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Clarity of the Mind

Updated: Feb 1

August is almost over. All of a sudden I am having a sense of urgency that everything is about to start, but I am not quite ready. My mind wants to wander off a bit longer in the spacious relaxed summer mood. And then I noticed that the display of shops is already changed into a fall theme, and the new academic year is about to start with full force. Uh oh, I definitely feel behind.

I used to feel the new beginning of the year in January, but ever since I’ve lived in the U.S. and worked in the academic and art seasonal calendar it feels more like September is the first month of the year. It is funny how the culture changes our perception of time.

In the typical season I would fly out of town at least twice a month. It has gradually increased more over the years. You might think that I am a master of packing by this point. On the contrary! No matter how much I plan and simplify my packing to the most essential items, I am amazed by the fact that I still carry huge suitcases with 'just in case' items that end up not being used. (Thank God that I do not travel with a piano.)

At the same time it is interesting to me that every time I return, any trip away from home, whether for work or leisure, helps me to have a different perspective on my daily life. I ask myself:

"Do I really need this?'

'If I could live out of two suitcases for a month, maybe I don't need these clothes.'

'Maybe I should have more of a staycation in my city, exploring it like a curious tourist'

'Detoxing from the convenience of the modern world was refreshing. I would like to have less time on devices in my days.'

Just like a recent article from New York Times by Melissa Kirsch, 'The Post-Vacation Clarity', she writes,

"I keep thinking about the wise friend who told me that everything you buy makes everything you own less valuable...

This change in perspective, I think, more than even the rest and relaxation, is the most transformative possibility of vacation. You get to shed that life’s worth of accumulated mental freight for a short period, and it feels freeing. You return determined to maintain some of that lightness."

I love the part that you get to maintain some of that 'lightness' of vacation in your life. Everything indeed seems a bit easier and lighter afterwards. It is also interesting for me to experience the transformative view of my day; a step away from home in order to step into a new perspective on life.

Then again, it may not have to be a fancy and exotic vacation for you to have that perspective. A hike in your area or a long walk or a day trip might be just enough. I am constantly searching for balance, clarity, and peace in my life. One moment I seem to have it, another moment I am completely out of balance again. Ah, what a hard life lesson that is to acquire!

Here is three things I've done this week in order to declutter my mind and environment.

  1. Clean the house before I start the day. It can be making the bed, putting things in their places, and having nothing on the kitchen counter. (The latter is always harder than I think.)

  2. Give at least 5 clothes/things that I didn’t use this year to a local donation center. (And constantly hunt for unloved items in my space)

  3. Identify the most difficult task that I have been avoiding, write it on paper, put it on the desk, and decide when I will tackle it. (And do it at the scheduled time.)

As simple as it is, I feel that these things make a difference in my mind. In my experience thinking about something without taking action has been the hardest mental stuckness. Clearing my space has always been a conscious first step into the gray mental fog that I could have been avoiding.

Feeling behind?

Are you procrastinating? Maybe cleaning your room will be a step closer to decluttering your mind.

What are your tools for clarity of the mind? Please share them with me!


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