The Waking Wind

The restless wind whips and slaps
Pushy, with disregard, blowing off caps
Is it unease or anxiety, or a perpetual angry yell?
Whatsoever. Wind is my weather version of hell
It’s like all broken spirits’ wailing and groaning
To me, wind sounds like painful wheezing and moaning
Gales stop at nothing to beat and cajole
Battering the earth from pole to pole
If wind was language, what would it speak?
If it’s looking for something, what does it seek?
It awoke me tonight from my deepened sleep
I think the wind is full of secrets, ones I couldn’t bare to keep
Only on one occasion, at least that I can recall
Did I make any peace with the wind at all
I welcomed the tempest and lay down in its presence
I think for a moment, I became one with its essence
There was a mutual acceptance, a kindness to discover
Who knows? Maybe the wind is a romantic lover?
The mistral a mistress? Every breezy blast the earth’s breath?


I have but one more question: where does it go when it dies down…
What is a wind’s death?




Copyright © 2020 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

Blip. Boom.

Trickle. Trickle. Trickle. Trickle.
Leak.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.
Puddle.
Dribble. Dribble. Dribble. Dribble.
Break.
Plop. Plop. Plop. Plop.
Quagmire.
Splash. Splash. Splash. Splash.
Bust.
Push. Push. Push. Push.
Gush.
Fill. Fill. Fill. Fill.
Overflow.
Build. Build. Build. Build.
Burst.
Flow. Flow. Flow. Flow.
Panic.
Rush. Rush. Rush. Rush.
Mania.
Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail.

Capsize.
Drown. Drown. Drown. Drown.



_______________________________________________________________________________

Loveland, CO ¦¦  September 17, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.


If You Have It, You Get It

I was solo hiking a few weeks back and on the way down from the peak, my brain fell into a repetitive, poetic, cheer-like rhythm–perhaps mimicking my feet and body’s movement?–and I spent the rest of the way down to my car churning this out. This one is fun, because I think we each have our own ‘it’ …. that thing that immediately comes to mind for you. Don’t suppress it.

Find your it, imagine it vividly, sit in it, and make your own beat and cheer that fit it. Maybe it needs some undoing, perspective shift, tender acceptance, or purging. Maybe there are other ways to see it. Whatever it is, name it. Invite it for tea and get to know it.

Enjoy this….enjoy it! 🙂

_______________________________________________________________________________

Find it, unwind it, put it to the stone and grind it
Return it, unlearn it, put it in the fire and burn it
Hush it, crush it, put it in the toilet and flush it
Grieve it, bereave it, put it in the trash and leave it
Defame it, name it, put it in class and tame it
Grease it, release it, put it on lock and police it
Demean it, clean it, say what you think and mean it
Fake it, take it, put it in the oven and bake it
Annoy it, enjoy it, review its resume and employ it
Fight it, delight it, put it in your mouth and bite it
Half it, photograph it, make it a joke and laugh it
Blend it, offend it, put it in the mailbox and send it
Steep it, keep it, put it in the ground and reap it
Feed it, need it, grow it in the garden and weed it
Fill it, kill it, put it in the books and bill it
Thumb it, numb it, put it in a song and hum it
Save it, engrave it, put it on a flag and wave it
Bust it, dust it, call it your friend and trust it

Rate it, hate it, why not romance and date it
Whore it, ignore it, challenge yourself to adore it
Shove it, glove it, discipline yourself to love it
See it, free it, live unfettered and be it


_______________________________________________________________________________

Allenspark, CO ¦¦  August 24, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

Despite What You Think

I’m a wretch and a wreck
I’m a messy dot and crooked speck
Cover my tracks and don’t look back
I’m a hurricane with a panic attack

Hold my tongue and give no lip
Raise my fists and shake my hips
Down that road? No! I’ve already been
Increased my debts, and tripled my sin

I can walk on back or I can walk away
Nothing can keep my troubles at bay
This whole time, pursuing the fool’s errand
Love’s in a coma, and life is a desert barren

I looked at the forest, but disappeared in the trees
I followed the waterfall, but drowned in the seas
I jumped in the desert, but sunk in the sand
I played all the music, but got cut from the band
I wrote every word, but got twisted in the plot
I swam after the bait, but I never got caught

A victor? A victim? A felon? A freak?
A trough. A travesty. A penalty. A peak.
One million hopeful ‘Hail Mary’s’ I gave
But it was my dreams that dug my grave

_______________________________________________________________________________

Loveland, CO ¦¦  August 23, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.



