Clutter and Toxicity

verb: Cover or fill (something) with an untidy collection of things
noun: An untidy state

I hate clutter.  I can’t stand a room full of “tchotchkes”.  Piles of papers, months worth of magazines in the corner, dusty shelves because there’s too many things to move to dust properly.  Clothes piled up-a messy desk.  Although I always had a messy desk-and read it’s a sign of a highly productive person.  But that was at work-I hate it at home. Too many appliances on the counter in the kitchen.  Junky drawers.  Closets that want to vomit on you when you open the door.  Don’t get me wrong-I’m guilty of all of it.  I’m in a constant rotation to keep things “tidy”.  In my mind, clutter is a symbol of chaotic energy.  I’m not talking about being obsessed with having to have everything in place all the time.  Not the OCD kind of tidy.  We have a couple of friends that live in a big, old historical house. Every spare inch of countertop, wall space, shelf, dresser is covered with stuff. It drives me crazy.  While it may have some sentimental value, there’s no rhyme or reason as to how it’s displayed.  Just a total jumble.  It’s not a peaceful environement for me.  What’s more, it’s reflective of my friend.  Who has a kind of scattered, chaotic personality. Clutter in her mind as well as her living space.

Yes, there’s the type of clutter you see in Architectural Digest-all very expensive clutter somehow coming together and making for an appealing and sometimes cozy looking environment.  Of course when looking at these photos, we tend to forget that there were God knows how many stylists arranging every little knick knack just right. Staging every angle. I always wonder what the place really looked like a few days before and after the photographers left.  Of course, most of these homes have a staff to keep everything in place.

Too much clutter makes me uncomfortable. It effects my mental state.  And, being uncomfortable in a physical situation can lead to toxicity. Toxic feelings, toxic reactions.  I also see my living space as a very spiritual abode.  To me, dusting is not only getting rid of dust mites, it’s getting rid of old energy.  Everytime I clean my house, I’m conscious that I am conducting a kind of exorcism.  Clean, tightly pulled sheets are important.  I sleep better.  Everytime the trash is emptied it’s kind of a form of letting go of the past-whether it’s the remains of a meal or and empty carton of ice cream or last weeks’ newpapers.

Yes, external clutter can represent a collection of things-mess.

But, what about mental clutter?  There’s a breeding ground for toxicity. All the unnecessary mental bullshit that we/I let roam arouond in my mind.  Fixating, obsessing over so much that I have no control over.  And the craziest things that come out of nowhere-like the Frito Lay song that was in a commercial when I was about 6 years old. Fritos are corn chips-“Munch, Munch Munch a bunch of Frito Corn Chips.” Is it really necessary that I have retained that jingle for something like 50 years??? And that’s just one example!

Now alcohol! Wow! We think that that’s something that will shut down the clutter.  And it does-until it doesn’t.  Of course it also adds to our toxicity, both mentally and physically.  A therapist once told me that the people who were the most controlling outwardly were the most out of control internally.  That certainly seems to be the case with my friend with the house full of tchotchkes.  She is a total control freak.  She tries to anticipate every move and request before it’s even out of a persons’ mouth. When offering to cook dinner for her and her family, she stepped in to give me instructions on how to use the food processor, how to chop garlic, peel a melon….And, I would say that internally, she likes chaos. And, she drinks a lot. Which reinforces my own experience that drinking does not quell inner chaos.

At this time of my life, things are tricky.  I’m not drinking anymore and I’m not working regularly in the extremly stressful catering field.  I wake up calm and write in my journal.  I pray and meditate some upon waking up. I’m able to take long walks to get my endorphins going.  But, because of the political situation here, I find my mind becoming cluttered with a variety of things to be concerned about.  All of it feels very chaotic (of course the head of the “regime” thrives on chaos) and toxic.  Daily, the situation gets more alarming. More toxic. I do what I can to help quell those feelings. I make phone calls to Congressmen.  I write e-mails.  I pray-even for the ones I detest for they need it the most. Sometimes while watching the news or Rachel Maddow, I flash to how I would be if I was still drinking. Let’s just say not a pretty vision-sloppy, indignant, overstating, obsessing, screeching probably.  It’s bad enough without the alcohol. And at least I remember in the morning.

So I suppose the message if there is one, in this post is to try and get rid of the clutter.  Learn to breathe.  Learn some kind of meditation.  Take some time to just “be”.  Have fun.  Laugh.  Enjoy a good meal.  Dust. Take out that pile of old magazines. Be proactive. Don’t drink.

And with that, I’m going to clean out my closet!

With love.



I haven’t posted for awhile.  No particular reason-although we are down to one computer right now which my SO commandeers most of the time.  So I get on it when he’s away…

As I’ve previously written, I have a love-hate relationship with catering.  Which I’ve done forever.  But, I can’t seem to totally break from it.  For one thing the money’s good when I do it-well for the most part.  And, I pretty much just do things for people that I have been doing events for for years.  So there’s a comfort level there.  Well as much as there can be. Anyway, I did a small dinner party for a longtime client the other night.  I really like them and politically, we’re in total agreement-which I can’t say about most of my ultra wealthy clientele.  So as I was getting things in order, the husband came in to get a glass of white wine for a guest.  He pulled out a bottle from the fridge that was about half empty-he poured some, tasted it asked what I thought-Now this was the kind of wine that I used to LOVE! I said I didn’t drink anymore.  His response? “I’m sorry!” Wow! Then a bit later, his wife came in, poured herself a Scotch and told me if I wanted one or a glass of wine, to help myself.  I told her that I didn’t drink anymore (not that I ever drank at an event while working. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a glass of wine with these people).  Anyway, her response was the same as her husband’s!  She said, “I’m sorry!”

That blew me away.  These folks are not alcoholics-well not that I know of.  I’ve seen them a bit buzzed at the end of an evening, but have never had the sense that they knock it back on a nightly basis. But then again, what do I know?  I’m not there every night.  As it was getting closer to the guests being seated for the first course, the husband came in to open the wine and decant it so it could breathe.  As he was pouring it into the carafe, he made a statement that the wine cost almost as much as the food!  Let me tell you, for a small seated dinner, I charge ALOT! Well over $150.00 a person (see why I do it?) That’s just for the food-not the service or gratuity.  So this was for 8 guests. Do the math! And I thought I spent a ton on vino!! Crazy!

Don’t you think it’s strange that their response to my saying I don’t drink anymore is that they’re “sorry”?  Jeez! I have such a nice rhythm to my life now.  Yes, occasionally, I wish I could join in for the wine.  But that passes.  I have never woken up the morning after going out the night before and wished that I had partaken of an alcoholic beverage-Of course it wouldn’t have been just one alcoholic beverage.  It would have been several. Or more.  And, I HAVE woken up many times and wished I hadn’t had any alcohol the night before. Yes, I smelled the $800.00 bottle of wine.  Yes, it smelled good.  Was I tempted?  Not at all. I just got on with what I needed to do.  At the end of the evening, I was tired.  But, I got home in time to watch Saturday Night Live-and see this new “regime” we are under here in the US get skewered once again.  Had a Perrier. In the past, I would have opened a bottle of wine to “unwind”.

I know that I’ve written about the freedom that comes when getting sober.  But, I can’t stress enough how great that freedom is.  Yes, I could lose about 8 pounds.  I should work out more. I should cut back on sugar.  I hate the political situation here and am completely stressed and obsessed by it.  Yes, we have some concerns over the Great British Pound going down because of Brexit.  I have fucked up family members.  But I don’t have the ball and chain around me in the shape of a wine bottle on top of everything else. And that my friends, is blissful!