“How do you do a dance to make the rain stop?” I ask, not only for myself, but thinking of friends in AR, TX, and MO who are literally underwater right now. Leigh said, “Do it backwards.” Immediately I had a thought about the un-rain dance as it applies to “un-stuffing.” Leigh kept talking, driving home a point which began as a joke, while I was already writing about the un-rain dance in my head.
She said, “Don’t laugh, but I was making one of my elderberry-honey health remedies for our friends the other day. You know, as a cold preventative. I was stirring that beautiful dark purple potion clockwise, with intention, with some protective thoughts, hoping that would help. It was pretty hypnotic, really. Well, I’d heard in biodynamics that one should balance the mixing by stirring herbal mixtures counter-clockwise, as well. So I reversed my spoon and as soon as I did, I felt this kind of energy shift and some unseen potency enter the mix. I know that sounds weird, but I did. This is all a little woo-woo, I know.”
I get it, though. You don’t want to cure the cold once your friend has it (although that’s helpful in some cases), which would be stirring the elderberry clockwise. You want to prevent the cold from ever catching hold so you move the spoon counter clockwise. In my creative and somewhat strange universe, it makes perfect sense. It’s like dancing backwards to stop the rain, doing the un-rain dance, which I think we might all try in an attempt to save several states, even countries. I’m starting to wonder if the rainbow might have been a promise God made a bit hastily.
Doing the un-rain dance paralleled my need for doing the un-stuffing dance. I mean, I got all this stuff living my life forward, so surely I could un-stuff it by simply looking at all of it, remembering how I came by it, and letting it go. The actual process of un-stuffing could even help with writing my memoir as pictures and keepsakes stirred memories from my past. Counter-clockwise. Deconstructing life in order to understand, then open up to new possibilities.
I have never liked the word “decluttering,” if it actually is a word. To me, it’s a cluttery word and implies you’ve messed your nest with all this stuff that had no meaning but were mere acquisitions bought for no good reason. People with kids know what I mean. I’m not talking your TV horders here. Leigh’s friend Cheri echoed a belief I have when she discovered that her young son’s closet, which she had cleaned a few months earlier, was once again packed with toys, books, games. New stuff. She moaned, “I swear, this stuff breeds.”
I spent a large portion of my life acquiring this stuff, and it all had meaning for me at one time. But the importance of things changes with the years–the energy shifts in other words–and a new empowering needs to occur. I can recapture the meaning this stuff once held for me by writing it if I want, and then dance it backwards out of my life again, leaving all that empty space for new ideas and creativity to fill. Some of this stuff I can even pay forward to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or the Habitat Store. Some will need to be burned or trashed. I know it sounds scary but it actually feels pretty good. I love to burn old papers, even journals in which I mostly bitched and moaned about life. Good riddance! Fire is cleansing!
In 2016, “I will do one thing today_____,” will always, first and foremost, be working on my memoir. But a close second will be my un-stuffing dance. You have to un-stuff the turkey in order to slice it and consume the stuffing, right? In order for it to be useful, our lives occasionally need de-constructing. Ask any lit major. This is how it breaks down. This is how we make sense of it all. Get rid of what is extraneous and see what is left. What is significant, what truly has meaning for you, will be the stripped down remains. This applies to how we spend our time as well as the stuff we have accumulated that stands in the way of the space we long to create.
So, even if I can spend four hours doing my one thing, the memoir, I still have a lot of hours left in a day (especially a winter’s day, should it arrive) to do my un-stuff dance. Even if I only do 30 minutes or an hour a day, space will begin to open up and I will breathe easier, move more freely. Interestingly, rainy days are actually perfect for both my number one (writing) and number two (un-stuffing) priorities! Lucky for me!
“I can recapture the meaning this stuff once held for me by writing it if I want, and then dance it backwards out of my life again, leaving all that empty space for new ideas and creativity to fill.”