Compare the Contrast

Sometimes it takes a while. To understand why I react strongly to something. Is it based on history or personal experience, or reasons I don’t yet understand? I suppose an example or story or anecdote may clear up this murky introduction.

I currently live in a house with 7-8 other people, including the landlords who own the house. On the whole, it’s a surprisingly great setup. Whenever I mention this to anyone, the first thing they usually respond with is, “How big is that house!?” or “That must be a huge house!” It’s not though. It’s a ranch style home with a basement. It’s just divided in a way that there are seven rooms. Mine, I believe is the smallest. Which makes sense of course, me being the tallest person in the home! I’ve lived with somewhere around 40-50 different people over the years, and despite this being the most in one place, it, so far, comes with the least amount of drama. Everyone is for the most part, courteous, respectful, and friendly. Even with a fair amount of turnover that occurs from time to time.

Now speaking of turnover, this is really where the crux of this awareness-boosting anecdote stems from. A couple weeks ago, someone new moved into one of the rooms upstairs. (I live in the basement. And yes, I have a window, because having no natural light is as good as living in a grave! ) The only thing about this guy moving in, is that I had no idea he had done so. I hadn’t met him. I hadn’t heard of him. There was zero communication to me. I’m pretty good at rolling with the punches of life for the most part. This felt kind of invasive to me though, and I didn’t really think about why, I just found myself being slightly on edge about him and his ‘suddenly Seymour’ entry into my home.

Fast forward a few weeks, I’ve accepted that this new person resides in my home, have had a chance to meet and speak with him, and I’m good. One evening after work, I’m out in the parking area tinkering on my motorcycle and a work truck pulls in front of the house and parks in the street. He goes up and knocks on the door, to the home I live in. No one comes. He returns to his truck and slowly moves toward me as he starts asking me questions.

“Do you live around this neighborhood?”
“Yeah” I respond, wondering who this joker is and why he feels the need to know where I live.
“Do you keep your motorcycle parked here?” he asks.
I squint my eyes with a tainted look of distrust, wondering why the hell I should tell a complete stranger where I park my bike. Does he want to know so he can steal it? “Yeeeaaaah” I remark with distrust ballooning around the word.

Well, it turns out he had looked at one of the other rooms available, and was trying to get a hold of my landlord all day, and was there to pay rent. I found the landlords significant other and handed off, and went back to my business. Once I was back inside, I was very on edge and annoyed that I had no clue about any of this, and that I had to meet a possible resident of my home in such an abrupt way. I did not like that at all, and as confrontation is not a facet of my dna, I made my disapproval of the methods very clear by way of passive aggressive prowess. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it does feel strangely …..good isn’t the word. It definitely doesn’t feel good. It feels powerful maybe? Like I’m garnering a false sense of control in my circumstances again?

I felt gross about that reaction for the rest of the day. But I still didn’t know why I was so on edge. It’s a dumb thing. I love strangers and talk them up all the time wherever I go. But then this happened: Someone was coming to look at the room adjacent to mine. Only this time, one landlord informed me as soon as I got home from work that she was coming and followed up with when exactly. And then later, both landlords pulled me in and told me about her and her interests and what she was like. I appreciated them taking the time to fill me in and inform me. It felt good and inclusive and like I wouldn’t be blindsided by a stranger living her life essentially just feet away from me.

I left for a few hours to help some friends who were moving. And by time I had gotten back home, it hit me. I understood why I was reacting so strongly to these seemingly relatively petty scenarios. And the strange thing to me is that it took both the poor and the well-executed approaches to the same situation, and my awareness of my response patterns to each, to see it.

This was a big deal to me, becaaaaauuuuuuse…..wait for it!……….

this is my HOME!

