July 10, 2004

Devising personal methodologies.

At Borders, John was checking out "Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience," and I picked up "Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui." John had picked up his book first and asked me what I thought. I said I thought it would be better to devise your own plan for law school, based on what makes sense to you and accords with methods you've used successfully in the past. The law school book is designed to help a broad range of people with lots of different styles and abilities and intentions, and maybe you could scan it quickly and get some ideas, but you're better off creating your own methods.

I then set out to browse and picked up the clutter book, even though I detest bogus spirituality books, because ... well, why? Because Borders had it out on a display shelf? Because clutter in the house really does feel like a spiritual problem? Because I need inspiration to unclutter my house even if it is bogus? So I scanned the book, reconvincing myself that clutter must in fact be removed, but ultimately realizing that what I'd just told John about the law school book was true about the Feng Shui clutter book: I need to devise my own methodology. But I was pretty absorbed in the book for a while. When did I become unabsorbed? Oh, round about when the author moved on past uncluttering your house and your office to uncluttering your colon. I did check out the list of 21 steps for uncluttering. Why so many steps? [Speaking of clutter ... ] There were steps like "Attune yourself to the place. Announce your presence and radiate your intentions." There were a lot of rules too, like: don't play any music.

But steps and rules can be helpful, even if they are essentially made-up nonsense. They can create a sense of purpose and dedication. I invented a ritual for reading and studying in law school, then I believed in following my ritual, and that belief helped me. Now, with my cluttered house, I need to devise my own methodology. My idea is to locate the core of disorder--those shelves!--and tranform it into the origin of a new, austere, streamlined tranquility, then enlarge that core of orderliness by small degrees, moving out to the next locus of disorder.

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