Only entropy comes easy.

~Anton Chekhov

How do you edit your belongings? Do you find it easier to accumulate things than it is to get rid of them? What are your criteria for deciding what to keep?

As metaphysical beings existing in a physical world, our relationship with the stuff that surrounds us tells a remarkable story. We arrive as infants with no baggage whatsoever, and as we pass we leave it all behind. 

Reams have been written about Feng Shui, the Law of Attraction, clutter clearing, and how-tos for organization. It all comes down to a question of consciousness. As an editor, I’ve spent untold hours paring down prose, whittling down words, or sharpening syntax in order to fit in a given space.

But when it comes to the world of physical objects, the dance between entropy and order is ongoing. I used to literally be a junk collector. Living in Denver where there are alleys to prowl was a scavengers paradise. Anyone who has ever walked around a college town during the first week of June knows the feeling, there’s so much great stuff lying around, but where to put it all?

You may have had a similar experience, it seems to be easier to acquire things than it is to let them go. After all, dragging stuff home is easy, but getting rid of it is a process. Is it valuable? Then I guess I should try to sell it. Is it rare? Then there’s bound to be a collector who will salivate over it one day. Remember, embodiment requires room to move!

The impulse to gather requires no thought at all, while the act of editing demands decision making. And believe me, living in ‘Entropia’ is a procrastinators paradise. Clutter can in fact be a tool to control other people, I’ve seen situations where one person holds an entire family hostage by monopolizing every square inch of surface area with stuff.

Taken to an extreme the compulsion to collect can become hoarder’s disorder. (I think there was even a TV show about worst-case scenarios of this.) I once had a housemate who moved in with a lot of stuff, but then it seemed like she never quite unpacked. Then I started to notice that almost every day she walked in with more armloads of stuff. 

“Look what was on sale at Target!” she would say. It was when I realized she was an avid follower of the ‘Free’ section of Craigslist that I knew there was a problem. Our agreement was that she had a bedroom in the house and a storage area in the garage. The last straw came when she demanded more of the common areas because she needed “more room.” What with her room being piled to the ceiling and barely a path to squeeze in, I knew that if I allowed her even a single pillow in the living room, it would soon be over. Thankfully, she found new digs shortly after. 

The other end of the spectrum is almost as perplexing to me. Having done innumerable metalworking projects with top-notch interior designers, I’ve spent a fair share of time in minimal, magazine-worthy environments that are pared down to the nubbins. There’s a level of intention inherent in the inhabitants of these spaces that amazes me, and while the beauty of bespoke interiors is inspiring, I have to accept that I prefer a more ‘lived-in’ look to relax.

In recent years I’ve gotten much better at turning my nose up at seemingly interesting objects that are just begging me to bring them home. My trips to the recycling center are almost all outflow, with only a few free books or records making the trip back home with me. Records are particularly problematic because I believe in the inherent value of the artist’s consciousness that’s pressed into every slab of vinyl, I’m loathe to let even the most forlorn or unloved record go into the trash.

That said, as a DJ and collector, there has to be a process of maintaining equilibrium. Since new (to me) records are always coming in, I have to be constantly re-evaluating the ones I’ve had for a while and culling them out. I’m often dropping the needle on a record and asking myself the question “Will I ever be at this party again?” or “Is this something I like to play for myself around the house?”

If the answer is no, then it’s time for the “go pile.” That’s the crate on the bottom shelf destined for new homes or the greener pastures of a used record shop on the horizon. Maintaining a working record collection is a practice, and it takes sustained effort to keep breathing life into it.

When it comes to the art of editing your stuff, the dance of belongings can be boiled down to a simple mantra. “Love it? Use it? or Lose it!” If it’s not something you use often enough to justify the space it takes up, and it doesn’t touch your heartstrings in some special way, then saying goodbye to it should be easy. After all, it takes empty space to attract better stuff!

The secret to simplicity is knowing what’s worth keeping around and when to let go. The funny thing about clearing out some old junk is that it might have seemed important at some point and worth hanging on to, but when it’s finally gone, you won’t miss it at all! In fact, the feeling you get from freeing yourself from entropy is definitely worth the effort.

Keeping it clear till next week, love and light to you and yours!


Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

Dance First Member Spotlight :: SomaFest – The Somatic Movement Arts Festival!

This week’s Dance First Members Spotlight shines on SomaFest, the 13th Annual Somatic Movement Arts Festival happening August 28th through September 1st in Los Angeles. 

This years theme is “Dancing the Cosmic Body” and presenters include host and co-founder Teri Carter, Medicine Dance founders and Dance First members Fred & Colleen Sugerman , Berti Klein, Amanda Laabs, Caryn Heilman, Evan Rosenblatt, Evone Wexler, Gabriel Francisco, John William Johnson, Julie Coren, Nana Simopoulis, and T’mimah Ickovitz. 

Don’t miss this immersion into the creative inquiry of embodiment! Explore your body-mind-movement capacity. Learn to deepen into the greatest version of who you truly are, and consciously embody your wholeness with resilience and adaptability in workshops, performance experiences.

Embody your inner & outer universe and embrace your whole self from the microcosmic to the macrocosmic through embodied movement! Workshops and performance inspiring conscious embodiment in practice, performance, and daily life.

Make your travel plans to be in Los Angeles to explore diverse movement practices in workshops, performances, and panel discussions that cultivate body-mind integration, creativity, presence & community. 

Now in it’s 13th year, SOMAfest was originated by Teri Carter with support from Emilie Conrad who founded Continuum Movement. 

Come celebrate your body as a living inquiry, part of an unfolding planetary and cosmic process. Our bodies are ecosystems inter-relating with diverse communities within the natural world. From cellular motion to muscular expression, we are moving in resonance with the cosmos.

Learn more and register before August 19th early bird deadline!