This week in SoulSpace group we’ve been focused on releasing. I’ve been tackling this in hour increments and I’ve managed a lot of drawers and cabinets and some cursory closet go-overs. But the main area of focus for me is the seemingly ENDLESS papers. I’ve been a purging maniac and it feels great, but there’s still lots to do and I have that annoying understanding that this isn’t a fix-it-once problem for me. I have to remember paper control is a maintenance kind of job, and I have to figure better systems.
On the minus side, things always seem hugely more messy and unsettled before things get better, and alas I’m in that unpleasant stage right now. On the plus side figuring out new systems always requires a look at the current systems, and in doing so I’ve been looking at my journal storage and how I might want to tweak it. And as I’m moving things around, I stumbled upon a couple of fabulous and forgotten gems – one of them filled with random inspirations. It was like seeing an x-ray of my brain – exploding with color and oddities and strange little enthusiasms. I find it hilarious that I can find myself so delighted by things I’d forgotten. And it makes me smile even more knowing that I’ve conjured up a little magic here – which is exactly what I’m calling forth this year with my guiding word.
Tucked in the re-discovered journal was an envelope. It took me a minute to recognize what it was, but it came to me. Every year I tape in a large envelope in the back of my new We’Moon datebook and as little snippets of things, found ephemera or fabulous words come to me I stick them in the envelope. At some point these things find a more suitable spot, but apparently that year I just kept them in that envelope and when it came time to retire the datebook, I simply removed the filled envelope and stuck it in the journal.
What an interesting peek into that year. Some of it came rushing back to me, like the sweet prayer blessing I recited to a beloved cat when she was dying. Actually there were a number of little prayers tucked into that envelope – it was a year of navigating a lot of losses and I seemed to be drawn to some less than uplifting prose such as “unforgiving scowls she gave through terrifying, ticking silence” and “an agony past all correction.” But to be sure such gloominess was countered by the strange carrot person I drew with wacky thought bubble conversations; the slip of paper saying “you are a miracle” that a friend used to enclose in every package sent; some musing about clouds; and a little slip of paper documenting the meaning of a piece of art I purchased – a small terra cotta house god from Southwest Cameroon.
All these things were just a few items in an envelope within the bigger context of a journal filled with other things. And it has me thinking about how precious and full my life is, even though I daresay it likely must seem a quite modest life when viewed from the outside. But it feels rich inside. And I see how each of the things I’ve wondered about, each of the things I’ve treasured, each of the places that have rubbed me into a smooth polish have made me who I am. I kind of like knowing that.
And I like my journals where I capture some of my thoughts and enthusiasms and curiosities – letting them be the holders so my brain is freed up to discover other delights. And then years later, or perhaps shorter spans of time marked in days, I can return and smile, reading and remembering, rediscovering and re-delighting. How does it get better than that?
Here’s a peek at one of the several areas I keep my journals. It needs a bit of work for this SoulSpace project but it’s a perfect example of what I love – little containers filled with treasures. We may be doing releasing this week, but no one will ever be able to accuse me of being a minimalist.
What about you? Ever surprised by things you find? Have a journal collection? A crazy treasure collector like me, or a Zen minimalist? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
Hi Deborah, I am not doing the ‘challenge’ of streaming the different areas of our lives and the spaces in which we that living but I did find your post an interesting read. I love your journal nook and am with you on the ‘let’s leave the minimalist stuff to others’. Thank you for sharing.
Glad you stopped by Linda – and heres to filling our lives with treasures!
I love coming across old notes and jottings … they’re like photographs – a memory waiting to jump out and come back to life. Paper is the bane of my life at the minute – where is this paperless system that was supposed to come along 🙂 – like you I’ve been trying to gradually implement new systems … my thing is song sheets and song books and handwritten song sheets – and you can be sure there are at least 3 or 4 of each of them because I’ve forgotten it’s already there and start again weeks or months later … I think a memory reshuffle is what’s needed lol
I love your journal space and thank you for the lovely insights 🙂
Oh I love that connection Fil – old jottings triggering memories like a photograph. And here’s to memory reshuffles – of the best and most helpful kind!
Paper, I think, is also one of the things I accumulate like dust to the ceiling fans. I have a really difficult time parting with papers and it takes me forever to break down and go through them.
I have snippets of poems, words I like, descriptions of sounds and sights on bits of paper all over that I jot down haphazardly when the muse strikes. Partially filled notebooks. I have a notebook and journal fetish and seem to collect them even when I don’t “need” them. LOL!
I love the artwork above your book case and on it! So warm and inviting your area looks!
I’m slowly working on doing a similar purge but right now this week, things are getting in the way – an unexpected change of plans is on the wind right now and I’m not sure if I’m crazy for going down this path or if it is what I’m supposed to be doing. Ugh. We shall soon see!
LOL Tracy – I recognize a powerless-in-the-presence-of-paper kindred when I see one! Hope your evolving plans work out perfectly and bring lots of joy.
Oh how lovely to find those forgotten treasures! I love those little discoveries and the sweet memories they bring to us. Just the other day I ran across this little plaque a friend of mine made for me……many years ago. He was my ‘installer’ for my custom window treatments and he saw it all. The perfectly tidy side of my shop where I met with my customers and the cluttered, chaotic mess I regularly worked in! The plaque read,
“Function in Disaster…..
……Finish in Style”
It is a quote by Stockard Channing. I just love it and all the wonderful memories that it brought back. I’m going to hang that little plaque somewhere near my workspace today……because every time I look at it…..I smile
LOL – what a wonderful plaque and perfectly honest recognition of how we operate in our studios.
Hi, Deborah, I’ve been lurking in the SoulSpace group with intentions of getting started on my own projects. I have an ever-growing collection of notebooks full of morning pages (which I want to burn … maybe in the spring during 2015’s first camping weekend?) and also journals (which for now are tucked into a closet in my studio). I’ll be curious to see where your journals find their home. Thanks for sharing a peek into your process!
Love your idea of campfire burning ceremony Heather – both powerful and fun!
I used to have a large collection of APAs (Amateur Press Association), fan-produced magazines about various subjects. Unfortunately, many were lost to me a couple of years ago due to apartment damage.
I’m sorry to hear that.
Well Deborah, I wish I was a ZEN MINIMALIST…Yikes! While just getting started with the SOULSPACE group, I find it all so overwhelming. But, I have managed to release a grocery bag full of books, and 2 bags of kids clothes to a needy family. I am a collector of books…love the old ones with inscriptions inside, and I love when I find little notes or letters tucked away. Can’t keep them all. My next mission is to tackle the dreaded mud room closet…I have a feeling there are even old fireworks tucked away in there. I love the idea of campfire burning of old journals. Journals are a journey…usually not meant to be read by others…so after a period of quiet reflection and solitude on a shelf, re-read and then set the words free via a campfire ceremony into the atmosphere to be transformed into positive energy, or to be connected to a universal spirit of evolution. Yes, I have done this…it is rejuvenating! Aloha.
Good for you Vicki on the releases! I have to say I think all of us playing in SoulSpace have been overwhelmed, but tiny steps start adding up pretty quickly. Wishing you ease in tackling that closet. Next on my agenda is one of the catch-all closets as well. I will be so happy when “smart homes” mean self-cleaning closets!
I’m a collector of books as well and my habit is more problematic than I’d like. The other night I had a dream where I was house hunting and found a former library for sale. And I thought, well now that’ll have the right amount of shelves won’t it?! Laughing and sighing at the same time.