Mental Clutter

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What happens when long-held ideas about our stuff suddenly meet a challenge not faced before?

This is a crucial question every professional organizer must have in her arsenal. The truth is, there is no single  answer because each client responds differently to challenges.  Some may respond positively: “Gee, I never looked at it that way before!” Others may have a bit more of a struggle: “I know it doesn’t fit, but it was a gift. I can’t get rid of it.”

Change is hard. It’s even harder when we are asked to change something that is dear to us. It might be a gift that we inherited from our parents that might serve someone else better.

Or we might be attached to an idea. Maybe even a very long-held idea. Perhaps even one  shared by many people. Then something happens–an agitator comes along and calls into question what we’ve held most dear.

We can choose how we respond. We can either pause and reflect about our long-held beliefs and thoughts, OR we can build a wall and hunker down in our thinking. The choice is ours. Maintaining our way of thinking without self-examination is obstinacy. Pausing to reflect is discernment. This is the crux of good, orderly direction.

Obstinacy makes us unyielding and rigid. Discernment keeps us fluid and present to  what occupies our mind. When we cling to ideas that no longer work, it becomes mental clutter.  When we are willing throw our thoughts and beliefs under the microscope, truth emerges. We may have to change our mind, or may find out we’d been right all along. It may just be the right thing to hold on to a gift from our mother even though it doesn’t work or fit. Only discernment will tell us the truth.

Recently, the idea of what it means to be patriotic has been under scrutiny. We may have long-held beliefs about patriotism and how best to display it. Like a gift we get from our mother, we can choose to respond in two ways: we can either hunker down and decide to never get rid of it because it is against our beliefs to do so, OR we can pause and consider our options. Perhaps the gift we got can be better used elsewhere.  Maybe it’s best to keep it for ourselves. Sometimes it’s best to express our patriotism by standing up for what we believe in, other times it’s best to kneel. Only a discerning heart can tell.

I’m not sure that I would’ve made the decision to kneel like the NFL players did. I would’ve considered whether or not the message got lost behind the action. I may have taken a different action. But their decision is theirs and I can only assume that it was done with discernment. It is not a wrong action, because it’s never wrong to stand up against injustice. Or kneel.

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