This is my trusted place of security. Of protection. Of safety. A place where I know who is there, and even though I might not want to talk with them every time I see them, I know if I have to, that they are okay. It’s a place where I can hide in my room by myself to recharge if I’m peopled out. It’s a place where I can wear my jammies to the kitchen to cook or make snacks. On and on. I would bet that this is a familiar feeling for anyone who is fortunate to have a shelter, a home to abide in regularly. And because my home is such a sacred place to me, any disruption, especially an unexpected one, can be perceived or processed as a threat. Threat, until proven safe. Maybe that’s a good home motto. Maybe it’s not. But it’s mine. Apparently.

I wonder if this is common? This way of finding out why for me or you personally. Is it fairly normal to have to experience both good and bad to determine what is really going on? Or is that more a personal operation thing? Comparison and contrasts are indeed an excellent way to make sense of the world.

I am pleased to have learned how I perceive things in this specific context of home. However, I think I’m more intrigued with hope that more broadly, in future situations in which I react strongly to something, that I will have the adaptability and freedom to consider what the alternative response could be, and what might cause the difference between the two. It’s preemptive problem-solving right? By nature, I am a person who anticipates problems. I have done this in my jobs along the course of life, and typically it ends up saving me a significant amount of time. Instead of waiting until things escalate, and having to put all of my capacity and energy toward fighting a fire head on, I can clarify and interject useful information or in some other way, dig a ditch 20 yards from the fires’ direction so that when it would get there, it doesn’t have the fuel required to make any ominous, destructive leaps.

So here’s to understanding ourselves better. May it be a never ending process that we all engage in regularly so that we can be the best versions of ourselves and interact in the most ethical, humane, kind, and loving way with the universe and people around us. Salud.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Loveland, CO ¦¦  June 16, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

Featherlike

Visual stimuli engage my brain far more than audial means could ever dream of doing. Visual is my learning style, and my way of understanding, filtering, interpreting, and often sharing the world around me. With that, the very moment of my optical intake of the image on this post…abruptly blossoming out of my heart, the following vivid application wound its way through my person, and popped through the ground of my brain, and simply hovered there for a good, comfortable while–stewing–as I become increasingly mindful of it and present with it. … This application is in regards to how I often perceive people. Though as instantaneously as it came to me, admittedly, I had not thought of it in this way ever before.

One Thursday after a long day of work and doing a little weeding at home, I netted down a lawn chair to the back of my motorcycle and threw a few essentials for proper sitting in the trunk, and I made a quick jaunt over to a state wildlife area near my home.

I’d been there several times before when I needed to regroup with serenity. I passed by the old white truck that has always been in the same parking spot every single time I’ve gone, this time accompanied by a yellow VW Bus. I parked in a corner of the lot, holstered the lawn chair strap over my shoulder and took my lunch bag along. I usually take a left at the first split in trails, so I opted right. A deep voice from heaven uttered, “You have chosen wisely!”

I urged the dirt path–a flat, thin valley surrounded by tall grasses, winding its way toward the waters’ edge– to take me somewhere neat. Within moments, I saw maybe ten yards away, the caught-in-the-act side gaze of a brown rabbit pretending not to see me nor be seen. I stopped and admired the darker hue of brown from most rabbits that I see in the area, while it continued–I assume without even breathing– in a frozen state of anxious paranoia. Thinking I ought not tarry any longer to disturb the green grass dinner, I carried along.

Shortly, I was on a small ridge, between two of the ponds, meandering back into the unknown. Save for the extraordinary amounts of goose poop–which is disappointingly very known to me. I startled a large blue heron on the left bank, that promptly swooped its lanky wingspan into action, and got the heck out of Dodge! I kept walking, and picked up a feather to admire along my way. Almost toward the end of both the path and the ponds, I found the spot that was meant for me. A quick dip just a few steps below, and I was set up in a damp grassland abutting the water’s edge.

