Wednesday, 5 May 2021

730 things — Day 55 of 365

Bandwidth is something I've had to learn to take into account, especially as I, and all my family with me, grow older and the patterns of our life establish. Living in a shared house where there's almost always someone other than me at home and most purchases arrive by delivery (yes, BANG BANG BANG, DING-DONG, DING-DONG), is a guarantee of unexpected interruption, and broken concentration is a challenge to quality thinking.

Looking back now, it astonishes me to recollect how many things at the same time I once expected to be able to accomplish. There was a patch when I was raising five small children, pastoring a church, working in hospice chaplaincy and prison ministry, writing books and interacting with a significant network of friends and fellow-pilgrims. Nowadays I think I've done something special if I put a load of laundry in the machine or sweep the floor.

Buzzfloyd observes that as a result of certain deep traumas coming in waves from different places, I ended up with autistic burnout which has crashed my ability to multi-task and resulted in most social stimuli being overwhelming — and she's quite right. I still function happily, but more in the inner world than the outer. I'm a bit of an Emily Dickinson nowadays.

So in anything I aspire to do, I have to consider bandwidth — my ageing and somewhat battered operating system is easily overwhelmed and crashes if too much is asked of it.

I have found that I can maximise the available space for thinking, writing, praying — all the things that matter to me — by minimising the number of physical objects in my environment. What I see is what I think about. The less I have to look at, the more untethered my mind becomes. I also maximise bandwidth by reducing social interaction (in times of a pandemic when physical meets are almost at zero, that means minimising the time spent on social media), and by keeping to an absolutely anorexic minimum my commitments. I find I can maintain good quality (I hope) output at our fresh expression of church (The Campfire Church) on Facebook if that's the only thing I need to put my mind to, on the week I have responsibility for the meeting.

And I am impressed — even startled at times — by the amount of clarity and depth of thought I can get back just by taking down to an absolute minimum those three areas — objects in my environment, social interaction, commitments.

Consequently I have pruned out of my collection of belongings many things that were perfectly okay and I liked them and there was nothing wrong with them — just in order to take the numbers right down.

So these two jackets, that I liked very much, left my life.

They fulfilled all my HSP criteria — stretchy and really soft, not at all constricting, quite loose, had pockets (yay!), quiet and peaceful colours, nice and warm. 

But I just had too many things, and I'm surprised to find I don't miss them. 

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