What does ‘schmutter’ actually mean? It’s a strange word if ever there was one.
Schmutter refers to worthless material, an informal Yiddish- Jewish slang word originating from the 1950’s era for the term ‘rag’ in reference to clothing garments. In the English language, more technically, ‘smutter’ is an operator of machinery for cleaning smut and other impurities from grain. In botany and chemistry, the term ‘smutter’ is associated with mildew, fungi spores and other dirty, unwanted substances such as soot! In the more artistic field of creativity, ‘smut’ is taken to be of no literary or artistic value, other than to stimulate sexual desire, aligned with erotica and pornography. So we can see that universally, ‘smutty, smut, schmutter’ is unwanted refuse, debris and muck.
So what do we do with all our unwanted, untidy jumble of junk?
If you are anything like me, I stuff it in drawers and cupboards, or bung it up in the loft, out of sight and out of mind or so I think, and always with the honest intention to ‘sort it all out later, when I have a minute’, but ‘later’ rarely comes, as let’s face it: there are always much more exciting things to do beckoning for our precious attention, than to sort through salvable garbage! The piles keep amassing, growing daily, until the inevitable landslide reminder that actually it really IS now time to sort through the big heap of chaos falling off from the shelf or pouring out of the cupboard in full tsunami flow as its opened!
So why don’t I do anything preventative to avoid such said landslides of ‘stuff’ and stop unwanted resulting feelings of overwhelm?
Because “I haven’t got the time” has to be my most favourite and most widely used excuse. But really, it is because I am rather choosing ‘not to’ prioritise my time for such a task, because there are often much more pressing and important things to do than sort through and take out my rubbish! As I reflect upon and write this now, I could sensibly re-phrase that to be more realistically a case of ‘I would rather drown in dross now, to later run away and pretend it’s not there, or will somehow disappear and go away of its own accord, as if by magic!’ (a.k.a. spiritual bypassing and or un-mindfulness a-ha!)
Just like the famous ‘tidy up’ tardis bag scene and song ‘well begun is half done’, I need a master magical Mary Poppins to pop out of my closet! You know…. the flawless Julie Andrews; the original actress playing Miss Pop-in who measures up on her alternative measuring tape measure as ‘–Practically Perfect in Every way’! She is the tidy-up and sort through house orderly that I need! She reminds me in her lyrics that….
“in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun, you find the fun and snap, the job’s a game, and every task you undertake, becomes a piece of cake, a lark, a spree, it’s very clear to see…. The robin feathering his nest, has very little time to rest, whilst gathering his bits of twine and twig, though quite intent of his pursuit, he has a merry tune to toot, as he knows a song, will move the job along, ……The honey bees that fetch the nectar from the flowers to the comb, never tire of ever buzzing to and fro because they take a little nip, from every flower that they sip, and hence they find their task is not a grind!”
So, alas…. I am missing the fun aspects of the decluttering chore, a chore as a term I will use no more, for fun, fun, fun is what we need to swallow the spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down in the most delightful way! The singing of songs, even writing and creating new songs I can do! The message from this classic film and song, as far as I can gather, is a mindfulness Buddhist teaching that meditation is a constant higher mind-state applied to every waking minute and activity, so much so that nothing is a chore, as we can find peace and pleasure in washing the dishes, because we are fully present in that moment. Indeed, the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh once famously said “it is not so important whether you walk on water or walk in space. The true miracle is to walk on earth”. In other words, becoming a grounded and fully present human being is probably the greatest miracle we can perform.
In fact, I would even go so far as to say that ‘decluttering and sorting through one’s schmutter and junk’ is actually THE MOST spiritual practice one can do! A few years ago I had this enlightening realisation when I felt and answered the call and joined a de-cluttering circle as a regular meet-up group that positively impacted upon my physical, mental and spiritual cleansing practices. So inspired I felt by being a part of this community circle of women all trying to simplify our lives in this overloaded world that can be overwhelming if we allow it to encroach into our personal space. Together we shared our funny horror stories around acquiring, storing and hoarding clutter, and supported each other with practical tips and skills for releasing that which we no longer need; that no longer serves us. I was inspired to the extent that I wrote a poem about it, that I will share with you here, because poetry I always find is direct communication from the soul, using as few words to convey a most powerful message, that may or may not resonate for you? I would appreciate to hear your feedback either way in the comments section, or send me a personal message in an empty uncluttered email bottle!
Life Laundry ….
If you think chaos in only seen on the outside
and has nowhere on the inside in which to hide
then you should think again, my friend,
come by my home, to look inside my drawer after drawer
you will be surprised at what you find forevermore,
as stuff just gets stuffed in, piled on top
I have enough stuff to open me own bloomin’ shop!
things that I haven’t got around to yet unwrap
and junk from lifetimes since bygone past,
they’re now just old pieces of crap
that I haven’t sifted and sorted out into any order
because I am realising that I am a sentimental hoarder!