And so I sat. My being harmonized with nature’s melody. Or was it the other way around? Well, it was musical one way or another. I puffed a few smokes from my tobacco pipe, enjoyed a solitary sip of whiskey, ate two mandarins, wrote a brief snippet, and took a handful of photographs. Throughout, birds of all kinds were bustling about, routinely involved in the commerce of their local ecosystem. There was a significant amount of commotion in the reed bundle just off to my left, though I never could make out any particular figure. It ended on the opposite side with what I presume, was a belly-flop from a turtle, showing off to his friends. Fish were jumping on both sides of the ridge. The water eagerly reflected back everything that was daring enough to look into the glassy mirror. My head oscillated back and forth like a hot summer night’s table fan, as I found myself mesmerized and captivated by both the sites and the sounds.

And then I picked the feather I was closely admiring earlier when I first sat down. I determined I would create a scene. A mindful, artistic, photogenic scene. I marked the sun’s location and determined the optimal accessible glassy canvas to work with. I took a few steps to my right, and planted my right foot on a sturdy enough branch sticking out of the water. It held my weight, so I brought up my camera, positioned myself, and dropped the feather onto the water just inches away from its surface.

It made the most gentle and delightful little ring of ripples. And this is the precise moment when the vivid application settled into me. It was like this…

That feather. It is so pristine and lovely as it floats there! What a delight to see and know this feather. I imagine every human as fragile, delicate, supremely designed, unique and wildly complex in structure— full of capacity and potential— existing there, surrounded by immense, unwavering yet ever-changing beauty. And yet, each human lives in this uncertain surface tension of the world with unpredictable ebbs and flows that at any moment could break the rippling tension of the surface and cause any measure — from one gentle dewy drop to a forceable rush of water — to flow in like an invigorating, breath-taking splash, or over, like a downward-pushing suffocating flood. It’s this unknown state that so often keeps us looking intently at the edges of ourselves, waiting and worrying that the tension might break at any given moment. And so we study it. We bustle and crow and squint and incessantly fluctuate our heart’s rhythms. We make calculations and predictions. We create black and white and defy gray’s existence, so that we can maintain our false sense of control. All the while failing to realize and rest in the surrounding beauty that exists to direct and reflect our eyes toward the prize. To believe. To trust. To rest. And in turn, to thrive! 

Living is risky. Dying is inevitable. 

How we spend the in between is a monumental choice. But really, it’s thousands upon thousands of tiny choices every day. How will you choose? Yes. But how will you choose to choose? [Don’t take it any deeper! Choice inception is a rickety rabbit hole! :p Don’t do it!!]

It can be helpful to have a baseline for our daily choosings. I’m going to choose, at least this time–right now–to gaze on the beauty and mystery of it all—of you all. I choose to breathe it and you in. I choose to accept and love not just the desirable, but the undesirable too. It’s risky. It always has been. And it’s good. Especially when others are there too. I hope I’ll see you there—living in the tension, smiling back at me! Throw a lawn chair on your motorcycle and join me anytime! You are always welcome.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Loveland, CO ¦¦  May 30, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

Bonus content: I saw an awesome little turtle friend on my walk back to the parking lot!!! I think his name was Nick? But I couldn’t quite make it out.

He went into his shell for a while on my arrival. I told him not to be scared and that I thought he was cool. Then I noticed a little puddle behind him. Awkward turtle, eh? Awe. We’ve all been there. It was strangely cute, but I felt bad. But we hung out for a while together and his fear abated. We left on good terms!

Free Form

Grow old and die
An unavoidable cycle that’s mean
But don’t forget to ask why
In all the in between

We all come and go
Bouncing back and forth
Crowding every line we can toe
Forgetting which way is south, and which is north

We all want the same things
And all the same things want us
Wealth. Power. Comfort. Wedding rings
All aboard the unhappiness bus

This is my hope for you and for me
A ballad, a request, encouragement, a plea
Learn to be content wherever we happen to be
For with such, comes an understanding of what it means to be free.


Loveland, CO ¦¦  April 28, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

A Country Sticker

Suspended in the balance
Residing in the haze
The only light is pale
Superseded by a haywire dimmer switch
Oscillating emotions are my biggest fan
I’m not so much your city slicker
I’m more the making of a country sticker

Blueberry embers cackle and crackle
Right in the very heart of me
Not for warmth, but to bring the heat
As tangerine fire dances around my feet
I figure I could make a plan
Just as good as anyone can

Take a jog. Choose any path
Step into a bog. Forget to do the math
Inquire. Ask every single question.
Every time. Eliminating the intonation of suggestion
Invite yourself and come to all the right places
Respectfully invade all of the sacred spaces
Make your move at precisely the wrong time
Forget your voice. Become the pantomime.
Where do your words come from. Where do they go?
Be the nourished plant. Grow! Grow! Grow!

