Posted by: lornasass | March 26, 2012


Making space for something new...
Photo by Lorna Sass

Dear Reader:  You haven’t heard from me in a while and this is why:  Spring came early to New York City this year, and I got an early start on doing the proverbial spring cleaning.  I dug deep into closets and cabinets and found lots to throw away or pass along to someone who could use it. 

To reveal how deeply I dug, I’ll confess that I found a vintage box of carbon paper.  Remember carbon paper?  That box has probably been in my cabinet for 40 years…Why was I holding onto it?  Did I think that typewriters would make a comeback?

Aside from the breath of spring, another inspiration for this frenzy of cleaning was a book called Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston.

Every few hours, after sorting and giving away or dumping more stuff, I’d return to the book and get re-ignited by reading statements such as:

“Space Clearing creates room for expansion.”

“[Space clearing] helps you manifest what you want in your life more easily.”

“You create a space in which something new can happen…”

After reading a few pages, I would take a deep breath and resume the space clearing (which sounds so much better than spring cleaning).  Who could resist the idea of making space for something new?  Not I.

After 4 days of de-cluttering, I suddenly came to a halt.  Two things stopped me in my tracks.  The first was tossing all of my dissertation and historical cookery files.  I was astonished at how much research I had amassed (about 10 feet of files), and how many articles I had written (over 200).  I ended up saving hard copies of the articles (they were written on a manual typewriter), but all those xeroxes of esoteric articles on 14th century Arabic distillation and rare Italian cookery manuscripts are being recycled as we speak.  Hard to part with them, but I was ready: It’s Life Coaching that has captured my fancy and now I have room for those growing files.

The second thing that stopped me was the need for a shredder.  Aside from some ancient tax records of my own, I had come upon my deceased mother’s bank statements and realized that it would be wise to cut them into tiny pieces.  I borrowed a neighbor’s shredder, but then I couldn’t bear to use it on my mother’s papers.  How do you shred the only remaining tangible proof of a person’s life, especially your mother’s?   I wanted to burn them in a ceremonial fire, but couldn’t figure out how to do that in the middle of Manhattan.  So I put my mother’s papers back into their large envelope and stowed them away.

By this time, the throwing away and space clearing all began to feel like too much. I felt stunned and saddened, so I stopped and took a break.  What I realized is that I even when I feel ready to de-clutter, I still need some kind of ritual before releasing the stuff of my life.  I need to take some time to celebrate what I have accomplished–all the projects completed and even the fat files containing dreams never materialized.

Alas, all the files were gone by the time that I recognized this need for ritual…

But don’t cry for me, dear Reader.  Remember that I have created space and wait with joyous anticipation for the new experiences that will come into my life.  

However, please remind me that when I’m next ready to empty my file drawers, I need to pause and give thanks for all of the curiosity, discipline, labor, and enthusiasm that made me the person writing this blog post. 

Wishing you vast sacred space and the best spring ever.


  1. Love this post. We’ re moving in 3 weeks and I’m about to start the daunting process of cleaning out and packing. I’ve moved the box with my fathers things twice now…from his apartment to my house, my apartment, and then another house. They are now in a box in the garage. I sifted through them again last fall – and couldn’t bear to just throw them into the recycle bin. I think I’m finally ready. The clean wind off the ocean is calling me and making space in my heart. Love you.

    • Ah, to live near the ocean, a newly discovered dream of my own. In the meanwhile, can’t wait to visit. Good luck with the move!!! Send pics when you can.

  2. Besides the fact that you are a Very special photographer, you continue to INSPIRE at so many levels! I am indebted to Michael for sending me in your direction!

    • Tx Nancy. You are a dear one.

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