Sunday, May 30, 2010

Clearing Out The Clutter

A man I know has recently been working around his property, clearing brush, trimming trees, cutting down the dying, the dead, and the unproductive, and opening space to provide himself with some breathing room and a better view.

I have been doing the same since becoming owner, and caretaker, of some beautiful acreage in the mountains. When property is neglected, left unattended, it becomes whatever it will become by virtue of its own untamed nature. However, in order to coexist comfortably with nature, one must be, undoubtedly, amenable to compromise. One must allow for the natural world to exist partially on its own terms, but require it to exist partially on the terms that he decides on for himself. To allow the full force of nature would prove to be overwhelming, and eventually threatening, to the sensibility and wellbeing of any individual. To succumb to the will of nature would not, could not, ever turn out for the better. But, conversely, to subjugate nature entirely to one’s own will would, ultimately, reduce a persons life to confinement in an over-controlled, finely manicured ‘natural’ prison of one’s own making. A gated community, if you will. A place where you pay other people to control the wild around you, to protect you from the natural world.

And so it is within us. It is important for us as individuals to clear the clutter, to establish open space on the inside, within our mind, within our soul, and yes, within our hearts, to eliminate the dead, the dying, and the unproductive, to provide some breathing room, to allow ourselves an unfettered and fresh perspective, to create for ourselves, as it were, a better view.
Clearing the clutter can mean moving away from addictions, from self-destructive behaviors, from stubborn points of view, from family drama, religious dogma, social conformity, intellectual bigotry, or ‘spiritual’ or political righteousness. It can mean letting go of baggage that weds you to inherent self-defeat. It can mean the severing of a lifestyle, or relationship. It is when we hang on to all the people we’ve ever known, and all the habits and concerns that we have collected over the years, that our lives, and relationships, become like that of the hoarder who ends up buried alive in the accumulation of his own unremarkable junk.

We must find compromise with our own nature. We must channel its raw energy into productive forms of expression, rather than enabling it to have its way within us, growing unencumbered, exponentially, like bacteria in need of antibiotics. We must draw parameters for growth and then cultivate that which we have allowed to take root. We must disallow the brush and weeds from gaining control of our lives.
Only then will we be able to co-exist with our own nature. Only then will we be free
of those we pay to help control the wild within us, and who we ultimately rely on to protect us from ourselves.

There is freedom in a clear perspective.
And in an organized life.