Sunday, October 25

The Great Mind Decluttering Experiment... phase 1

In my last post I said that the loss of mental space to write, "forces me to declutter my desires, interests, and projects."
I'm glad those who commented picked up on that because it gave me further pause to ponder on this issue.

There are people in this world who are focused. Some know what they Want to Be When They Grow Up, at the age of 10.... and go off and be that. Others have a few interests, that the focus on them allows those interests to blossom into areas of expertise, or careers, or Passions. Or simply, a satisfied life.

Then there are people like me, who wanted to be 10 different things When She Grew Up. People like me, who have done 10+ different types of jobs, have lived in varying places, and have expressed widely different personas. There are those like me who have several interests, hobbies, enjoyments, desires.

And not because I was/am fickle. Not because I crave variety. Not because I am indecisive. Not because I have some sort of personality disorder.

It's because I am profoundly interested.

Yes, that's all there is to that sentence. I am interested.

I am passionate about this world's offerings. It's an amazing place. Life is amazing. And I am a seeker (moon in Sag)

However, my soul produced the Impatience Shadow. Profound interest coupled with that Shadow, twists and reforms a passion for living into an intense Fear of Missing Out. From wanting to do all this stuff, to needing to do it. More accurately, believing I needed to do it all.

That Shadow whispers to me - there isn't enough time. Squeeze in more.
For a little while now, I have been telling it - it isn't about time at all.

So, okay, I healed that Shadow, then motherhood triggered it. Then I saw it re-emerge and started healing it again. And here I am on the Big Push.

Woman sifting, Fran├žois Alfred Delobbe

This big push, The Great Mind Decluttering Experiment (just because it amuses me), is to do the practical work of that healing.

I decided to do something that is quite weird for me, make a list. I listed, right here, everything I could think of that I do, would like to do, as well as things I'm interested in, at this moment in my life. I was specific, and I included things I know that I would probably not do, but have been floating around in my mind.
This is what it's all about - the stuff living in my head.

I left it and returned to add to it. I came up with 57 interests. I made myself half the list.
Then I removed everything I wasn't actually doing, or desperate to do.

I also merged some interests. And I reduced the list of interests to 12 items. It was hard work. I found myself fighting to keep things on the list! Like, actually trying to trick myself.

Then I came up with a way to clarify these items for myself. I asked myself to choose 2 items that relax me, two that feed my soul, and two that connect me. I kept well and truly away from the word 'enjoy'.

1. watching films
2. crochet

1. nature walks
2. writing

1. blogsurfing
2. community

So, I had the 8 above, plus only 4 items left over. I can't express how much freer I felt just doing that. It's like I'm giving myself permission to not do all that stuff. But I'm not there yet.

I asked myself to come up with four words that would describe what I find to be essential for me to be content and truly me. I'm sure these words will change, but they just matter for right now.


This part was to help me further solidify what I really needed to include in my day to day living. So the 8-item list above shifted as I became more and more honest with myself. And it was, and still is this morning, a bit of a shocking list.

Erm... I mean, hello... why isn't reading books up there, or studying, or researching, and how the heck did films make it?! And that writing one is looking rather ominous....

Stay tuned for the answers to these questions and more. I'll chat with you about how I went about sifting through some of the items. It's a work in progress, so I'm interested in what I come up with too.


  1. another wonderful post, Mon. you are pushing all my buttons! and i love it:)

    and is it possible we were separated at birth?

  2. you know what I'm going to say now? You also described me in the top few paras, except for moon in Sagg, but ascendant sagg so... : )
    It is a profound interest in many things isn't it? I try to remember this, because it is so often misunderstood. Wanting to know and explore and feel what it all feels like. To be in the skin of something - a life, an idea, an experience, knowledge.

    Anyway. I really like the method/process by which you've refined your list. Sometimes it can be an orderly, pragmatic approach that can produce such elegant results. And it is an elegant, graceful list. I do realise that describing it that way sounds a bit odd, but it really appeals to me that way. Your choices reflect a calm and a centredness that can be so hard to get at when you have loads of ideas and impulses clamouring to be heard.

    When you boil it down, or whittle it all down to really soulful choices, sparked by soulful needs - the heart of the matter - maybe that can also be at the core of fulfillment. And focus. So let us know how it goes hey? And I'm going to try this also. Much needed at this point!

  3. So very then, I'm NOT really fickle or, oh, what's the other one I've been called? Flaky? Someone-who-never-finishes-anything?


    How easily I've allowed other people to slap these negative labels on me....

    I much prefer to be Profoundly Interested -- it suits me much better!

    Seriously though, I've often bemoaned the fact that I'm interested in so many different things...thinking that life would be much easier if I was a simpler person with perhaps only one or two interests...

    I've tried those sorts of lists before -- in theory, they're grand and I feel so much calmer and settled after doing them -- but then I usually end up pitching the list in a fit of defiance..:) Perhaps I've refined my decluttering process now though...

    Staying tuned....

