AS seen in the Dayton Daily News on November 2, 2019.
As I was working in my home office the other day, my attention went to my dog, Heidi, who was sleeping next to me. I could tell she was dreaming because her paws quivered in sporadic motion, and her small squeaking sounds filled the quiet.
I normally wake her in case she is having a bad dream, but this time I noticed her mouth curled up into a funny little smile. This made me smile, so I chose not to wake her.
Before resuming my work I wondered, “Why do I always assume she is having bad dreams?” She probably dreams of pleasant things. After all, when she’s awake, she’s always happy and living in the present moment. When I’m home, she focuses on me and watches my every move. Am I getting ready to feed her, getting a dog treat out of our pantry or putting my shoes on to take her for a walk?
She lives in the present and doesn’t worry about the past or her future. She has long forgotten the past, like the car rides to the veterinarian for her yearly shots. When I open the car door, she always bounds in happily and thinks only of good adventures ahead. She isn’t focused on the future. She doesn’t worry about when I might give her a dreaded bath, or go on vacation and leave her behind.
Imagine how differently things would be if you focused on the present the next time you organize a room in your home or even your office at work.
You would stop holding on to everything from your past that you never display, use or enjoy. You often hold on to these relics because you assume they are your memories. Actually, they are mementoes. Your memories of what they represent are within you. As you sort through your stuff, think about how it relates to your present. Is your stuff helping you enjoy life? Or does it take up space, rob you of your time or cause conflicts with your loved ones?
Your past is important, but these items do not bring those joyous times back. They may be robbing you of the ideal life you could be having right now, in the present.
Stop worrying so much about the future as you sort through your belongings. If you find yourself keeping something because ‘I might need it someday,’ balance that thought with ‘I might NOT need it someday and will have to deal with it for the next 30 years.’
As you organize, get comfortable with the idea that you are going to part with a few things you should have kept. If your goal is to live more clutter-free, this doesn’t justify keeping hundreds of things you will never use. The freedom of letting go of everything you don’t need will outweigh any pang of regret you might feel towards the few items you wish you would have kept.
Keeping things from your past, and for the unknown future, may very well be keeping you from enjoying your present. As you organize each space, think about what makes you happy, helps you enjoy the present and frees up time to spend with loved ones.
Once you get rid of these burdens from your past and those for an unpredictable future, happy dreams are sure to come.