Fall Clearing – “Manageable Moments”

Recipe for Mind

This year has passed in such a whirlwind that I didn’t stop long enough to do a proper spring cleaning.  I am not what anyone would call obsessive-compulsive about cleaning, but I do recognize the power of releasing clutter – something that inevitably builds up in many nooks and crannies of my home and office.

My good friend and colleague, Dr. Mary Bryant told me the other day that “a good definition of mental health is the process of creating order out of chaos.”  I know that one of the main principles of the “space-clearing” or Western school of feng shui is about getting rid of clutter as the number one priority in creating a healthy, productive and supportive working/living space.  (Here’s an article I wrote about a decade ago on the benefits organizing through feng shui.)

So I decided that I would do a “Fall Clearing” as opposed to spring cleaning.  But I also realized that it didn’t have to be done “all at once” in a frenzy, my usual modus operandi.  It’s a fact of human nature – when we anticipate having to do something that is not our favorite pastime, we tend to procrastinate and resist.

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Perfect Nonsense

Recipe for Mind

© Heide Benser/Corbis

If you operate on the premise that “if you’d only try harder, you can achieve perfection,” you are could be seriously exhausting yourself in a hopeless exercise.  The State of Perfection is situated somewhere between Shangri-La and La-La Land; a place where absolutes of any kind belong, since they certainly don’t exist in real life.

There is no such thing as a perfect body, a perfect relationship, or the perfect job.  Bodies can’t be perfect – they age and respond to environmental conditions.  Relationships can’t be perfect – they evolve and go through rough patches   Even the best careers have up and down cycles.   I think that about the only thing that can be described as “perfect” is a moment – something lovely and ephemeral, existing for a brief interval and then becomes a memory.

An immutable law of the mind states, “the more you try to do something, the less you are able to do it.”   Have you ever tried desperately to fall asleep at night, and couldn’t until you finally gave up?  The act of “trying” to be perfect is a futile one, and destined to fail.

An inalterable law of suggestion is “Avoid Perfectionism.”  There are certain words in every language that carry a strong emotional charge –  such as “perfect” and “try.”  Hearing or thinking these words starts a feedback loop in our heads, reminding us how we can never be quite good enough.  Whenever you “hear” the voice in your own head urging you to work on being perfect, know that you are getting misinformation.    Thinking in terms of achieving your “personal best” or “improving yourself day-by-day,” doesn’t trigger the same negative reactions.

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