I’ve been much better able to slow down over the last three days. Christina’s point about Deliberate Intention, or Formal Focus, or Avowed Devotion, or whatever one wishes to call it, has certainly helped. Each movement has been a little more deliberate; I’ve waited much more carefully for the signal from my body that it’s time to move; and there’s been a much more studied elegance to each movement. Even the middle sections, which it’s so hard to slow down for, have been much smoother.
I attribute it in part to the tidying up. Marie Kondo, for all her faults, has given me something serious to think about; and has provided some guidance along the way. Yesterday, I went through all the drawers in my office. In total, that was about fifteen little drawers and cabinets. There was a lot of junk in there. I threw away things I didn’t know I had, things I had needed at one point but were genuinely getting in my way. There are still, alas, six boxes of books (and maybe there’s a seventh or eighth still lurking on the bookshelves? I have to do a more serious sort this summer, I think) which are sitting in the back hall, waiting to go to the “book sale” rack at our local library. And there are still stacks of papers piled high in places, as I simultaneously pull together tax information and shred outdated paperwork. May those two piles never meet!
All the same, there’s an underlying order and neatness that’s emerging from my house as a result of the clean-up. Knowing that six boxes of books are ready to leave the house is a huge relief already, even if the books haven’t left yet. My art table is clear. The wood-working table is clear. The desk… isn’t clear yet, but getting there. Projects are slowly getting finished and put away. It’s nice.
It’s more than nice. It’s created a powerful open space in which my world is at order. And to have that kind of order, that sense of “each thing in its place”, means that it’s been very easy to step into the room for morning tai chi. I come in, I begin, and I move. I don’t have to worry about putting away a book or two, or clearing the floor. It’s ready to begin. Cooks call this mise en place, or “mess in place”, and I’ve written about it before in other contexts. But applying it to my own house is proving quite delightful, and overall quite a positive experience. I’m looking forward to the other insights it will bring forth in due time.