You don’t really put past victories behind you; they become part of your foundation, a resilient cushion that gives you the security to reach toward whatever comes next. I’ve spoken of my time in these beloved hills as a victory lap, celebrating the big stuff like escaping urban/suburban life, releasing so much of the protective wall that kept me whole during those precarious years. and finding my ‘voice’ as a weaver.
Today, as I enter a new decade, my thoughts are drawn to the question, “What’s next?”
The first thing that comes to mind is that I’m not done casting away stones. There is so much stuff in my life that was once a symbol of the very real things that I can see and touch, every day.
At Yule, I will burn the pine cones that I used to keep on my desk as an antidote to the very artificial nature of the urban Yule. Now, when I go for a walk down the road at home, there’s a tree that drops its cones on the edge of the road. Before the snow falls, I’ll collect some cones in the gathering basket that I wove, and will savor their freshness, redolent with pitch.
Replacing symbol with reality is a major change in viewpoint and direction. Reality is direct, physical, and visceral. Symbol is a construct, a facade that requires effort of the mind to maintain the deeper meaning. Symbol turns us inward and disconnects us. Reality faces outward and simply is.
Thus, I am able to weave cloth that is just cloth, telling a straightforward story. I don’t have to make a statement or defend the validity of what I do. I simply weave cloth.
Ten years ago, since I am thinking in decades today, I was still healing from the terror of 9/11, juggling career and care-giving as my mother’s health was in decline, and feeling my authentic self threatened on all sides. It took two hurricanes to awaken me and shake me from a numb and mediocre existence into a life that has victories, victory laps, joy, and so much that is real. Isn’t it time my things reflected my reality?
It’s time to open the dresser drawers and tumble out all the clothes that I do not wear. Time to reach into the closets and grab the clothing by the armloads. Do I need 26 pairs of black shoes (perhaps an exaggeration)? Can I find something nicer than tatty old tee shirts for summer sleepwear? I deserve better.
I have been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. The title is a bit heavy and serious for a book that focuses on using the ability of something to “spark joy” as the main criteria for what we keep or discard.
I am embracing the joy of the present moment, and a joyous person cannot be encumbered by too much tired old stuff. Moving house twice in succession didn’t lighten the burden as much as I expected. I was too focused on getting from point A to point B to point B-and-a half. I had no time to prepare what I needed at my destination. Now that I’m here, I think I know.
Now that I’ve shared these thoughts with you, I think I have completed the first step in Kondo’ book, which is knowing why I want to simplify my possessions. And I am giddy with anticipation.