My front hall is hardly passable. I am purging. There are bags of clothes, nests of  tangled cables from long dead and unidentifiable devices, shoes whose soles I’ve walked off, coats from pre-1999, and obscure items whose origins are a total mystery to me (seriously, where the hell did some of this stuff come from?). As soon as this heap is moved out, more will fill its place.

At the moment, I’m the embodiment of indulgence being regurgitated as a spewing mess that is followed by the best sense of euphoric emptiness you can imagine.  I swear I will never, ever, ever, try to consume and create so much, all at once, again.

Right. (I always have the best intentions)

Easter colored flowers by glenna barlow CC on flickr via www.pithandvigor.com

This is spring cleaning on steroids. It isn’t just physical stuff, it is also mental stuff, paper stuff, emotional stuff and time stuff too. I’ve haven’t done this sort of thing before, but in the last two weeks, I’ve completely cut off a couple of people who make me crazy, killed a couple of  half-assed projects, shed some responsibilities (to things that I thought I owed, but I really don’t) and chipped away at a few bad habits (goodbye MSNBC and FB – your agitating minutes are now limited and numbered).

I’ve said ‘no’ at least 5 times this week, which might be more times than I have said ‘no’ in as many years.

I started working with someone (a coach/counselor) about a month ago – in an effort to feel a little less crazy – and within the first 15 minutes she told me I had boundary issues – pretty much in every aspect of my life.  Lightbulb moment – she was totally right.  How did I not see this? I was letting people take advantage, I wasn’t allowing space for myself (both physically and mentally) and I was letting false obligations get the best of me.  All the while spiraling into resentment and frustration.  It has taken some prodding on her part – as saying ‘no’ doesn’t always come easy to me… but it is kinda my new favorite word.

Sort of ironically, a significant part of this transformation has also been fueled by the discovery of a few empowering podcasts.  (I’ll share my whole list of current favorites in another post, soon).  But one that I am working my way through on my new daily walks with Zippy is Tiffany Han’s ‘Raise your Hand and Say Yes.   It is great – filled with lots of inspirational conversations with creative women who are finding their own way as they build and run creative businesses (like me, and I know a bunch of you, too).

But the ironic part is that I keep wondering if she might consider an episode called ‘Take Your Hand Down (right now dammit!), and Just Say No’ or more perhaps more accurately,  ‘Sit On Your Hands if Your Need To, Get a Grip, Create Some Boundaries and Stop Doing a Whole Bunch of Crap You Don’t Need To’.  And while you are at it, take 5 minutes to clean out a corner of your stupid closet – it is needlessly stressing you out!

I want to be the guest for that show ’cause that is my thing right now.

The best part of all this (and I’ll admit, it is not all easy self-righteous, slap down going on over here – it is sometimes emotional hard work), is that space is being made for new things. When you reach your limits, not only do you need to step back so that you don’t lose your mind, but you need to step back so that other things can come in. Creative people need space for new things and that space only comes from letting go of old things.  The new things are exciting and what keeps us going, and as I am starting to see them arrive on my own proverbial doorstep, I am pretty sure they will be worth it!

Image by Glenn Barlow on flickr by CC.  It exudes the spirit of spring and Easter and fresh starts and I thought it was worth sharing on this holiday morning. Also – would love a positive identification on what they are if you happen to know… some sort of looser and wilder version of snapdragon?

 

 

2 Responses to Purging for Sanity’s Sake

  1. I struggle with feeling like I need to “do all the things”. However, this is huge growth. I used to be a people pleaser on top of that. Talk about running yourself into exhaustion. Learning to let go of others opinions and say no is huge. It is harder than one would ever realize! Good for you for finding your boundaries. I hope your personal growth continues in ways that make you happy and healthy.

  2. Thanks Brianna! I like the way you put that, (“do all the things”) – I really like to be able to do all the things… but burnout leads me to enjoy them less and less. I feel like doing fewer of all the things, will help me fall back in love with some of them.

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