As the only screen I took with me to the monastery was my Kindle, I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to read a little deeper into Ms. Bowlin's steps to clarity.
No clutter here. The book runs a mere 138 pages but packs in a lot of information. This is not a how-to-clean-your-closets book. You won't find directions for ditching your desk debris or a blueprint for banishing your baking tins.
Ms. Bowlin believes that our environmental clutter is a result of our cluttered minds and that is the mess she intends to clean up.
In Part One, The Truth About Clutter, she looks at our "overcrowded, overloaded and overwhelmed minds." Too much noise along with too many ToDo lists, phone calls, errands, emails, texts, and endless news alerts. We are constantly frazzled and dazzled.
It's no wonder our closets are stuffed, our kitchen cabinets are clogged, and we can't find our car keys.
I admit I sort of rushed through Part One as I know what the problem is. I wanted to get on to the solution.
In Part Two, Clearing Clutter, she offers that solution. Ah. Take a deep breath. Feel your mind relaxing and your thoughts clearing...just a bit. Clarity, as she defines it, is "freedom from anxiety and overwhelm. It is freedom from overthinking, overload and overcompensation. A clear mind is a peaceful mind."
Her 10 Steps to Clarity, which she developed from her own experiences in clearing her cluttered life, I found to be practical and easy to follow. She suggests concentrating on each step for one week. Each step builds off the one before. There is no rush.
In each chapter she gives a short explanation of the step, how it clears mental clutter, what it feels like, and a tool or tools for implementing the step. Finally she offers up an experiment - three or four suggestions to try out for yourself and make note of the outcomes.
Since her Step One is Slow, Step Two is Still, and Step Three is Silence, being on retreat allowed me to really immerse myself in all of those. I could feel my mind slowing down and could actually grab hold of a thought or two as they went swirling by. I had nowhere to be and purposely slowed my walking pace and didn't hurry through my meals. There were plenty of opportunities and quiet places to be still and silent at the monastery and I took advantage of them.
But guess what. Now I am back into the Race and Rush of Life. I am no longer on the monastery's time of slow, still, and silence. I have not read Step Four which is Space. I have not read ahead to the rest of the steps: See, Shift, Simplify, Savor, Sort, and Sleep. (OK, maybe I am already practicing that last one!)
I think it would be helpful for me to go ahead and read through the rest of the steps. To get an idea of the big picture. Then I can start over and implement her suggestions. I really do want to know what she has to say, so I won't give up.
If you are looking for a little peace and serenity - and who isn't - this well-written book offers some workable suggestions on how to bring some clarity into your life.