One of my favorite places on Paros is my terrace. Since it faces west, I garden there only in the morning because it’s just too hot afterwards. Volver, our cat, likes to “help” but can’t understand when I yell at him if he tries to kill a bee. Kill the flies, not the bees, I tell him hoping he will understand.
My terrace is somewhat of an exerimental lab. Not knowing much about gardening, I often look up info on internet and, if I have patience, watch an instructional video on youtube. But most of the time I just go by instinct. Gardening is very philosophical. And pragmatic. Take pruning for example.
When we got back to Paros, I found an eggplant plant from last year big and bushy. It looked wonderful. But it had no flowers which meant no eggplants. So it had to be pruned. And, once pruned, flowers began to appear.
Pruning is not about just wacking away. It’s about knowing where you want to go and then cutting away anything that keeps you from going in that direction. Pruning is a form of logic. And about making the right choices.
Decluttering is a form of pruning. It’s beneficial not just on an individual level but on a collective one as well. For example, the Broken Windows Theory shows how crime rates go down in neighborhoods once they are cleaned up and decluttered. Being surrounded by chaos confuses our innate sense of order sending bad signals to the brain.
But there’s another kind of decluttering I’m trying to do—that of my “To Do” list. Every year, before coming back, I make a long list of things to do while on Paros. It’s always a very long list and I’m lucky if I can accomplish 5% of what’s on it. In other words, I set myself up for failure.
So obviously, I feel guilty because, according to my list, I don’t get much accomplished. And guilt consumes energy. That’s why this year I’m trying something new—I’m decluttering my “To Do” list and pruning it like my eggplant. Hopefully, I will get it down to no more than 5 To Do’s. All the rest will be transferred to A Dream List.
Too much distracts and disperses.
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