All this hidden gear, is keeping my energy blocked in fear
and muddy waters of how best to proceed
when I haven’t even prioritised my rubbish to bleed,
I am only exacerbating the problem
of low vibrational house feed
and as if that’s not bad enough
it extends to the technological digital, as well as physical stuff
So you can clearly begin to see why
I have my ever growing, ever mounting dirty life laundry pile
that makes me constantly sigh and cry
as much as keeping on top of it I try
“oh what can I do with it all?”
when I don’t even know where to start?!
Well, my friend, I can tell you from the heart
that to share your life laundry concern
and ways of how to tackle your rubbish burn
is the way to a clearer home, heart and mind
and that support in a decluttering circle you will find
Note that what I did in creating this poem, is known as an analytic meditation, which is to contemplate the meaning of a particular teaching Buddha gave and then applying it to my own life, helping to steer my energy more positively and more mindfully wisely because quite simply, I do not want to pollute my world or that of my son whom I share my home and life with. I am, will be and teach him to be as green and as kind to the environment as we can. I have a brilliant recycling song that features in my ‘Kids Book of Wisdoms…On All Kinds of Stuff!’ that is sung along to the theme tune of the wheels on the bus go round and round. So owl-some that the kids love it! I will share with you here, as a modern day alternative to Mary Poppins’ (1964) ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ song, as we all now know how harmful sugar is to our health, it being one of the biggest killers and causers of obesity and diabetes, and it is now deemed as being far from sweet as an ingredient. This poem-song may help to get you started recycling in the kitchen area at least!
Bus, Bicycle, Recycle
Hey!! Do you care about the home in which you live?
If your home was dying…your attention, would you give?
helping to teach and tell others to sort and sift
the materials that can be re-made into others, as a gift
to the home in which we live, that is our Mother planet Earth,
because to look after her, is what we too, are so worth.
We have the power to transform tin cans and plastic
into something really rather fantastic
Metal cans can be recycled to make more and more cans again and again
en mass they can even be re-made into parts of an aeroplane!
does that sound insane?!
it’s not as crazy, as to be so lazy, in not looking after our planet
otherwise we just eat, eat up all of our resources like a gobbling greedy ganet!
Do you like the clean air that you breathe?
If your local nature park was a rubbish tip, would you seethe?
You see to put all of your waste in the bin,
is a very good way to clean up begin
but to put the right things in the right bin, is to really win,
that will help to make our world a better place to live in.
Reduce, re-use and re-cycle in the correct recycle bin
and we can save our planet: Mother Earth, if we all pitch in!
Reduce and recycle like the never ending wheel turns of your bicycle
keep materials moving round and round is to magically recycle
because this is good for you and for me
and for all the plants, flowers, trees and animals you see
we all like a happy home of course, in which to live and let be
so would you like to sing along with me? ....
To the tune of ‘the wheels on the bus go round and round’
We can sing the recycling song with actions and such wonderful sounds…
It now being autumn is a great time to declutter, clear and cleanse every aspect of your life, both the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual, just as the trees teach us, that there is no reason to hold on to old matter, but to let it go, and be recycled back into new forms in new coming seasons. We have not long celebrated the day of the dead, and it occurred to me that graveyards are clogging up the earth quite literally, not with the decomposed matter in the ground underneath as this is organic and not a problem, but rather with the stone epitaphs above the surface, territorially marking out family’s final places of rest. Surely better, to scatter loved ones’ ashes somewhere freely in nature, so to not be a burden on the land and for generations behind still yet to come? I need to get organised and write this into my will, as I don’t want to burden my son with where to store my remains, but rather scatter me to my air element so that I may blow and roam freely with the great winds, wherever they may take me.
But until then, I have drawers to un-muddy-fuddle and recycling to tend to, whistling whilst I work like that chirpy, merry robin bird and humming like the busy bees, turning my clutter to nectar in the form of clear space. Embodying wise wisdoms is a life-long work of art in progress after all. So without more ado, “Spit-Spot”…. and with a click of my fingers, let my fun, magic tidy-up play begin!
Ask yourself, in an inspired way, what pile of paperwork can you positively attack? What items of your ‘stuff’, could you donate to someone more appreciative of it who will make better use of it than it sitting in a cupboard or drawer? What things can be chucked into your recycling bin? Or clothing and footwear into the Oxfam clothes dome next time you go to town? Whom from your social circle is negatively frequently complaining and gossiping and could receive the karate-chop drop? Or be given a wider birth? Decluttering, I have discovered is as positively infectious as creativity, and can in fact be approached as a fun creative activity in an inspired way. So what of your schmutter can you shift today?!
Please go to my website www.zoeowl.com to check out all the services I offer, including details of my new and latest co-authored book with seven wonderful women aptly titled ‘Mama On A Mission: Giving Yourself Permission To Shine as a Woman, Mother and a Creative Spirit’.
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