Empty roomClean living means a lot more than just the way we eat. And, the occasional clean slate may be a very necessary thing.

Last month a gallery that took a LOT of my work for a solo show. They took so many pieces it cleared out both my home studio and my downtown studio, and left the walls bare. I was grateful for the opportunity, and very grateful I make it a habit to work in a series. Because of this habit, there was a  great deal of cohesive work that could be offered to the gallery and I was pleased with the way it was curated.

On a slightly different note, in April I took an Intensive Art Study Seminar  in Taos, New Mexico for 9 days. The instructors worked with us to “find and refine our unique artistic voice.” This endeavor requires some soul searching, serious thought and an ample dose of courage. It was a priceless gift to be given this “permission” by the teachers, who were very successful in their own artistic endeavors. Between the workshop and the bare walls, something interesting happened.

This “clearing” the rooms made room for new ideas, new work and a fresh perspective. As I began to work in the absence of “pre-Taos” pieces staring me down, I found a freeness, a daring, a joy in pushing the boundaries that had previously existed. Due to the empty space, the dynamic of my work changed. I found new energy and the daring to try some new things. 

Empty space creates room for new possibilities. (click to tweet).

I’ve long been an advocate of clearing clutter. I’ve written about the various types of clutter, physical, mental, emotion. We’ve had discussions here about “baggage” and what we drag along with us – often entire metaphorical “rooms” of things we will never use again. Hoarders get buried in their own debris, whether the clutter is emotional, physical or something entirely different (click to Tweet). I KNOW that is true, but had never seriously considered the affect my old art would have on moving forward with creating new art.

Have any of you ever experienced this? I’m feeling there should be dedicated storage Life is full of possibilities on Typewriterareas for our older work, so as we shift gears, we’re not influenced too much by the old. I’m sure it’s true for a lot of things – we could organize our neuroses, too! How about:

  • Dedicated storage for our work worries as we approach our homes after a stressful day – hang up your worries (I used to use a tree) and be present with your loved ones and family.
  • Dedicated storage for the infringing opinions of those who feel differently than we do. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts, but we don’t need to carry them with us.
  • Dedicated storage for financial records. When you’re doing all you can to achieve success…well…that’s all you can do for the time being.
  • A prominent place for goals and aspirations that is NOT stored away, but stored in front of your very eyes.
  • Dedicated storage to stow failures – so we can access the information, but put it away and use it only as “reference material.”
  • Storage for old relationships, old friends, old experiences we’ve outgrown – especially toxic ones.
  • A place that’s far away to stash the shame, since it never really serves us.

Dedicated containers for the past and the future…so we may be more present in the now.

I’m grateful for the “fresh start.” I’m grateful for the permission to seek myself so boldly. I’m grateful for the presence of mind to see how the two fit together, so I can access it again and again. 

What would you add to the storage list? On a more concrete level, do you have a place for old work? A method to move forward when forging a new direction? Share your ideas for clean living and it’s benefits below!

Now, Clean Yourself Up!

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She writes this blog to Writer, Artist, Coachshare Writer, Artist, Coachtips for a well-lived life and a finely run art business…just for you!
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