———————————————————————————————————————

Loveland, CO ¦¦  April 6 ,2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.




Empathy Acquisition

The sun is warm
But the wind is cold
The water, it glistens
All the while, I grow old
I always search for treasure
But I’ve never found the gold

Maybe it’s not the reward to envy
For within the hunt is where the bulk unfolds
Life’s lessons most often discovered
Not something bought or sold
No. Scars and badges must be earned
Stories belong to the brave and the bold

A copycat will never be happy
We only fit right in our own mold

True wealth is hardship and suffering
Each of which–mysteries and secrets hold
We would learn the scope and truth of heart ache
If all of humanity was polled

Intricate, delicate — humankind’s status
Like the careful deliberate process of a cigarette rolled
I think we miss every good thing
When ‘the quick and the easy’ is for what we’ve bowled
This empathy gained, is a tremendous, invaluable bounty
And the learning of it, should constantly be told


Simpson Ponds, Loveland, CO ¦¦  April 18, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

Seated Beyond Tower Arch

Birds practice their morning aerial acrobatics routine.
Dip, flutter, float, spiral…raaaaaaaaaiiiiise
Repeat
Dip, flutter, float, spiral…raaaaaaaaiiiiiise
Repeat…

Rounded, red, rocky spires look up, once stoutly and proud…
Now peer up spooked and timid…
They are used to being the tallest around…
And as it would turn out, do not take kindly to being looked down upon.

One flying avian is particularly upset this morning. Around and around in circles. Hovering circle after hovering circle. Constant chatter.
Alerting the world?
Alarming a loved one?
Selfishly protective and territorial?
Air rage?
Not feeling well?
Whatever the case, some incoherent, incessant, chirping chatter proceeds from its beak’s passageway.

…I think perhaps, one bird woke up on the wrong side of the branch this morning.

Teetering rocks of fortress capacity balance themselves all across the landscape. They threaten to tumble at any moment. But they are the epitome of a good poker player. They obtain the most epic of poker faces and are capable of bluffing for hundreds and thousands of years at a time. In fact, they have been.

Cool, sunup breezes caress my arms as they weave effortlessly and chillingly between my wispy arm hairs–compensating for the rising sun’s impending heat–to bring a balance in temperature to my skin’s surface. Nature’s thermostat is typically running rogue and remains unaffected by human interest or hopefulness. But on some occasions such as this, human need and nature’s unpredictable and sporadic syntax are fortunate to parallel each other.

The perturbed bird wails on.

It’s amazing. I sit just two feet away from an immense and very direct drop. It’s amazing because I didn’t even notice that side of the rock perch until a good while after I sat. But no bother. I am neither surprised nor scared by this discovery. Utah rock is like one giant, gentle, corporately-acting organism. And we get along swimmingly. Old friends who carry no fears amongst each other. We have been exploring each other’s essence for over a decade. Their feel, warmth, and openness are familiar to me.

Familiarity breeds comfort.
Comfort breathes relief.
Relief yields ignorance.
Ignorance births forgetfulness.
Forgetfulness manifests disbelief.
Disbelief targets ruin.
Ruin destroys it’s own.

I’m going to get down off of this rocky penthouse perch now.

…one way or another.

———————————————————————————————————————

Arches National Park, UT ¦¦  April 27, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

Mmm…it’s old hat

Alright. Here we are. No. Well, here I am. It’s usually just me. It’s not so bad though, I’m not so terrible — most of the time. I can get a little sketch when I’m wading in my own head–swimming in the menagerie of madness.

The milky mirth of melodious methodology.

The masquerading mystery of my own mental malnutrition.

Or mastering the mundane massaging of micro-managed mentions.

