Clearing the Mental Clutter
I tend toward chaos. Without constant attention and diligence, I'm just a messy person. I enjoy well-organized spaces, as long as they feel lived-in. But left unchecked, I create clutter: magazines, newspapers, mail, print-outs, dirty dishes, laundry -- they all pile up so easily.
And that's just the external mess. The internal disorder is so much worse. My mind backlogs with half-formed ideas, I start to forget things, and frustration sets in. As an editor for my clients, I'm extremely detail-oriented, even nitpicky. I can take a muddled manuscript and infuse it with the rosy glow of clarity. But when my mental clutter overflows, it's my own writing that suffers. I may have loads to say, but I struggle to get it out in an orderly -- and interesting -- manner.
One of the ways I combat the messy mind syndrome is by cleaning. My physical environment deeply affects my mood and mindset. So I try to clear my head by clearing a room. Today I spent hours digging out from the embarrassing mess that filled my office. I feel a bit more focused, but I'm still all over the map.
Part of the problem is that I haven't written my morning pages for about a week. Every day when I get up, I try to write three pages in a journal. The writing doesn't have to be good or coherent or interesting. It's a place to let out the chatter. Sometimes I write three pages of boring stream-of-consciousness chatter. And sometimes I hit upon something significant, or even have a small epiphany. The practice of the morning pages is part of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. And the more I write them, the more clearheaded I am.
Right now, I have so much I want to share with you. Thoughts on community (online and off), my time in Chicago, and what exactly the "real world" is. Please bear with me as I sort through the chaff.
And tell me, what do you do to clear out your mental clutter?