Friday, February 8, 2008

Clutter Astrology Part 3, The Mutible signs

Mutable Mode

People with a concentration of their planets in Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces are Mutable clutter types. This is my dominant mode so I know it well. Pisces, my sun sign, is actually the sign of clutter. Mutable folks neither initiate nor resist, they adapt. Too many books? Build or buy another book shelf. Too much paper? Make another pile; get another file box or file cabinet. My basement is a canyon of those marvelous plastic bins stacked 4 or more high. Adding 3 or 4 of these bins a year enables me to get my bedroom closet door shut in almost every season without letting go of any of my favorite clothes. When my Pisces hubby and I run out of room for the extra file cabinets and book shelves, we can always store a few things in someone else’s basement or garage. Our poor Gemini friend David has my entire Virtual Feng Shui show from 1998 in his basement. Mutable people probably accumulate the most clutter, and accumulated it the fastest. The reason for this is what I call the "tomorrow is another day" syndrome. Mutable types are infinitely distractible and can be drawn off task 100 times a day. When you add this factor to the typical mutable person having multiple projects going at once you get clutter squared.

Just tonight I was looking for some pretty red paper I bought one (or was it two?) years ago intending to make Valentines. I never do get around to Christmas cards so Valentines seem like a nice alternative. THIS year I actually managed to save only the addresses from the holiday cards I received rather than the entire bundle of cards until next July, or next New Years when I pitch them in despair for having missed all opportunity to reciporocate. Once I got my over-stuffed drawers opened this evening, I found all kinds of stuff, including mismatched envelopes, left over bits from lots of stationary sets and 28 cent stamps but no red paper. Sigh. If the cards don't go out tomorrow, they won't arrive until after the heart holiday. Welcome to my mutible world but watch your step!

Clutter Astrology Part 2, The Fixed signs

Fixed Mode

The fixed folks have their energy concentrated in the signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. These people are the sustainers. Their energy goes to preservation, enduring and even resisting. Likewise, Fixed clutter is composed of salvage. A good example is my Aquarius friend Barb. Barb is devoted to the value of the past and so old things take on sometimes surprising value. She has a full set of that ghastly green milk glass tableware. She says her grandmother had these dishes. I believe this stuff was given out for free at gas stations in the 40’s and it was the economic conditions of the time, not the charm that motivated our grandmothers to collect it in the first place. Her sentimentality hinders her ability to shed extra stuff even though she persists and does accomplish the occasional purge. Unfortunately, she often regrets turning some odd thing loose even when she does accomplish it. When I called her at Christmas to see how my cats were doing, she had completely forgotten she was supposed to feed them for me because she was obsessing over a set of mini cookie cutters she had donated to the school rummage sale. I have heard, at least 15 times since Christmas, about these lost and irreplaceable cookie cutters. There have been other such regrets from surrendered items, including a paper Halloween ornament that has been gone 15 years now. Each time she experiences one of these second thoughts, she becomes more reluctant to part with her stuff. She has been paying rent for storage for many years because she lives in a 1500 sq ft house and as you may guess, she has no plans to move.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Taking on clutter as a psycho-spiritual malady

I started the new year with my usual good intentions to get my clutter cleaned up. I even joined the Flylady mailing list. I wonder how many other people made this gesture of resolution. As February dawns I can say that I have read all or most of my baby step emails. One time I even got up from my computer and folded two baskets of laundry but other than this, I haven’t been motivated beyond nodding in agreement with her wise suggestions.

I did a key word search on clutter and came up with an average of 1431 searches a day. I am pretty sure there are at least 1341 books, e-books and blogs on the topic. And, there are 5 TV shows on organizing and clutter relief. That’s 25 hours of TV a week! No wonder we can’t get our junk under control!

Seriously, if it was as simple as four containers followed by a massive garage sale, would we need all these gurus and books? What is all the desperation about? From my conversations with friends and family it seems clear that clutter is a psycho spiritual malady. Not only are our reasons for staying in our messes deeply personal, they are also quite varied. I did some thinking about this focusing through my astrologer lens. Here is my rough, breakdown of the Mode motivation for hanging on. In the interest of brevity I will start with one and add the next two in later posts.

Cardinal Mode

Cardinal people have lots of their chart energy in the signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, the Cardinal signs. Cardinal energy is best known for its initiating quality. Cardinal is big on starts, beginnings, debuts, launches. The New Year in our calendar falls during the Sun roving through Capricorn. Just think about the New Years tradition of making resolutions. It feels really good to make these resolutions because we cherish the idea of a fresh start. But these good intentions and fresh goals are notoriously short lived. Cardinal folks live in this New Years Day mentality all year long. I suspect their clutter is largely composed of great projects that got replaced by new great projects before they were completed. The Cardinal clutter is stuff like the seldom used treadmill the size of a Volkswagen parked in the dining room, the 15 files of worthwhile but incomplete projects they volunteered to take on for their PTO, Rotary Club, Family Genealogy, Library committee and Boy Scout troop. There will be half a dozen excellent non fiction books sitting about unshelved each with a bookmark somewhere in the first 5 chapters. The book topics will be timely and compelling or historic and edifying. Cardinal folks take on the big, noble stuff but the follow through is not so good, therefore the home or office of the Cardinal person accumulates all things begun but not yet completed.

The psychospiritual drama of the Cardinal person is a hero's quest. Not a single thing they have collected or taken on can be backed out of or tossed away without guilt and the shame of a failed mission. This results in an environment with the kind of clutter that drains energy away daily through a million guilty straws of sucking commitments. To let go of the stuff is to let go integrity. Ouch!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Exiting Chaos with Grace and Style

The first time I ever heard the term "Blog"was a couple of years ago at my nephew's wedding . A family friend was bragging about her impossibly hip art school daughter who was "Blogging".

"She's WHAT"? Say I. picturing something related to wooden shoes and maybe peanut butter or marshmallow cream.

"You know, she has an on line diary where she writes about her life and posts it on the Web" replies proud mama.

Having gone to art school myself, I blush and stutter at the mere thought of posting my intimate recitation of those times on the web.

Today the web is lousy with blogs and blog sites and bloggers. I tried to use two or three sites before I came back to this one, which I learned how to use at an Artist's retreat last spring from another young and impossibly hip Pittsburgh artist. It took a while, but I have become aware of the possibilities of blogging.

Don't worry. I don't remember my art school days well enough to recount them and my life today is way too dull to keep a diary under my bed about, much less publish on the freaking Internet. But, I do have some ideas to share on several things that drive a lot of folks crazy on a regular basis; Clutter, Christmas and Credit Cards.

In my crone years, I have become a fan of something I think of as collective wisdom. At one time I truly believed I could read all the books (and blogs) attend every seminar and eventually I could figure it all out by myself. Life hasn't validated this belief. Experts and my enviable library haven't offered me as much in years as brunch with Jojou or a phone chat with Barb when I am deeply engaged in examining my dilemmas. Books and seminar speakers don't offer compassionate, reflective, and personal support borne out of shared experience of both me and my/our life issues. So, I am widening my circle tonight. Welcome to my blog.