Where have you been? There’s no getting rid of the clutter.
In this life now I am surrounded by old papers, magazines, short blunt pencils, piles of wrinkle-spined novels, a dusty-lidded and long-closed piano, and plastic containers for used up medicines.
They’re forging a new beginning for me, and I have to be ready for it. I need to make myself receptive, capable of listening, and this means less noise.
Get rid of old clutter! And throwing away what you don’t need you find out what’s left of you, the heart of your simple being.
In simple being you can be open and truthful – perhaps speaking out some difficult truths – and bring yourself forward into your new life.
Every piece of paper, old box of junk, speck of dust – I wonder if this is where I have my being. And I hang onto it just in case. I’m afraid to leave it. Leaving this fragment behind could mean death.
But living in fear is hardly living at all. So don’t fear life or death. Get rid of the clutter.
I’m confused now about my position. I’ve always preferred to have things defined clearly. Each scrap I uncover has different information written on it, sometimes a whole story about me, but I seem to be reading each story for the first time. And each story is set in an impossible time and place, in times before my body existed, or thousands of years after my predicted lifespan will be over. How long can a spirit live for? I can’t assemble a clear message out of this mess. So keep getting rid of the clutter, and risk everything, and see what’s next.
To consult the oracle I shook 3 five pence pieces like dice, rattling them in my hands each time before dropping them onto the mat. It was a firm, solid motion, and a very masculine result. The oracle told me it’s about pressing on and breaking through.
My sense of who I am and what I am to do is becoming clearly defined, and I’ll find a place to complete this transformation in China. In my anticipation of going to China. I’m forging a state of mind, a “China” like Henry Miller’s. A vessel for travel.
I need to clear out the old stuff that’s blocking me. Some of the things I have to do are difficult. The physical tidying up and throwing away of old things: I hate doing this. It means cutting old ties. In China there will be no ties. There will be only gravity: I see the fluid and majestic movement of bodies around and past each other, crowded streets where each person travels at their own predetermined speed. And I among them, moving around and through the slow flow, tickled and jolted by the unfamiliar rhythms in the speech sounds that surround me and pass through me like music.
Hear that! The new harmony you’ll find in China. What is to come will be stable and lasting. I’m approaching 40, and Confucius says it’s time to be free of doubt.
I’m carrying forward something of value. Some cargo. My learning, perhaps, what little there is of it. I’ll be able to use what I have and succeed in teaching or writing. I wonder which it will be. Or both?
Be truthful and confident and speak out about the direction you’re heading in. Focus on where you’re going, instead of reacting against the past. I’m a writer now. I’m a teacher. Work out in what sense you’re both of these things: do you have a job, and can you do it?
China is a breakthrough: asserting myself, and breaking through indecision.