It can be anything — but it’s always dramatic. Times like these, that is. But unless you know me really well, you wouldn’t know it. I’m…

S T E A L T H Y

Just like the word above. Barely visible. Stealthy. Just like my presence among desirable women. They don’t even know I’m here. They don’t know– when I come, when I leave. It’s a unique gift hex.

Nah. It’s good that way. I love quite freely and apropos to my often immediate course of intentionality with humans I meet– most people, I find, are either not interested or not equipped to receive love or gifts and they spook quite easily. So. It seems it is better for me to arrive unknown and leave forgotten.

It is disappointing. Sure. But it’s normal. Old hat. It’s familiar. And it’s fine.

———————————————————————————————————————

Berthoud, CO ¦¦  April 12, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

Lucy and the Sky With Kindness

Quality time with others
Is virtue surrounding me

Lending a hand unto others
Becomes a hand outstretched toward me

Affirming worth in others
Spills value all over me

Freely giving gifts to others
Showers my own heart with presents

Wrapping arms around another
Is the best way to be embraced

Above All
Love All

Love others in the ways that you love yourself.
Be toward others how you desire others to be toward you.

________________________________________________________________

Denver, CO ¦¦  February 16, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

Can’t Shake You

You weren’t the woman of my dreams
Because the woman of my dreams was an idea, an ideal
You were not an ideal, or anything near or liken to it
No, no, no. You were a brazen reality
Far surpassing any and every dream
Of which you made each into a puny insignificance

And for a brief moment in time, you were my reality
By some severe mercy of the universe
By way of some undeserved kindness
What fortune of fortuitous luck


Unleashed and undomesticated
You are as wild as the wolf’s echoing howl
You are as majestic as the musing moon
You are as whimsical as the wavering willow
You are as fantastical as the flickering flame
You are as subtle as the slithering snake
You are as stunning as the shimmering stars
You are as distant as the dancing divine, and
You are as haunting as the harrowing hallows

Reality is subject to change
Mercy only lasts so long
Kindness can’t last forever
Luck so very often runs out

I can’t shake you
I both do and don’t want to

Luck is anxious
Luck don’t come my way
Luck is antsy
Luck has a price to pay
Luck is a transient
Luck don’t ever stay

Loveland, CO ¦¦  January 8th, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.



Human Disposal

We live in a

Disposable world

~

Itʼs not, really

But we often treat it

As though it were

So much became so cheap

So rapidly. And how

Convenient and

Easily replaceable!

Materialism and capitalism —

A subtly strong cocktail

Inexplicably drinkable.

But this a blind step

(too far) … forward?

Reverse humanism, I’d say

When did we begin

To treat humans

As cheap and convenient,

And easily replaceable?

~

In a world so quick

To dehumanize, perhaps

An alternate word used

Might cajole our brain

Pattern and response–

Allow me to restate:

When did we begin

To treat relationships

As cheap and convenient

And easily replaceable?

~

Is it now that we are

Able to connect

Anywhere with

Anyone? That intimacy

Belongs solely to the

Confines of romance

Or just a bygone era?

We treat people as

Disposable. We do.

~

But our fellow humans

Are intricate snowflakes.

No duplicity of spirit.

Perhaps in appearance —

Twins and mirrors

Yet unique individuality

Comes standard

With every new born

~

A paradigm shift

would be delightful, no?

To hold fast and revere

With reinstated principles

Not for posterity’s sake

But to actually live by:

Courtesy, respect

Dignity, justice

A proper use of

scary words like

Discrimination and judgment

A significant reduction of

Assumption, ignorance

and unattended bias

~

Add patience and consideration

~

For giving to people

And for the thinking on

Of such important ideas

Things and thoughts

Loveland, CO ¦¦  January 7th, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.

Is it Time to Take Inventory?

On my first day back to work in early January of the new year, I found that I would not be involved with production for the day, per usual. Instead, I would be doing product inventory. I currently work in the stone department of a small, local shop that makes pedestals and bases out of wood and stone.

I believe this is the type of thing that certain accountants do for businesses. Account for everything, right? I was assigned to the corner of the shop that housed the tile size of stone. The process mostly went like this: I pulled every individual piece out, sucked up settled layers of incredibly fine dust into the vacuum and into my lungs, I measured, counted, and made note of supply, and then rearranged every single piece back into (a pretty impressive) organized system.

