Breakthrough-Clearing Out The Clutter of Life

I’m sitting on a plane, 33,000 feet up somewhere between California and Texas, when it begins.  My travel partner, Amy, sinks into the seat beside me with a contented mix of exhaustion and resignation and falls into a deep sleep.  As I quickly push through the last few days’ worth of newspapers tucked in my carry on, the inability to access my electronic mail, blog, or Facebook provides me with profound possibilities.  Resigning the fate of my students in the hands of a substitute teacher, knowing my own children have undoubtedly found their way to school, and that my husband has not yet felt my absence, it comes to me.

I’m having a breakthrough.

It has a lot to do with the October 2011 edition of  “O” magazine I’ve opened up.  Yes, a year behind in my reading – it’s not all that surprising.  In the last 12 months, I’ve become a different person.  I’ve jumped into a new woman, tried on some new styles, and discarded some clutter that was junking me up along the way.

I’m having a breakthrough.

I’m learning to say ‘no’ and mean it.  Something about being me right now makes me feel more confident that I can not only look at my calendar and avoid double-booking myself, but also look inside and avoid being unfaithful.  I’m learning to say ‘yes’ to me, to honor myself, and hold my family time gently in my palms.  I’m treasuring the very minute particles that I hold dear in my self, my world, and blocking out what sullies them.  I’m learning to answer from my heart, not my head.
I’m listening to my body.  I’ve come to grips with the idea of my athleticism, or lack of it.  I like to move my body to my own beat, which rarely matches with others.  I’m hearing it say slow down, speed up, feed me.  I’m allowing it to take me places I never dreamed of, sometimes to the breaking point, then stepping back and retreating.  I’m listening to my agreements and disagreements and holding firm.
I’m working from my gut.  Trying to balance fear and fascination, I occupy myself with pursuits of passion.  I embrace my curiosity, not stifle it.  I devour knowledge and employ my brain every second to accompany me as I break bad habits and build better ones.  I endure the hard questions, the strong words, and weak dialogue that moves me forward and takes me closer to breaking through.  I’m looking where I want to go, and building the path to get there.
The roar of the engines blocks out all conversation.  Out the window I glimpse a chasm, maybe the Grand Canyon?  Perhaps it’s just another deep crack in the surface, one lonely road winding its way down to the bottom.  Amy sleeps, soundly, and I shift the papers and discarded magazine to the seat pocket in front of me.  I’m clearing the clutter.  I’m leaving behind what I do not need.  I’m streamlining, heading towards my destination.  I may be a year behind, maybe a decade.  The itinerary keeps changing, and so do I.  I still don’t sleep enough, and depend far too heavily on caffeine.
But I’m having a break through.
I’m 33,000 miles up, seat belt fastened for turbulence, looking down on my life. I can’t see exactly where I’m going, I’m not sure we’ll make our next connection.  But strangely enough, it all feels pretty good.
Where are you when you feel a change happening?  How does change feel to you?

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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  1. Exciting and affirmative Jennifer! I’ve been noticing these times in myself, with a very similar theme: focussing, shedding clutter (concrete but mostly pyschological), letting priorities surface and take their rightful place–per my choices. Saying no (and yes when it’s right.)
    And I’ve also seen this clearly when I’m traveling, or during a short break from lots of activity. Traveling does lend itself–so much happening at once and then prolonged times remaining stationary, needing to process. Maybe all the “extra information” forces me to narrow things down.
    Great to read what’s on your mind, thank you for the blog! May we all work from the gut when we can.
    Take Care,

    1. Thanks, Rita…it’s great to hear from you! I know you’ve had these moments, and have had the courage to do what feels right to you – even when the future is uncertain. Miss you!

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