“I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential.” This excerpt is from the New York Times essay written by Oliver Sacks. His quote was the inspiration for the March series about healthy detachment, The Clean Sweep.
Oliver Sacks has played many roles. Physician. Author. Professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine. Unfortunately he has a new role: patient. He was shocked to be diagnosed recently with an aggressive form of terminal cancer.
In spite of the difficult news, Dr. Sacks remains hopeful about what his last months hold. He intends to “live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can.” He said, “I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.”
Are you ready to take Dr. Sacks’ words to heart and leave whatever is unnecessary behind? Even nature is urging us to change. Daffodils are appearing on the drive to work. The sun hangs around for a few more minutes. There’s something about the rising temperatures and longer days that makes everyone want to throw open the windows. It could be time to clean sweep your life as well as your house.
Let me give you a simple example. Recently Rhapsody launched a new music player. As the new design began to load, I was taken aback by the seemingly endless playlist titles. My first impression? Overcomplicated! Then I laughed as I asked myself, “Why did I set it up this way?” Lesson learned – the time it took to pare them down was well spent.
I have a friend who is a multi-talented crafter – jewelry, scrapbooks, you name it. Her kids spent the entire Winter trading colds and the flu. Her work table slowly morphed into the family landing strip, piled high with bills and school paperwork. Last week she hit her breaking point – it was time to detach from being the family nurse. In a flash of inspiration, she put the papers in a pile and sat down as the kids napped. Within the hour, she was looking at a charming new bracelet.
It turns out crafting is more than a casual sideline for her. Creative expression is one of the key things that makes her life deep, rich and productive. She beamed, “If I’m making jewelry, I’m in a good place.”
This is the week for you to find a thing or two that means you’re in a good place. It could be something for your health, your work, or simply having fun. (Is anyone else ready to dust off that bike sitting in the garage?)
Finding your good place may mean unwinding part of your overcomplicated life. March is a long month – ease into it by working on something small and achievable, just like my playlists. Start to get comfortable with detaching; you just may fall in love with this practice. What have you got to lose? Just the inessentials.