Now, this corner structure of shelves, had not been organized in any such manner since the prior inventory session a year earlier. So as you can imagine in a busy shop, over the course of a year, things had become strewn, left, mixed, and jumbled. It ended up being about a seven hour task. But I am compelled to say, upon completion, the space had been transformed! Every shelf was quite neat and very presentable, and it was clear right where everything was, and should be. I labeled each stone and row. And do you know what else was transformed?

ME!

I am a firm believer in the physical spaces around us having a very large impact upon the mental, emotional, and spiritual space within our minds, hearts, and souls. And no, this does not mean that I think cleanliness is the second hand man or personal assistant to godliness. This is, however, why I choose to operate functionally to some degree as a minimalist. (Minimalism can be practiced with a vast array of approaches and to varying degrees.) When my physical spaces are cluttered or unorganized, my thoughts and life tend to reflect that.

A very cluttered van after necessarily tearing down camp in the middle of an impossibly windy night in Iceland. My brain reflected this mess!

You are most likely already tracking with me to the next logical line of thought. It is not just the amount of things filling up my spaces that matters, but the things themselves. I have put a significant amount of effort over the years, dwindling and honing my belongings primarily into two–sometimes three–categories.

  1. Functional: On the whole, I don’t really want to have things sitting around that I don’t use, or don’t use often enough to merit ownership of them. I don’t like duplicates. And while I like functional items, I don’t like functional items that are produced (often in mass quantities) without quality in mind. For if they cease to work as they were intended, they no longer provide value. Generally speaking, the old adage is pretty accurate, “you get what you pay for.” Use discretion and be responsible with your finances, of course, but when you have fewer belongings, it does become easier over time to afford better, and fewer (and hopefully ethically made) things.
  2. Aesthetic: I think it is both wise and important to have a tasteful amount of aesthetically pleasing details around. Things that you want and like to look at. Things that make you feel good or happy or calm or warm. Things that tell a story about the world, or about you. It can absolutely be argued that solely aesthetic things are not functional things. And that is precisely why it is its own category! Fill your spaces with things you like. Feel better. Live better.
  3. Sentimental (optional): I’ve gone back and forth over the years on this one. I’ve gifted or removed many things that held significant sentimental value to me over the years. But I always end up collecting more. I think that is the essence! If I hang on to everything sentimental, they start making reality TV shows about crazy Uncle Ben–the bearded hoarder! So I allow sentimental items to be pretty fluid, and just remind myself that if I feel regret for releasing one, I’m simply making room for new sentiments to enter and be a part of my life for a season.
A prior room setup of mine: Neat. Functional. Aesthetically Chuck Norrissed. Er, I mean a dab of aesthetic pleasing for the season of life, and a hint of sentiment for added flavor.

So I have penciled the parallel.

“Cool.” you say, “A monotonous task at work can apply to life. Yippy skippy.”

I hear you. Track with me for just one more line of thought.

Maybe we should regularly schedule some inventory for our selves. For our lives.

Where to begin?

Let’s be deliberate to find out what we have. What are our skills? Our hopes? Let’s match up all the mismatches and clean all the dust balls and cobwebs off of the things we forgot about. Are they important things? Let’s display them more prominently. Do we deem them as not useful? Let’s re-purpose them or discard them in a responsible and healthy fashion. Does everything now have a good and right place? Let’s commit to maintaining it as such, so that we can function better–more peacefully, thoughtfully, and clearly.

One small reality check. This process is not all peaches and cream. Awareness and change can often be uncomfortable. There was a moment about five hours in–to my actual work inventory–when I considered that it would be easier to just throw all the small pieces away instead of counting and sorting and putting them back. Fatigue is real, and can greatly affect decision-making, determination, and effort. But there is also no requirement or pressure, so don’t allow any shame to creep in. It’s literally just something to do if you like. I’ve been doing it over the last decade. So take your time. As Bill Murray repeated in one of his classic films, “Baby steps! Baby steps!”

Calm-thoughtfulness-inducing.

Loveland, CO ¦¦  January 4th, 2019

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