I’m off on my travels again soon. The chance to go and stay in an old monastery was too good to miss. I’m looking forward to some time to write. Or reflect. Or both. My life has been so full of change recently. I need my retreat!
I had to find my passport so I could check in online. Ploughing through all of my filing – ok, random piles of paper – I asked myself why I put things in safe places then can’t find them. It seems that particular habit is hard to change. I could find all sorts of paperwork from four years ago but nothing for the last three months. Since I know my postman does call here regularly I can only assume that I’ve found a really safe, not to say really secret, place for my bills. Having eventually found my passport in a bag under a pile of other random stuff I asked myself How to go about changing this habit.
It’s not as if I haven’t had to search for my passport before. On one famous occasion the day before I was due to travel I had a side trip to Liverpool Passport Office to get a new passport. Only to find the old one in a suitcase the next morning. It’s the same with my birth certificate. I know I’ve got it somewhere. It’s sure to be safe. Only it’s gone into hiding. In my valuables drawer – ok it has some sentimental birthday cards, my daughter’s birth certificate and one or two crystals in it – I have the other passports I’ve had. Plus a library card from when I was a teenager. And an old photo. I store these in a place I can find them. I guess I must like the excitement (stress!) of turning everything up side down once in a while.
At least looking for something let me throw away a lot of old papers. Something else I need to consider changing.
I know that I keep paperwork long past any useful time. Perhaps it’s because being self employed for 18 years I am used to keeping things for six years in case the tax man calls. It sounds like I have a good excuse but I suspect I’m a hoarder at heart. I always wonder if something will come in useful just after I might have thrown it away. So I keep it. Or if it has some ‘life’ left in it yet. I’m especially resistant to changing when it comes to getting rid of clothes. Having said all of the above, I have noticed I’m getting better. Slowly but surely I am clearing things out.
When I look at my life and the world as a flow of energy it’s easier to see where I get stuck. Possessions are only necessary in the moment. After all, I don’t know how much future I have and the past is a place I no longer want to visit. All I really need are memories in my mind. Making a change by practicing remembering the good stuff and not holding on to the material stuff of the past has been a great step forward for me. I like that I can travel lighter. In the same way as I’ve learned to pack a really small bag for my travels I understand that I carry my memories with me all the time. I’ve learned to store the best ones and forget the challenging ones. After all, there is nothing I can do about the times it all went wrong.
That’s a key point for me. Making changes is also about working out what went well and what didn’t.
I would like to hope that I’m better at reflecting on how things turn out. Back to the retreat again. Stepping back from my everyday concerns, even for a short while, helps me to work out what changes are necessary next. I believe that we all try to do our best for ourselves and the people around us. It doesn’t always work out that way. Yet unless we look at what the unexpected outcomes have been how can we improve the way we act in the world? Change is a process of small, or occasionally giant, steps from what I have been to what I will become. The things in me that have ‘worked’ will stay the same. They are my foundation. But the rest of me must move, change, respond to different challenges.
Perhaps my paperwork will always be a bit messy. I guess I don’t believe that the time spent tidying it is worth the reward of findings things quickly. Who can say? One day I might find it necessary for me to set about changing that habit too, lol.
Day 290 of my blogging challenge.