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.



Feeling Good and Being

So- just to give you the picture of my normal morning. I usually wake up-around 5:30-6:00 a.m.  Go downstairs, with my dog.  I turn on the Cappucino machine to let it warm up while taking out my super hero of a dog to do his business.  I then come back in, feed him and make my cappucino.  When the weather is too cold, I go back up to my bed.  But, when it’s warm as it is now, I go outside and sit on my balcony.  I turn on Pandora radio to a station I’ve created with a lot of Deva Premel, Snatam Kaur, Krishna Das, etc. -all mantras.   I write in my journal, I look out over the beautiful canyon that we live on and just ease into my day.  I’ve done this for “donkeys years”.  I love that term!  My SO’s father used to say that and it always cracked me up. Definitely a British thing.

So this morning, I wake up and I feel really good. I’ve been walking, working out a lot and I just felt good this morning.  When I took my Wiener Dog out, the pretty much still full moon was high and shining bright with tons of stars.  Really beautiful.  Got my coffee and went outside. Started writing in my journal when the thought crossed my mind, “Now this is when I would drink.  I’m feeling SO good right now, I would give this as a reason to celebrate.”  I had my normal Pandora station on, but then as I saw the sun rising, I decided that I wanted to hear a proper mantra, chanted in the right way. There is one that I love, the Gayatri Mantra. It’s a mantra to the Divine Mother and it’s a great one to chant as the sun is coming up.  Actually, I chant it all day long, sometimes even in my sleep-but that’s another post.  So, I have a Gayatri Mantra bookmarked on my iPad.  But then, I decided that I wanted to hear one by someone else.  Well, at that time, it wouldn’t load. I kept trying over and over and over. Then I decided, “f****it!” I’m going back to Pandora. Couldn’t get that to load. Now I will admit that several times I had the thought, “maybe I’m not supposed to be listening to anything but nature and chanting it myself.” As the day breaks, I can hear Owls calling to one another, birds waking up, cicada.. it’s really beautiful.  But today?  Hell no! I was going to get that f*ing music to play.  Well, no I wasn’t.  I usually take about 45 minutes to an hour to write and drink my coffee and then, I get on with the day. So by this time, I was done with my coffee.  I hadn’t written anything in my journal except how aggravated and pissed off I was.  And I totally disconnected from the beautiful full moon and the sunrise. I also disconnected from myself and how good I was feeling.

So, back to the part earlier this morning when I was feeling so good and I realized that feeling good-in the past- was a trigger for drinking.  One of my triggers. Okay, everything was a trigger, but I’m talking about this particular one.  Anyway, while I would think that I would be celebrating my feeling good by drinking, in fact the alcohol not only physiologically brought me down, psychologically it would bring me down. “Don’t you feel too good!”  And so this morning, instead of just being with feeling so good and celebrating it, I let myself get totally OCD about downloading the music, focusing on my non performing iPad and Pandora Radio and I missed out.  I distanced myself from myself.  From life.  I didn’t listen to that voice that kept whispering to me that maybe I was just supposed “to Be.”

And so it goes….

I did go on a 6.5 mile walk and chanted my Mantra for a large part of it and am now feeling grounded and balanced.

A word about Mantras.  If you’re not familiar with them, they can be a great tool for becoming grounded.  When chanted properly, the syllables of a Mantra can help align your chakras and send healing energy throughout your being.  Tina Turner started chanting Mantras when she was being abused by Ike and then during the difficult time she had after she left him.  I first really got into them years ago when I was going through my divorce from my first husband. I went to pick up some Chinese food at a place that I went to often. When I told the owner that I was going through a divorce she gave me a tape of Chinese Monks chanting. I played that tape over and over and over.  I would be so stressed at the end of the day, I would put that tape on and get in a hot bath for an hour.  24 years later, I still have that tape.  Although now, I am more connected with Hindu Mantras.  But I will never forget the woman that gave me that tape.  It was a huge part of me getting through a very difficult time.