I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Monday, February 23, 2015

Catharsis

"The first section of the poem, The Inferno, was Dante’s account of their trip through Hell. Each circle of Hell contained assorted shades (ghosts) suffering increasingly harsh punishments. As the pair entered the 4th circle of Hell, they found two mobs at war, crashing against each other with enormous boulders they pushed with their chests. The armies formed a circle and as Plutus, the Greek God of Wealth watched, they collapsed upon each other crashing the stones against each other, only to retreat and taunt “Why do you hoard?” While the opposite mob replied, “Why do you waste?” Dante’s guide explained that these were the hoarders and wasters in life, the Avaricious and Prodigal. Their lives were spent acquiring possessions and chasing wealth, but by doing so they shielded themselves from God’s light. Now they were forever doomed to this fate. Their possessions became the heavy stones they heaved and crashed for eternity."
(http://hoarding.iocdf.org/dante_to_dsm-v.aspx)


Yes, well... "Why do we hoard?"  "Why do we waste?" Good questions.  I know this is a little heavy for Monday morning but it's something I've been thinking about and it brings me to the point of this blogpost. 
We cleaned out our garage two weeks ago and even though it's not completely finished, I feel really good about what we accomplished.

We chose a day, moved the car out and faced this monster with determination. This seems like an overwhelming project. 
We began by making piles.
One for the dump...
and one for the thrift shops...
...and a small pile for the undecideds. (This is a pile that needs to be kept to a minimum. It tends to grow fast.)

This cleaning and sorting is a lot of work, at our age... at any age, really... but it took all day and visions of Dante's Inferno kept hitting me in the back of the head. 
By late afternoon the garage was looking pretty good. The only casuality was a bird that had died (quickly I hope) in a rat trap. Why it chose to fly into the garage and eat cheese left for a rat, I have no idea. Our cat sleeps in here. The poor bird must have been desperate.
By the end of the day we we able to drive the car back into the garage without hitting its doors on "stuff". 

There is still a lot of work for us to do. Plastic boxes of "things" that I need to look through and sort. There's also the Prospector's side of this... "his side" of the garage. He is complicit as well. He has a workbench and storage area that is unusable at the moment. I'm not in this alone. 
I know that my schizophrenic artistic habit of hopping from one one kind of art to another (and all of my supplies that ensue)... and my  (I believe) unconscious "Don't throw anything away, I might want to use it someday" attitude, seems to be trapped in the recesses of my brain, having left me with a permanent inability to toss something away. I know, that without the looming thought of having to move someday, because of our health or old age, I would become lost in all of this. If I thought that this was our last destination, our final hurrah, I would probably not care so much. But I do. I also don't want all of this, piling up, waiting for my family to deal with.

I want to be like some folks who never collect anything. I truly do. I want to have a perfect, well organized life with closets that reveal what's in them at a glance. I want to find my shoes. I need that item that I put away, in a safe place, so I would know where everything was when I need it.  Yes, I have HOPE. I know that this is possible. I just don't know if I have time.
I have visions of  Dante standing there between the piles of stuff, smiling... waiting... with my "possessions" and they will have become the "heavy stones" that I will have to "heaved and crashed for eternity." 
That's scary shit. 
I need to keep working on this... fast.
 

10 comments:

  1. smiles.
    we all need to work at it...and we all need to take the time to clean out...it adds up pretty quick...and we dont even notice til it does....

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  2. At least you got in there and started the process of sorting and throwing away! It's so hard to get started!! Well done, I say!

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  3. What an interesting article! I OCD but I'm not a hoarder. I have found that when my panic disorder is getting out of hand, purging and decluttering makes me feel better. It's because I'm doing something I DO have control over as opposed to the 10,000,000 I don't. Having a clean and clear view also helps with my mind "clutter". Once you get started and get "hooked" it's easier to do :) Great post :)

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  4. I think we'll be there together! I've been having the same thoughts running through my mind, the what if's and the leaving of this mess behind for someone else to take care of. I don't want that to happen. but, then again I don't know where to start!

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  5. After my mother passed away and we went through all her things I made a concerted effort to thin things out of my life every couple of years. My hobbies include cross stitch and crochet so there are more than enough patterns and material to keep track of. After a move last summer, I am again thinning things out - selling on eBay helps the budget too. I am currently reading "the life-changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo. Very interesting read to say the least.

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  6. trying to do this now..we're both hoarders of useful stuff,and The Pirate just can't say NO! to other peoples' proffered Stuff....
    it can be a painful, stressful process

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  7. You at least accomplished a lot. I need to start getting rid of some of my things that I have no more use for, but I will wait until it warms up some before I start. Have a blessed day. Madeline

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  8. It's hard when you have 'stuff' and a big place to put it! We have a barn that has become a dumping ground for 'stuff'. I periodically clean it out and try to downsize but then more 'stuff' comes your way. I've been pretty serious about it the past few months knowing that inevidebly we will be moving and I do not want to move anymore 'stuff' than I have to. You're right...scary shit!

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  9. Well the hell stuff; I won't even start...there is a sure way to avoid that. Getting rid of stuff the more you toss the better you feel! I think about Scrooge and his partner Jacob Marley carrying his chains of greed....yuk! We don't need to store up for ourselves where moth destroys and thieves break in to steal. But give it away, and love your neighbor as yourself. We squander so many blessing on nothing. I want to be more alert and aware and careful. Now excuse me while I go to the pet store and get a bird swing....just so you know the whole truth ;)

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  10. **Teach us Lord to number our days** Yes, some things are not worth dealing with even now! It is understanding the internal connections that collected objects represent that might help us the most as we heartily are setting them in their appropriate give away, throw away, redeem the monetary value piles.

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