  4. This really spoke to me.

    I've been doing a lot of physical decluttering around here, but hadn't even thought of mental decluttering. I'm intrigued. I certainly experience a lot of synergy between the state of my physical enviroment and the state of my mind.

    Lots of food for thought.

  5. Mon, you have created a very interesting process, and I think I should try it. You know that my head has been cluttered with a thousand things at once, and my office has followed suit. I keep wanting to take the Interior Design books out to the storage barn, in which I have book shelves, so that I can access my books that don't fit in the house. But they are still here, especially the kitchen design books. The cookbooks are like an appendage to me. Then there are the art books, the craft books, and on and on. That overfill of book shelves in this tiny house is a reflection of what is happening in my head. I am attached to these things and do not have the physical energy to work with them all! I must make choices and unclutter both my living space and my thinking space. I won't even attempt to approach the status of the storage barn yet! I miss my big house with room for all my "security blankets." I don't know how to "unlove" my books, even the ones I really don't read any longer. Detachment is a challenge. I've done it multiple times, over the past 8 months, going through my books and selecting those I feel I can part with. But that equals about 200 books, and that hardly scratches the surface. So, the challenge to myself, to declutter my environment and my head, continues. Your experiment is inspiring, Mon. I'll let you know how I do in trying it, myself.

  6. as we get further along in renovating the RV I get more anxious - excited to move into a space, uncluttered space free of loads of "stuff" and nervous to let go of so much of the "stuff" we currently have.

    i know the environment i'm in directly affects my mood and outlook and motivation and feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed. but the work to get to that place is also overwhelming.

    it's an interesting place to be.


  7. I love this, a little like a fluffy wee tree looks up and loves a great oak. I am Profoundly Interested in everything, and I know I'd have a wonderful time writing such a list - but I would never stick to it. Because along with being PI, I'm also undisciplined and lazy. But I did throw out half my books yesterday!! And I almost don't mind.

    I do have to say, your list seemed remarkably peaceful to me. As if through it you were expressing the heart of your need - to be released from the sense of frentic urgency that Profound Interest does create.

  8. I like this process. Fascinating and I could use some mind decluttering too.

    Your peace globe from last year will be featured on Mimi Writes tomorrow morning around 2am EST. Hope to see you on Nov 5th.


  9. So I read this post and sit here "as usual" thinking wow we are sooo very similar...then I read the comments and see that many if not all of your readers feel the same way.
    It is amazing to me that so many women out there are on such similar and yet different journey's.
    It is amazing to me how although we live on different parts of this planet, we come together, heaving a sigh of relief knowing there are others out there too.
    I feel so grateful to be a woman in this time and to have access to these very special ways of communing with women like you.

  10. Well what a great practical way to deal with all the pulls and passions and interests - thanks! And well done for whittling it all down...what a process that must be! I'm sure this process for me is going on through these years but you've given me ideas - the writing it all down instead of the constant ponderings - brain clutterings!
    Getting it out, writing it down, a great way to de-clutter.
    What a fantastic thing for you to do and sooo creative! I love it!

  11. Yay!

    I've thought about this mind decluttering stuff all weekend. Was thinking about blogging about it. Feeling the 100th monkey (myth?) effect right now. Anyway...seems like you might be clearing lots of mental space FOR writing and the things that inspire more writing.

  12. This is excellent, I so need to do this. I feel like I 'prioritize' all the time, but after reading how you went about this I realized that whittling step by step like this, is much wiser. When I 'prioritize' all at once I think it is too top-down, and too many 'shoulds' get in my head...

  13. I'll be so interested if this works for anyone else who feels they need it, or your own modified version, or something cmpletely different!

    I'm feeling a great benefit already and can't wait to share that with you.

  14. It is wonderful to see that there are so many other women out there like me, who fly from interest to interest, sampling all that life has to offer, always seeking out new experiences and processes, and yet refusing to accept the label 'flighty'. I have far too many interests to pursue, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed with despair in having only one lifetime to learn how to do various things. For example, I really wish I knew how to knit and crochet, and I want to improve my sewing skills, but I am confident that I am the best darn cook in my circle of family and friends. I tend to forget the talents I have and the interests I am already pursuing, when I get caught up in my interest in the other opportunities to explore. I think that I will try to adapt your decluttering process for myself, and soon, because my holiday to-do list is growing exponentially.

  15. This IS interesting. I'm such a seeker, too. I want to know so much, experience things, learn to do new things. I made a huge list once. I'd have to live past a hundred if I wanted to do them all. But I have so many things floating in my head that I really DO want to do that I'm not yet doing, so I am taking steps here and there to actually attempt the new things. So a little reverse of what you did. Still I DO need to do some decluttering if I am to make space for new activities. I've been in the mood lately to declutter my home, perhaps to help me create some mental space as well.

  16. Yes, lots of great food for my thoughts... I have had this post as unmarked in my reader for a while now, hoping to come back to it. Now I'm printing it out to ponder through my day tomorrow.



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