Last weekend, while my husband and I were taking a walk in our neighborhood, we saw an elderly woman up ahead who seemed to be staggering from side to side. As we got closer, we noticed that she wasn’t staggering at all! She was taking tiny steps to collect every leaf, stick or pinecone on the sidewalk and then she would kick it into the road. I didn’t give it much thought until this morning, when I was driving to a meeting and I saw her again. There she was, on the same sidewalk, doing the same thing—clearing the space.
Okay, so maybe she was creating a big mess in the road—I don’t know—but her very Zen-like act of cleaning the sidewalk made me think about clutter, clarity, and perhaps where I should make space in my own life. Whether it’s stuff in our houses or stuff in our minds, big stuff or small stuff, we carry a lot of unnecessary, outdated, useless matter around with us. Old vases, unread books, shameful thoughts, unrealized dreams.
Watching this lady today, I decided I had a choice…I could stumble mindlessly over the sticks in my life and waste my time with perfectionism, judgment and control, or I could make space for joy, authenticity, trust, poetry and “the still small voice that the soul heeds.” I chose the latter, but I realize, it’s not a choice to make once; I have to renew that choice with every breath.