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Column: Kindness is the key to clearing clutter in your head

By Jenny Adams

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IT is not always clear what to write about in these columns.

Taking time to be kind to yourself can help unclutter a busy life.
Taking time to be kind to yourself can help unclutter a busy life.

For example, writing around 5 April, do I discuss the end of the tax year? Not only is it far from my area of expertise, it’s probably not people’s favourite topic.

We’ve just celebrated Easter, Ramadan ends with Eid al-Fitr next week, and the Passover begins on 23rd. I wish everyone well for these festivals. However, it seems self-indulgent to focus on Easter, I can’t speak with authority about Islam or Judaism, and most readers won’t have particular religious convictions.

I could draw on what’s going on in the world and local communities, as I frequently do, trying to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” (as some describe my job). Yet so much is beyond words.

Then there’s spring, which is trying hard to arrive. Is it too generic and safe to consider birds and buds, sunshine and showers, light and life?

What do any of us gain from this glimpse of my thought processes? Well, mental clutter is not unique to me (and this is just a small selection), so maybe it makes you feel a bit better. It also connects to the seasonal tradition of spring cleaning, and some recent TV watching.

I’m a big fan of the BBC’s “Sort Your Life Out.” Its title is enticing - which of us doesn’t hope for that? Stacey Solomon and her team practically and compassionately help people deal with accumulated stuff that’s overwhelming them.

Certain criteria are applied to possessions: do you need it, do you love it? Or, as Marie Kondo puts it, does it spark joy? Complex emotions arise, recognising we can hold onto things for security and connection.

I think similar questions can apply to what’s in our heads.

Are there ideas or expectations about ourselves that we hold onto long after they’re helpful?

What do we believe about others, the world or a higher power without having examined what feels real, helpful or loving?

Can we be kind to ourselves through grief, struggle and worry, recognising that we’re complicated, wounded human beings?

These questions from the clutter connect to my other recent viewing, “Pilgrimage.”

This series, a group of celebrities walk together through North Wales. (A previous “Road to the Scottish Isles” included Pluscarden Abbey and Forres.)

The walkers come with a wide range of faith stances, which they explore together as they put one foot in front of the other, building community and trust. Walking, they find space and time to examine what they are carrying in their hearts and minds, including grief, loss and neurodiversity.

Most of us don’t get weeks to walk in the wilds, or a week with Stacey to sort our lives. But I hope we might all find occasional spaces to explore some of what feels like clutter in our minds, hearts and homes.

Even better, we might also offer someone else a safe space, a wee walk, a cup of tea, a listening ear, so that together we can find what really matters and what we really love. And that feels like new life, light and love for spring.

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