OK, I’ve de-cluttered my house… now for my brain. There’s lots of useless stuff in there, and my mission is to simplify every single cranny of my life. The tiniest of drawers have been at my mercy so far, and I’m hell bent on losing the useless thoughts that often drag my mood down. A noble experiment.

The dictionary definition of “clutter” is benign: a crowded mass. But now we just talk about our “stuff”, as in things we don’t really need but keep accumulating anyway. And believe me, I have accumulated! I must have hit the wall because I don’t want to waste anymore time on clutter, either dodging it in my house or having it in my brain.

“Emotional baggage” is a great description of stuff we carry around in our brains because it feels pretty heavy sometimes. But being at the mercy of my habits and old ways of thinking means I’m sort of a prisoner of the past, and I’m planning my escape. Looking forward to loss. Getting ready to unpack!

The list of what I look forward to discarding is long, but my proper British mother warned against airing laundry in public so never mind the whining. It’s most likely a duplicate of your list, anyway, with the possible exception of weight. I don’t want to lose pounds. Mine is just a hodgepodge of old habits, outdated thinking, and stubborn emotional baggage a person ends up with by the time they’ve been around awhile.

I can’t leave this subject, though, without talking about my top two. Mother wouldn’t mind. If only I could live my own life instead of wondering if I “should” before I make a move, from the things I say, to how I look, to what I do. I often curb my tongue when a funny comment comes to mind, “What will they think of me?” And sometimes I change clothes more than once when I’m getting ready to go out. Then, like a fool, wear the “appropriate” dress even though I’m in a red-glittery kind of mood.

The biggest loss I look forward to is negative thinking. My mind often jumps straight to the worst possible scenario which wastes time because I’ve never been in an accident without clean underwear on and my kids made it to adulthood fine, brains and body intact. A positive attitude – in my mind – is a magic elixir that influences everything else. Kind of like “Snake Oil” from the old west. Entire towns crowded around those traveling medicine shows, hoping that a teaspoon of something or other would make them feel better no matter what was “ailing” them at the time. Positive thinking is my elixir.

emerging-from-griefIt didn’t dawn on me that loss could be a good thing when I wrote Emerging From the Heartache of Loss four years ago. It is a book about grieving, after all. But this idea of looking at loss from a positive point of view is starting to seep in.

Some old habits you just can’t lick – BBQ potato chips for instance! Then there’s the irresistible attraction to sweets or to an iPhone. I have to admit that Facebook is one magnet that’s holding me fast. The curiosity of “What’s going on today?” overpowers me most days. I usually click to start the day, hoping they’ll be something posted that makes me laugh.

One by one excess baggage is falling away, but the process is snail-like. Old habits stick like porcupine quills. Pulling them out is painful, but when they’re good and gone the taste of freedom is delicious.