Denes McIntosh: Now is a good time to clear out the clutter
With the escalating socio/political unease in the taking up of sides (as opposed to the more constructive effort of reason and compromise), the continuing struggle for us all to get along seems that much more cluttered now by the increasing adherence to myopic self-delusion.
Consequently it is all the more important that we be able to separate within ourselves what is legitimate pragmatic concern for the direction of our country, and our lives, and what are simply the remnants of our youthful ideals, or the mental/verbal/social regurgitation of deep seated government and media induced ideology.
If truth be known, maybe we don’t really want to get along at all. Perhaps we just prefer to be right. Or maybe its easier for us to align with a side that offers personal validation and separation from those nasties on the other side. If that be the case, some clearing out of one’s personal clutter may very well be in order.
Whatever side of an issue, or socio/political movement, one might find themselves to be on, to hold a truly honest perspective it is imperative to vet within one’s self what is a core belief, and what is a go along to get along default position; a clearing out of the clutter, if you will.
A man I know has recently been working around his property, clearing brush, trimming trees, cutting down the dying, the dead, and the unproductive, and opening space to provide himself with some breathing room and a better view. I have been doing the same since becoming owner and caretaker of some beautiful acreage.
When property is neglected, left unattended, it becomes whatever it will become by virtue of its own untamed nature. However, in order to coexist comfortably with nature, one must be, undoubtedly, amenable to compromise. One must allow for the natural world to exist partially on its own terms, but require it to exist partially on the terms that he decides on for himself. To allow the full force of nature would prove to be overwhelming, and eventually threatening to the sensibility and wellbeing of any individual.
To succumb to the will of nature would not, could not, ever turn out for the better. But, conversely, to subjugate nature entirely to one’s own will would, ultimately, reduce a persons life to confinement in an over-controlled, finely manicured natural prison of one’s own making. A gated community, if you will. A place where you pay other people to control the wild around you, to protect you from the natural world.
And so it is within us. It is important for us as individuals to clear the clutter, to establish open space on the inside, within our mind, within our soul, and yes, within our hearts, to eliminate the dead, the dying, and the unproductive, to provide some breathing room, to allow ourselves an unfettered and fresh perspective, to create for ourselves, as it were, a better view.
Clearing the clutter can mean moving away from addictions that cloud reason and perspective, from self-destructive behaviors, from stubborn points of view, political conditioning, from family drama, religious dogma, social conformity, intellectual bigotry, or ‘spiritual’ or political righteousness. It can mean letting go of baggage that weds one to inherent self-defeat. It can mean the severing of a lifestyle, or relationship.
It is when we hang on to all the things, perspectives, and people we’ve ever known, and all the habits and concerns that we have collected over the years, that our lives, and relationships, become like that of the hoarder who ends up buried alive in the accumulation of his own unremarkable junk.
We must find compromise with one another, and with our own nature. We must channel its raw energy into productive forms of expression, rather than enabling it to have its way within us, growing exponentially unencumbered like bacteria in need of antibiotics. We must disallow the brush and weeds from gaining control in, and of, our lives. Only then will we be able to co-exist harmoniously with ourselves and others.
There is freedom in clearing out of the clutter, politically or otherwise. And a clearer perspective would most naturally tend to follow. We can do better than we have, no matter what side of an issue we may currently be on.
It will just take some honest self-reflection and a willingness to put ourselves for a moment in the shoes of someone on the other side of our own position.
Denes McIntosh lives in Grass Valley.
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