Clean Slate.Clean Space


I needed to clean the studio and set it up for the next Burning Woman workshop -- this weekend -- and since I have a record 9 participants this time I wanted to maximize the visual and actual space. How restful it is to take away a few layers of clutter, archeology in reverse, with the sediments gradually becoming more sparse, more bony, more available.

 Did the same in the living room. Although we are committed to keeping some degree of simplicity in our living spaces -- after a former life in what often seemed like a 35-year collection of all-too-precious clutter, we moved here, a bigger house after all, with less to fill it. But it is amazing to see what sneaks in: little glass turtles, an embroidered hankie too pretty to put away We imbue all kinds of meaning to objects; there's bound to be ancient history to this. Surely some prehistoric cave woman looked at the corner and said, " I think I need a few more old bones over there. Just in case. After all, if we get hungry, even a bone will look pretty damn good."

I am the kind of person who needs constant checks on my compulsive desire to keep stuff. After all every old dress could be part of a quilt; every piece of junk mail might be the right piece for a collage; every strange box could be just what the next workshop calls for. What helps? Coming to terms with a belief in abundance. That  is: what is needed will turn up when it's needed. That space for what's needed is the space that there is. That there might never be a big enough set of shelves, bin of drawers, stack of boxes, so I better make peace with the ones I have. Am I perfect at this attitude? No way. But I have found that these nearly-every-month events keep me on the straight and narrow.

If I want to make a living doing what I love, I gotta have room to fit the people into the space as well. So what I do is keep the flow going. I try to furnish as many materials as I can for the workshops I teach, believing this keeps me in the exchange of energy. When I let stuff go, I tend to find that when it's time, the stuff appears -- someone has a fire sale of dye or paint (as happened this week -- I bought at least $500 of materials for less than half that, enough for all my dye needs for ages); someone gives me something -- like the Bernina that Donna essentially gifted me for the cost of its recent tune-up; like the wood scraps my neighbor has waiting.

This sense of abundance has been nurtured by a wonderful book The Soul of Money, by philanthropist Lynn Twist. Here's her website and some info from her letter on the site's intro page:

quote3.gifIn a world where huge proportions of financial resources are moving toward consumption, destruction, depletion, and violence, the Soul of Money Institute's mission is to inspire, educate and empower people to realign the acquisition and allocation of their financial resources with their most deeply held values -- to move from an economy based on fear, consumption, and scarcity, to an economy of love, sustainability, and generosity.

As the national debt of the United States grows and citizens experience greater financial challenges, there is a clear need for more and more people to invest in socially responsible businesses and critical social issues, and to find ways of using money in service of their highest commitments and the common good.

We invite you to be one of these people. We encourage you to take a deep look at how money influences your life, and to shift your use of money away from fear and greed to begin using it as a conduit for commitment, heart, and the affirmation of life. Through reallocating the use of your financial resources, you can connect with the taproot of your own prosperity.

The Soul of Money is a wise and inspiring exploration of the connection between money and leading a fulfilling life.

"This compelling and fundamentally liberating book shows us that examining our attitudes toward money-- how we earn it, spend it, invest it, and give it away--can offer surprising insight into our lives, our values and the essence of prosperity. Through moving stories and practical principles, Lynne demonstrates how we can replace feelings of scarcity and guilt with experiences of sufficiency and freedom. Lynne shares from her own life and work, a journey illuminated by remarkable encounters with the richest and poorest people on earth, from the famous (Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama) to the anonymous but unforgettable heroes of everyday life." (from the website -- and I agree!)

 The Soul of Money