Clutter — it’s what messes up our lives. Not just the physical clutter, but the emotional clutter, the social clutter, the fear clutter, the expectation clutter. You may have other clutters on your list.
I’m reminded of a time when I decided to take an 8,000-mile road trip by myself. As soon as I mentioned it to my friends, the advice started. Even though no one had ever done what I was about to do, they told me what they thought. Because the trip was several months in the planning there was plenty of opportunity for advice-giving. Some people were fearful, because they couldn’t imagine themselves doing such a thing. I heard horror stories of women traveling alone and of other road trips gone bad. Pregnant women and adoptive parents often experience the same phenomenon: everyone feels free to share every experience they’ve ever heard of that is remotely related to their situation. Talk easily becomes overwhelming.
Listening to all the “stuff” offered by others can mess with a life. We begin to think, “Am I crazy? What was I thinking? Do I really want to do this?” We may start to second guess ourselves. The “what ifs . . .” begin to circle in our minds until they have grown exponentially to consume our self-confidence. What started out as a great idea, a journey unique to me or my family, becomes overshadowed with the fears and expectations of others.
If I’m not careful, the “stuff” just clutters my life. If I allow it, the “stuff” muddies my course with extraneous issues. Doubts creep in around the edges. The comments distract me from the plan that I’m laying out in front of me. Not that the plan is complete, but I’ve worked it out as far as I can see.
In times like this I need to implement Brian Gardner’s advice:
Remove the noise that gets in the way.
The unwanted comments, the unrelated advice, and the self-appointed experts are all noise. NOISE!!
Sometimes I mistake the noise for my personal truth. I’ve learned from experience that the two are not the same.
So what to do?
- Step aside; get away from the noise
- Remember what you’re about
- Reclaim focus for your journey
There will always be noise. But you can choose to push it aside. Call it what it is: noise. You don’t have to pick it up like extra baggage that you are obligated to carry.
Create your own practice of extrication to free yourself from entanglements and difficulties. Travel lightly. Take only what you need for your journey. Kick the rest to the curb.
Until next Tuesday . . .