Learning myself bigger

I am bigger than this. And may I be helped to grow to my full size.*
(M. C. Richards)

Each year, Rohit Bhargava compiles a list of non-obvious trends.

For 2019 he includes what he carefully describes as the trend of extreme uncluttering.

This not only includes possessions, but also venues and experiences, digital distractions and brands.

On the one hand, he encourages me to tidy up the bedroom cum study I use for working in and I will engage in some uncluttering today.

Before I get to the other hand, I was also reading M. C. Richards remark with which we begin, this emerging from a conversation she has with a four year old. She continues:

a good teacher is taught by his students. For he is not to teach them merely what he knows but to help to bring to maturity what is already in them. It takes, of course a very good ear, to hear what is present in a child, or an adult.*

So, on the other hand, the question presented itself, while I could do with clearing out things that fill my study, would I clear out any of the things I have learnt over all the years?

I don’t think so, for one way or another they are the very things that have grown me bigger, and I don’t know how big I can grow.

The same is true for you.

Richards names some critical superpowers we are all capable of developing and possessing:

I am not concerned with what we like. I am concerned with our power to grasp, to comprehend, to penetrate, and to embrace.*

I also happened to be reading Maria Popova’s post this morning on Derek Jarman’s retreat from London to a seaside home and garden, a place he came to terms with AIDs, reconnecting with one of the most important urges towards noticing – without which it is difficult to learn:

I have re-discovered my boredom here… where I can fight “what next” with nothing.**

Popova reflects on Jarman’s discovery of boredom:

His boredom, like all of our boredom, becomes a laboratory for presence — a nursery in which to grow the capacity for paying attention, a studio in which to master the vital art of noticing, out of which our contact with beauty and gladness arises — the wellspring of all that makes life livable.^

I feel as if I have come upon some important uncluttering: of busyness and rush, of noise and distraction, of avoidance and denial, of answers and the final word, but not of everything I have learnt.

May you keep learning bigger.

*From M. C. Richards’ Centering;
**Derek Jarman, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Growing Through Grief: Derek Jarman on Gardening as Creative Redemption, Consecration of Time, and Training Ground for Presence;
^From Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Growing Through Grief: Derek Jarman on Gardening as Creative Redemption, Consecration of Time, and Training Ground for Presence.

2 thoughts on “Learning myself bigger

  1. Interesting that Rohit Bhargava noticed “radical decluttering” as a subsurface trend even before the pandemic hit and made it public! Although how many people really “decluttered” during the pandemic, and how many indulged in “lining the nest” as a coping mechanism for the loneliness and stress? Perhaps those who put the pandemic to good use are shared and made visible because so many others of us wish we had done the same…

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