I am checking the mailbox on my new iPhone. It takes a while to get my mail set up properly for downloading from the server that my office uses, and now that it is working, every time I ‘connect’ I get a download of hundreds of old e-mails. No matter how many I delete, and how often I delete, they just keep coming, e-mails from weeks ago and I am filled with a kind of dread and obsession to be able to start with a clean slate with this new phone and really be able to focus on and enjoy just the new e-mail arrivals. I go to the server location on the web and note that it is storing over 4000 e-mails over the past two months, mostly junk mail, and realize this is what the phone is connecting to, and will diligently continue downloading until every single one is delivered! So I begin to delete directly off the server, another 15 minutes of painstakingly deleting a page at a time before I figure out that I can ‘see all’, toggle them all, and delete them all in one press of a button! Whew. The sense of relief and accomplishment is immediate and it gives me pause to consider where else this energy of needing to ’empty the box’ is operating in my life right now.
I see the large plastic bags of fabric scraps I brought back from New York with me, a gift from my friend Mindy who found them at a tag sale of a woman who is an interior designer and has ‘good taste’, now lying on the floor next to my quilting area waiting to be sorted and full of promising pieces to work with. I see the pile of scraps sitting on top of my sewing table, and the plastic bag full of scraps in the basket under the table. I empty all the bags and dump everything into one big pile on the floor. Then I think of the large bin in storage that is completely full of scraps and go to retrieve that too. All together it is an impressive amount of fabric and quite overwhelming.
And unlike the e-mails, I don’t want to throw it all away. The clean slate I am aiming for here is one that allows me to ‘see’ the fabric in a different way so I can actually use it. It requires a different kind of discerning process, of sorting and ironing and combining and even though I feel the same mixture of dread and obsession as I decide to follow through with this, I know there will be something exciting on the other side. I am now feeling what my oldest friend Kathy, also a quilter, calls ‘the promise of joy’. I am imagining a whole series of quilts that can be made from these scraps and can’t wait to get to it. I know I won’t let this pile sit on the floor for very long. I know I need my clean slate soon and will remember the empowering feeling of being able to empty the box of e-mail this morning to fuel me….