Tuesday, February 12, 2013


My wife claims that I’m a pack rat and I have to agree with her.  There are things I have trouble parting with.  My record collection from middle and high school.  My teddy bear collection (Yeah, I know  . . . I know).  My antique iron collection. 

My oldest daughter is in college, but I have her red and white striped jumper she wore as a baby in a dresser drawer in the spare bedroom.  My wife and I called it her “Russian Sailor Suit”.  I just can’t give it away or throw it out.  My youngest daughter had her Polly Pockets collection and the various houses and buildings that went with them.  Every Saturday after breakfast for the longest time, Hannah and Emily would disappear into Emily’s bedroom and play for hours.  We would hear them talking in various voices, laughing and giggling, and Kim and I would laugh along with them without their knowledge.  I think Kim and I enjoyed it as much as they did.  When Emily decided she wanted to give them away, a piece of my heart went with them. 

I could go on and on.  There is the yearly tug and tussle with my wife who likes to throw out, clean out and make room.  But there are some things that are just too painful for me to get rid of or give away.  At some point, I’ll reluctantly give in and give away, perhaps throw away.  That’s the reality of it.  I might not like it, but I know there is only so much space and honestly, I’m the type of guy who can find meaning and purpose in just about anything, so . . .

I think there is such a thing as emotional clutter. 

Feelings and thoughts we hoard and hold onto.  Sometimes this clutter gets in the way of the acceptance of others.  Sometimes this clutter gets in the way of growing and the acceptance of ourselves. The old, tried and tested patterns of thought and reaction prevents us from giving others a chance, an opportunity to change- at least in our own eyes.  Sometimes the way we think of ourselves is in itself a handicap preventing us from growing, preventing us from changing. 

Each day we have the opportunity to change.  Therefore, why would we continue to think and do in the same pattern that we’ve always thought and acted, especially if those thoughts and behaviors are destructive to us?  Why would we continue to think and do in the same pattern that we’ve always thought and acted if these thoughts and behaviors are somehow stilting us from growing? If I act and think now as I did as a twenty-something, I’m denying the opportunity for me to grow, to change, to become.    

Masahide, a 17th century Japanese poet and samurai once said, "Barn's burnt down - now I can see the moon."

Perhaps it’s time to burn a barn or two.  We might not like it.  It might cause some pain.  But in the end, we will see a bit clearer.  That way, we’re a bit freer.  That way, we can move on, grow.  And, get rid of a bit of clutter, emotional or otherwise.  That might make us, and others, happier in the long run.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!


  1. Your post made me smile. When we moved 2,000 from western Mass. to northern New Mexico, we only took what we loved or had to have, and preferably both. I think we only gave a few things away I wish I still had but they went to good homes. Now emotional clutter ....

    1. It's funny, because as I wrote this, I knew we still had boxes that we had packed, taped and marked still in the basement that we hauled from California, to Wisconsin and now to Virginia. I fully expect that some of those boxes might be mysteriously missing in the near future. And, emotional clutter, that is worthy of a completely different blog. Thanks for commenting, Joan. Appreciate it.


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe