I know, I know. You are seriously wondering what noise has to do with decluttering. Well, to be perfectly honest, I have found it have a lot to do with it.
Have you ever noticed how you work more efficiently with a clean desk? OK – don’t laugh. I know it took me a long time to figure this out, but I did learn my lesson. Well, what about a clean mind. If my head is so full of noise and constant sensory input, I find it very difficult to focus on my priorities.
The first thing I would challenge you to do is to turn off the radio, the I-Pod, the TV – anything that is making noise. Listen to the quiet for a moment. How many people think they will go crazy if they don’t have some sort of noisy input at all times? I did for a long time. How many people are actually comfortable with their own thoughts? I wasn’t. But now I have found that the more I experience quiet, the more I am able to think and get to know myself better, which leads me to crave more quiet time.
I used to crave sound. The TV would come on as soon as we entered the house. In the car, the music was playing constantly. But one day I got busy and forgot to turn it on. Before long I was making a list of things that I wanted to get done. Then I was actually working on that list because I was focused on what I was doing. All that space the noise was taking up in my brain was clear, allowing me to think clearly (No remarks about there being such a small amount of brain that music would fill it up!).
So let’s go back. Turn off all the sound making equipment around you. What do you hear? I like to take a few moments and just close my eyes and breathe (more on that in a later post) and relax. Before long I hear all the house sounds around me (I can find the leaky faucet and put it on my honey-do-list, I know when the temperature is rising outside because of the sounds the house makes), I start to recognize the sounds outside the house (the leaves rustling, the birds singing, which neighbor is coming and going based on the sound of the vehicle). Then I start to turn inward and hear myself – my breathing, my heartbeat, my emotions. That is when I start to be productive. This is when I can calm myself and pray, or fly through that to-do list, or just be.
Now when I pick out music during the day I tend to choose instrumental pieces – music that does not require me to think about it. Music that inspires emotion without forcing it on me with words and booming bass. Music that allows me to interpret it instead of spoon-feeding me. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I crank up the music and sing and dance around the house – and yes the windows and blinds are closed! But I no longer use it to hide from all the other clutter in my life. Ensuring that I get at least a few minutes of quiet time each day allows me to discover more about myself. It helps me get rid of all the clutter in my brain so that I can prioritize and organize and enjoy all the other important things in my life.
So here is my challenge to you – find a few minutes and turn off all the artificial noise around you. Are you comfortable spending quiet time with yourself?