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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Opening the Door

It’s amazing what we get used to.

Unpacked boxes and unfinished projects clutter my space and mind. I find a short-cut through the piles which make up my indoor landscape. As the piles multiply and expand my short-cut grows, becoming a daily navigation around the growing obstacles. I get used to it and it becomes part of my life, the daily journey through my narrowing space.  The piles are now representations of furniture and abstract art sculptures.

Then, one day, I begin to clear more than a path. The piles must go. One by one, homes are found for the items I deem worth saving. And slowly, but surely, the space is transformed into one of openness. Nothing is obscured from sight. My breath comes more slowly and deeply and my shoulders drop.

I take stock and realize, wow, this space has been here the whole time. I got so used to adapting, I forgot to take action. It excites me to know that beneath the clutter remaining to be cleared, in my house and in my head, there is more space to uncover. I remove the physical objects through action and unnecessary thoughts through stillness. In each case, I am lightening my load and clearing a path for what’s to come.

It seems to me that the challenge of all New Yorkers is to make room where there is none.  When I lived in Manhattan, I lived in six different apartments in five different neighborhoods. It was easy to become lost in the clutter in the tiny apartments I called home. The small voice in my gut informed a dream I had, periodically, in each apartment. The dream was always the same in content, but varied in form. The gist of it was that after exploring my space, I would find the Extra Room. In one apartment on W. 10th Street, the dream was so vivid I actually looked behind the refrigerator the next day to see if there was a door.

What I've learned since then is that there's always a door.

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