Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cleaning Out Closets

Those who know us know that I love to clean out closets and houses fully to create space, which is perhaps why I found this post by ProfK so interesting. Excerpts:
She asked the people present: "If you could keep all but 1-5 things, which things would you get rid of and why?" Within a very short period of time all of the participants had come up with their list of items to discard. Many had put down far more than 1-5 items.

The leader then asked this question: "If these items are of no importance to you, and you wouldn't miss them if they were gone forever, why do you still have them?" My friend reported that the group leader then went on to discuss how any closet/room system of organization is going to break down and stop being useful if items keep getting added in but no items leave. [...]

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why such little change comes to the organizations of Klal. We know they aren't working the way we need them to work, there is no "space in the closet" to keep everything that is in place, but we keep on trying to rearrange things without getting rid of things, because we might need them later. Perhaps, and if we have the space for them later we can buy them/put them into place then. Then again, maybe we'll discover that we can live just fine without these things.

So, what 1-5 items would you get rid of if doing so meant that your "closets" would have all the room needed to store the things that really matter to you? What things could Klal get rid of that would give us some breathing room?
I think it's a fascinating question, and I don't think we can know the answer as a klal until we know what is important. Unfortunately, because people will always differ on what is and is not important or a priority, we often end up with each person or group ensuring that what they feel is priority remain on the list - essentially leaving everything there.

As a community as a whole, I think we need to step back further and start from scratch. It's harder to throw out something once you view yourself as having it, but it's easier (albeit not easy) to not add something when you know you don't have the resources for it. One of the purposes of the JES is to take people back on an individual level to those basics - in the hopes that we can then do the same on the communal level.