January Practice and Process: “Clearing” pt. 2

PRACTICE

As we are making our way through January, Betony and I have been staying true to practicing the two things we put forward at the beginning of the month:
Doing a massive “clearing” of our house.
and
Having a table alter with and a ringing bell to accompany prayer.

Below are some pictures of the house-clearing process. We’ve made it through the BIG categories of clothes, books, and papers. Then Betony has been taking on the major hot-spots of her art studio, sewing-closet and kitchen.

These photos make it look REALLY bad, but part of the process we are doing is to pull each category (clothes, books, papers, etc) out completely before putting it back.
Books Day BEFORE:

Books Day AFTER:

Clothes BEFORE:
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Clothes AFTER:

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Papers Day: (we ended up with two small folders of papers)
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The disaster of the studio BEFORE:
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Studio AFTER (still in process of repainting…) – can you even believe this is the same space?
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There are things that we are learning and processing in doing this! (Please, feel free to leave some of what you’re learning in our comments!)

For me, I’ve been surprised by how the house feels BIGGER. We all of a sudden have plenty of space. We’re aren’t hurting for closets and the floor isn’t constantly covered in toys… I was really feeling the pressure this last year of upgrading our home, keeping up with the Jones’, you know? We’re a family of 5 now. How do we make it in this tiny house? (leaving out the perspective that the rest of the world seems to do just fine with a lot less space and things). Now with this clearing, things feel fine right now. We actually have AMPLE room.
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It’s also made me excited to be home. When I look at our bookshelf, I look at the “greatest hits” of Betony and I’s collection. Each of the books we’ve kept mean a lot to us! Now that the closets and nooks and shelves are looking like that, it gives a great joy. We’re surrounded by things we’ve made a choice to keep because of their importance to us.

Another point with that- because they’re important to us, we want to take better care of what we have. I’ve always wanted to be a good caretaker of my stuff, a good steward. But I never have felt very good at it. I hope this practice of “keeping mainly the things that bring me joy” will help me intrinsically move towards better care.

Lastly, and this sounds strange, overall I feel like I’ve spiritually lost 10 pounds. I don’t know how else to describe it. Coming in to the home, things just feel lighter and less stress-filled. Maybe there’s a beginning sense of “this is what I want my life to be” rather than “I’m failing at the American dream”? Does that make sense?

PROCESS

Betony and I are taking these practices and letting them guide our artistic process:

As a result, Giants & Pilgrims will be releasing a new song! This is a single from a larger work called “Bellwether”, out later this year. I wrote it while processing this idea of clearing and subtraction then quickly recorded, mixed, and mastered the song with a host of incredibly talented people!

Alongside the song, Betony is creating limited run of a screen-print that will be sold online only the last week of January! It’ll bring a beauty and design to the lyrics from this new song.

Also, Betony is excited to begin the year with a wonderful, clean, and intention-filled studio.

PS

The number of trash bags full of stuff we donated was CRAZY! This is only about 1/6 –

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