I’m sitting at my desk while a carpenter hammers up rows of shelves and builds drawers between perfectly spaced bars that have been measured out in my closet.  Every time the hammer comes down my writing concentration is broken and after awhile I give up and move off to another room.  Falling onto the couch next to a pile of unread books, I lift my small dog up next to me and indulge myself in all of the random thoughts that come floating through my head.  In spite of the interruption, the thought of my new closet is adding a warm feeling to a rather cold, January day.  I think about how January is really a lot like spring.  It too, is a time for making a fresh start.  In a few short hours, I’ll be able to sort through the disarray of clothes and shoes stacked up on the bed and organize my life.  Everything will have its place:  blouses hanging above jackets next to pants, socks in drawers, sweaters on shelves, even a corner for dresses.  As exciting as all of this is, what makes me feel the best is the idea of dropping off the piles of gently worn clothes at a local charitable shop where people can go and pick out what they need for free.  It warms my heart to know that someone will make use of that sweater I haven’t worn in three seasons or those low-waist jeans (what was I thinking?) that still have the tags on them.  As much as there is a good feeling about clearing out the clutter of my life, there is also pleasure in knowing that another person’s world might become a little brighter because I took the time to recycle what I no longer have a need for.

     I’m certainly not an entire industry trying to protect the environment, but lowering my personal imprint on the planet makes a big difference in how I feel about myself.  It helps me to live consciously, to be aware of what my presence on earth means not just for me but for others too.  Caring for the world is also a reflection of how I feel about my life in general and is a small way to say thank-you to the universe for the time that I am here.  It’s not a big outside job, but it sure is a big inside job.  I believe that small things make a difference and this is one way I can contribute my share.  Every time I recycle clothes, the newspaper, rinse a bottle or can, or carry my own reusable bags into the grocery store, I’m more tuned in to life on the planet.  Awareness of how the choices I make can affect the lives of others raises my gratitude quotient too.  I find I take fewer things for granted, understanding that I already have everything in my life to make me happy, I just need to appreciate it.

     Paring down, clearing out the clutter allows all of us to see what’s important, necessary and what it is we love most.  Recycling makes us aware of the larger world, a world that would be a whole lot better off if every person, in whatever world they live in did their part every day.  Maybe we’d all want a little less, care a little more.  It’s a choice that every person can make.

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