Keeping Life Light

For years my friends admonished me that I needed to lighten up, master the art of keeping my ‘vibe’ lighter, that I was too serious and heavy about everything. For a long time, I couldn’t even figure out what lightening up meant. Since I have seen that depression and a very serious approach to life are common in all addictions and with clutter, I want to share what I learned about keeping a light attitude and what it means for organizing.

First of all, keeping it light means taking a big picture view of events. Compared to the scope of events in this country, the world, and the cosmos, 99% of the things we get upset about are trivial indeed. Two weeks or two years from now, we won’t remember most of the situations that upset us, so why bother getting upset about them now? In practical terms, this means that little that we value so highly or get worked up about is worth a second of our attention.
Second, keeping a smile on your face really does make the world and life seem and be a whole lot better. It doesn’t matter whether you think you have anything to smile about or not – just smile. It is truly amazing how much difference these actions make on quality of life. Not only will you feel better, everyone around you will too. It’s the best kind of contagion and a real service to others.

Smiling and keeping a light attitude matter for organizing because these activities block out the all-too-common negative emotions and self-talk that destroy effective action and mental clarity. It’s hard to make good decisions if one is depressed or berating oneself, and being organized and managing time are all about making good decisions.

Third, the real quality of life is made up of tiny things that are in our control. Not how much we own, but what we do with what we own, how often we take the time to really appreciate the virtues of the things we live with, and how fortunate we are to have them. Letting ourselves experience the pleasure of ownership of our things when we take care of them, clean them or organize them adds to our appreciation of our things and their role in our lives. At those moments it is most clear to us the value that things have and what they do for us. Objects that we own but do not interact with are mostly ones that have no real meaning, therefore, we are better off without them. Owning too much is detrimental to appreciating the things we use and experiencing the peace of simplicity.

Other tiny things that make an enormous difference in our lives:

All these things contribute a better quality of life which makes us more functional and productive, able to see what needs to be done and to marshal our energy to do it.

Problems cannot be solved by stewing about them, berating oneself, becoming depressed, or getting upset. Large and small, they are solved by staying calm, seeing the next right thing to do, and doing it, whether it is clearing things out, organizing, appreciating what we have, using time better, or something else.

©2011 Gloria Valoris

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