Practice what you Preach
Originally published on 1-14-13
So the other day, my best girlfriend who is conveniently also related to me (she can never get too far away) was in Austin and we were itching for something exciting and different to do. As we drove around the city we thought about bowling, ice skating, tattoos, and finally we saw it, a simple homemade ply board sign in red and white paint. It read, PSYCHIC. We were in.
Melissa and I gave each other pep talks in the car before knocking on her door. “We’re not going to give her an indication that she’s on to us or headed in the right direction!” Hands in, one, two, three…break!
We knocked on the door and this is what I expected to see cauldrons and spider webs.
My expectations couldn’t have been more off. There was no mist or dark draped room in site. There was only Miss Peggy sitting behind a birch wood desk. She donned a pink and white house dress draped over house-pants with off-white slippers. She looked mainstream, none of the bells and whistles I expected. Quickly, Miss Peggy sat us down and asked, “who’s first?”
She offered me a menu of items and I chose a tarot card reading.
I shuffled the tarot cards, gave them some of my juju (so I’m told), picked 10 and then we really started to roll. The gist of the more memorable cards was: you are stronger than you think you are, your life is based in prayer and faith and, you have battled many battles and you will battle more. From the cards she also deduced that I am my own worst enemy and that I am a great preacher but I don’t always practice what I preach. I thought, “What? You cray!”
Somewhere along the way, I told her I was in a great place in my life and she answered with, “no you’re not, but you’re close.” I barked back, “Yes…yes I am.” She said, “Nope, you’re stuck and holding onto the past. You’ll never be able to enjoy the present moment to its fullest if you’re stuck in bitterness, or anger or nostalgia, or the possibility of what if.” She continued by telling me that there was clutter around me that was reminding me of the past. I told her that there absolutely wasn’t. I told her that I constantly give away clothes and gifts and shoes and trinkets. I thought, I do data dumps all the time, didn’t you read my Anna blog about purging? I guess she didn’t. I felt myself getting defensive so we moved on. “Am I going to have kids soon,” I asked?
After Miss Peggy had given us our $90 worth, Melissa and I walked out, sat in the car and picked apart our readings. Did Miss Peggy have us pegged or was it a bunch of hullabaloo?
The next time I walked into my apartment I decided to take Peggy’s Pepsi challenge. After all, I had nothing to lose and seemingly peace to gain. As I walked through my apartment I looked at each material object through a critical lens. I looked at each object and thought, “does this make you feel better or worse about yourself, does this remind you of past turmoil, when you look at this do you hurt, does this remind of you something you wish you hadn’t done, does this remind you of love, does this evoke joy, does this make you hopeful, are you appreciative you see this every day?”
I started at my nightstand and made my way to the closet then to the shoe rack, bathroom, hallway, book shelf and I even looked at each piece of wall art. Nothing was safe. I analyzed things big and small. Over the next few days I proceeded to bag up: purses, jewelry, wall art, clothes, curios, frames, shoes, did I mention purses? I gave everything away, every last bit. Poof! Gone. I felt like a blank canvas.
Miss Peggy was spot on; I did have clutter all around me that reminded me of the proverbial Christmas past. It was tricky you see, because none of these reminders were obvious (getting rid of the obvious is easy) they were all subtle and burrowed into my subconscious.
I have come to terms with myself on a lot of my faults and this time was no different. While I was packing up I realized that I had only kept these possessions because they were nice, because I was being materialistic. And folks, we all need to know life is okay without a Gucci purse.
The truth is, today, my closet isn’t as pizzazzy, my book shelves aren’t as sweetly decorated and I need a new piece of art for my guest bathroom, but now my space is emptied of triggers. Nothing my space says, “remember this mistake?” Everything in my space says, “You’re lucky to be here! Smile.”
So Miss Peggy, you were right. I cleaned up my clutter so that I can fully enjoy all the beautiful blessings in my life today. And now…I’m a little closer to practicing what I preach.