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Monday, October 3, 2016

The Spiritual Practice of...


Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
A. A. Milne

I've written before about the ebay business I have with my sons. We have about 3000 listings in an anchor store. Most of the shipping is done by me, from my basement, which means that I have to be organized. I sort boxes by size and have packing in bins and the listed items all in one room. If I did not organize it would take ten times as long to get the shipping done everyday.

When my mother made soup, she chopped all the vegetables by hand—each had to be exactly the same size as the one before it. It took her all morning, but she made really tasty soup. When she set out to make a quilt, she cut every single piece first and stacked them by shape. When my father made potato soup—his one claim to fame in the kitchen—he somehow managed to involve every pot and pan in the pantry so that when he finished, the kitchen looked like the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. He made good soup too, but oh, my lord, what an incredible mess. Two very different approaches, same outcome...sort of.

Being able to organize is a necessary skill in almost every discipline except possibly visual art. And even then, one must care for one's brushes and paints. People tell me, “I don't cook because it makes such a mess, and I hate cleaning up.” That's an organizational problem. Most folks think that they are either organized, or they aren't, but truly, it's a learned skill. If you want to be productive, organizing ahead of time cuts down on the stress and mess in the aftermath. I want to say there's an app for that, but I think it's a matter of actual human learning. It requires willingness to put time and thought into a rational approach to whatever it is you want to accomplish.

Organizing is a good spiritual practice—it causes you to slow down, think it through, maybe even make a list of what you will need. In this world of helter-skelter go..go...go, taking time to actually sit with something and make a plan is almost a form of meditation and prayer.

                                                               In the Spirit,


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