Monday, July 2, 2012

Light a Candle

Cheryl Richardson is one of my inspirations.  This evening, I discovered her channel on YouTube.  Some really great stuff, for sure.  (The link is below - be sure to check it out!)

This particular video caught my attention.  First, by its title: "The Hidden Problem with Clutter."  Those of you who know me, know that it is something I struggle with.  The recent move from Salem to Lynn (which is still in progress, believe it or not) has really emphasized this.  I have a lot of stuff.
 I like to honor people and memories with things.  I pride myself in being frugal and resourceful and end up collecting... things.  I am intrigued by pretty...things.  Notice there's an awful lot of things involved here?

I collect things for crafts.  I collect things for photo shoots.  I collect things that inspire me.  I collect things that are pretty.  I collect things that I think are practical and will potentially make me more organized.  Add those to the things that I keep because someone gave them to me or because they were entwined with a special event or memory and I'm buried.

The most practical advice is to let go of these things.  Give them away.  Throw them away.  Donate them.  Let them go.  But I can't seem to do it.  Some things yes.  I think I may have furnished an apartment or two and clothed a few people with my recent donations.  I've certainly entertained some seniors at the senior center with some craft supplies.  And, yet, I'm still clinging and it's driving me nuts.  I KNOW I'm not the only one who struggles with this.  Cheryl's video is evidence of this.
photograph three candles
In it, she talks about a woman who is struggling with certain boxes of things that are cluttering up her space.  Following Cheryl's unorthodox advice, she lights some candles and sits with the boxes to reflect on what might be causing her to cling so tightly.  Turns out, some of her yet to be fulfilled dreams were tied up in those boxes.  The answer for her wasn't to jettison the boxes (yet) but to start fulfilling the dreams that were there.  As she did, her grip on those things loosened and she was gradually able to let them go.

This week, I'm going to try this experiment myself.  In fact, it may be an experiment I repeat daily for the next week, or two, or three....  I want to sit in my new office/craft room/creative space, light a candle.  I want to think and pray and listen.  What is it that these boxes of things have to tell me?  What path are they calling me to follow?  What unfulfilled dreams are wrapped up in there?

Care to join me?  Watch Cheryl's video.  Light a candle.  I'd love to hear about your experience.  I will get back to you with mine.  I believe it's going to be quite interesting for myself and for you.  And, if we really sit and really listen, I believe we're going to find some answers.  Wish and pray me, and yourself, well.

Click here to view Cheryl's video.


  1. Ah, so much I could say, but you already know my mind. :D
    If you ever need ruthless decluttering, just let me know. My students have been very grateful for the stickies and pens you gave me. They always need school supplies, what with money being short for so many of them...


  2. Which Salem and where is Lynn? This is a great idea and is a gentle way to address the issue rather than with force and judgment.

    1. Galen! A year later and I just now saw this!! My goodness! My only excuse is Lyme Disease - it can really mess with your brain. Anyways, Salem, Massachusetts (yes, the one with the witches!) Lynn is right next door along the coast.

  3. Ah, Carmen, my dear ruthless de-cluttering friend... What would I do without you?? :)

    Galen, that's one of the things that appeals to me so much about Cheryl Richardson - her gentle approach. I was in Salem, MA and now I'm in Lynn, MA - right next door!