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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Word of the Year: Relinquish

It starts somewhere around December 30th. The swelling and buzz of excitement and anticipation. I toss and turn planning and plotting. The visions that dance in my head are intoxicating. Every January magazine feeds the frenzy. Every big box store and sale flyer taunting me and urging me on with their large empty containers standing erect at the end of each aisle.  It's time once again .............. to organize.

A new year, a fresh start, a clean slate, what will it bring, how will I prepare. But first, I must clean and containerize and sort and pitch and plan and dust and clean and tape and sew, and, and, and, ...  then go back to work.

It starts like most addictions, fun and festive, then quickly degenerates into something I no longer recognize as anything I would actively seek. I work harder, trying to regain the thrill. It's like a void I  just can't fill.

The inbox was empty and now it's filling faster than the ballroom on the titanic,dinging and haunting me with new information by the truckload. The island of  "no lid" Tupperware cleaned from the pantry now fills the counter space, looking for a home. The Christmas decorations have been sexing it up again this year, forever procreating, never fitting back in the box from whence they came. And faster and faster, I spin and dust and stuff and clean searching for that high, that thrill, the calm this was supposed to bring. The calm of organization. I read somewhere it would bring me inner peace.

Finally, the alarm bell rings ending this round. The big yellow school bus shuffles the minions back to their learning cell and I stand ready to take on the next challenge.  Back to work. Ready to sort and clean and containerize my career.

My addiction rages and pulsates like a Katy Perry breakout. I step over the pile of lidless plastic and move in on the database files. Next I'll go in for more email and finally end with a sweet goal statement for the year that will surely change my financial landscape and bring me peace and tranquility.  Yea, that's it, peace and tranquility.

But first, I'll give more, volunteer more, be more patient, be more kind, and return those Christmas gifts, and then categorize the receipts and maybe pick up a new container for the flour, one with a lid.

Id be lying if I didn't admit, every single one of those thoughts crossed my mind in some level of detail and seriousness over a two week period. Some ideas got set on shuffle like a tiny playlist etching into my brain creating a crevice so big I had to step over it to get in the shower each morning.

So, like all good addictions, there must come a breaking point. A behind the scenes moment of wrecked cars, broken glass, and mothers crying about their beautiful baby that once was. January 12th was my breaking point. Then I wallowed in self pity.I lay on the couch with my blankie. I was hoping if I was Ozzy, somewhere there would be Sharon to brush back my hair and tell me I'd be okay and that she loved me even though I was slobbering and pathetic. I took a Tylenol PM and put myself in timeout before I could do anymore damage.

I awoke determined to change. But to what. From what.  I no longer recognized the pieces of me that were left. Like pieces of lidless plastic, nothing seemed to fit. 

I was spending a lot of time trying to corral clutter that really didn't matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. If this neatness was supposed to bring me inner peace, why was I feeling homicidal? 

Finally that night I lay between my two kids reading a book.We read a scene about a man lying on a dock under the vast blanked of stars. I pictured that image so vividly, I could taste the night air and feel the hard dock under my head. This moment was truly intoxicating. This felt more like inner peace than my now clean pantry and empty inbox.

Then with the sound of grinding gears my paradigm shifted. 

If I truly want to live the best year of my life, this should be the year of release, not control.  Control is giving me absolutely no inner peace, in fact, my innards have no peace but are, however, in pieces.
Let me instead release control to our Maker of Miracles. Let me release control of the fear and the fetishes. Maybe I should clear my cookies of and start my own space called My landing page will be a picture of me laying on the dock under a blanket of stars.  That sounds way more like inner peace doesn't it?


to renounce or surrender (a possession, right, etc.): to relinquish the throne.
to give up; put aside or desist from: to relinquish a plan.
to let go; release: to relinquish one's hold.