectations. I am a pretty simple gal, I don’t really want for much, I am rich in many things the love of my family/friends, I have a small comfortable home (a wee bit cluttered) and a job I enjoy for the most part. I also find as I am getting older its not the stuff that makes me happy, its the relationships I form and the love of my family.

    There is nothing wrong with being a packrat, but sometimes you just have to know when to open up the garbage bag and start tossing.

    Pur I’m glad you think so! Emotional clutter and trying to rehash and resolve things at times is pointless and only leads to more emotional clutter. Sometimes it may never go away and will always be there, but at least you can tape the box shut and you don’t have to open it up again.

    Again Mrs. I enjoy your blog and your insights.

    HH, I enjoy yours as well, especially this one today: “I have decided in my emotional decluttering you can’t revive the yesterdays and wish for them back because when you do this you wish away your tomorrows and don’t live today.” Amen and amen.
    Mrs M

  13. Oh HH, thanks for your thoughts — we’re not blanking the kids (ages 4 and 8) on Christmas, just to be clear. We noticed last Christmas, however, that they would have been content to play with the first thing they opened and instead we had to pry those things out of their grateful little hands in order to get them to open the next things. The gratitude declined and whining ramped up with each subsequent gift opened. So, we’re thinking one well-thought-out gift each, things they will really enjoy and cherish, and charitable contributions for all the adults in the family. We’re also asking the aunts, uncles and grandparents (no cousins yet) to make charitable contributions in our names and to get only small gifts for the kids. It’s catching on among the family members. We also aren’t making this permanent (yet!) — it’s sort of a one year experiment.

    I also noticed that I was all stressed out, not just with the shopping, but with the shipping, too, and it just seems so silly. My parents are snowbirds, for heaven’s sake. The last thing they need is more stuff! I barely know my one SIL well enough to choose anything thoughtful for her, and on it goes. I promise myself each year that I won’t fall prey to the consumer culture, then I do. I lose all sense of Christmas (and myself) and end up a blubbering stressed out mess by Christmas morning.

    This year it’s sun and sand in Florida, no gifts to pack, and lots of time to enjoy my DH, kids and parents. And to remember what all the fuss is supposed to be about.

    “And to remember what all the fuss is supposed to be about.” Yes…this is what matters most…well done!
    Mrs M

  14. Dina, I’m glad, we have taken that approach as well. There is no point in giving things just for the sake of it, it should mean more than that. I would rather my dh cook me a wonderful breakfast and clean up the mess afterwards. Now that is something I really appreciate. Why don’t you take your SIL out to lunch or spend a day together so you can get to know each other better that could be your gift.

    I keep telling my folks that it is not necessary to buy things just to put under the tree. I would rather have time with them, they are getting older and the gift of time is so much more precious than a coffeemaker.

    Words of affirmation always work for me….it IS my loooooove language, you know.
    Mrs M

  15. Thanks HH,
    You are a wise woman as per your comment
    “I think the hardest thing we face is knowing when to let go, whether it be of stuff or relationships. We are always changing and so do our needs, desires and expectations. I am a pretty simple gal, I don’t really want for much, I am rich in many things the love of my family/friends, I have a small comfortable home (a wee bit cluttered) and a job I enjoy for the most part. I also find as I am getting older its not the stuff that makes me happy, its the relationships I form and the love of my family.”
    This is so true, and some of us will probably be working pn Letting go for a long time. Again thanks so much,you are KOOL!

    I agree!
    Mrs M

  16. Angie, It takes time and decluttering emotionally or physically can be done a step at a time. You don’t have to do it all at once. Just a wee bit at a time. Look at it for the accomplishment it is. As someone once said “A little goes a long way”.

    Yeah, don’t try to do the 27 fling boogie on it. LOL
    Mrs M

  17. Mrs, you may have read my blog post on voting and abstaining from politics. I think this idea of clutter is what the Jehovah’s Witnesses were getting at. They must think if you put a lot of energy into researching the candidates and staying informed on the latest political theories, you are spending your time in a certain way that might not be spiritual. You might get overwhelmed and disheartened. Or you might get really passionate about politics instead of your family (having your kids lick envelopes, for example). To feel like you can change anything about this world is not “meek”. I don’t agree with them, but I can see why they would try to avoid spending their time in that way.

    I did read that, it was a very good piece. I think you are onto something there.
    Mrs M

  18. MrsM-

    OK, I’ll give you the attics and basements argument. The sifting sorting and rehashing of all that can be like an adventure. Like a time capsule! Unpack it and blow off the dust, look at it with the perspective of a little time, savor the treasured memories that can be passed like family heirlooms, and toss whatever is just trash that is junking up the place. Get back to the living room or out into the sunshine. Ahhhh… less clutter!

    HH- Baby steps. I like that. Very cool.

    FW- Everything in moderation, right?

    ‘The perspective of a little time’ …no truer words were spoken, babe.
    Mrs M

  19. FW – Give it a few more years and you can task the kiddos with picking up the slack. Learning by watching and then learning by doing it with you, right? Soon they’ll be teaching their siblings. Teaching through modeling, it all comes full circle.

    Ack…I wish I could get the hang of that where housework is concerned…I still feel like the maid.
    Mrs M

  20. Everything is a baby step in life until we learn to run and then because we think we can do it faster, multi-task, its okay to try and do everything all at once. Think of all the joy you get when you find a treasure that brings back memories when you are decluttering. Just as in emotional decluttering it takes time to work it through. One step at a time, one step at a time Baby – oh yea!

    Or how good we feel when we are able to let go of the things which weigh us down…it’s all good!
    Mrs M

  21. MrsM — it is okay to feel like the maid, as long as you are not only demonstrating how to be the maid. Even the youngest are capable of taking responsibility and ownership for their space and helping with age-appropriate household tasks. From experience I can tell you that including the children makes some tasks take longer, and they are not always enthusiastic (I personally fake enthusiasm for laundry often) but the results are eventually just amazing.

    The part about faking enthusiasm for the laundry make me crack up…I’ve got to remember that!
    Mrs M

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