Have you ever tried going to a coffee shop to work?   While some people may be able to make it work by drowning out the noise, I would guess that the majority of us struggle to do so.  We have every intention of going there to work and to focus but between the grind of the machines and the conversations at neighboring tables, our attention ends up being constantly diverted.  Couple this with the regular alerts coming from our phones and there's no hope.  Coffee shops and our phones are just a couple examples of distractions or "noise", that we encounter on a daily basis.  This "noise" can disguise itself in many forms, from physical possessions and interior spaces, to the thoughts that we play on repeat.  It is what we surround our-self with on daily basis; what captures our attention to the point of distraction.  While some of this noise we can't control, a good part of it we can.


When it comes to our homes, the act of simplifying our decor and letting go of what is no longer used or needed, goes a long way in minimizing noise.  By taking away the excess we are creating room to breathe or allowing "the eye to rest" as we say in design.  For example, when we have something hanging on every wall, furniture crammed into every corner, books spilling out of shelves - there is a lot going on.  There is no sense of peace.  By having a wall or two with nothing on it or by having a well curated and styled shelf there is a sense of order and restraint.  

It may be hard to believe that our possessions really do have an effect on our physical and mental state of well-being but they do.  I challenge you to give this whole de-cluttering thing a try and see how you feel after a couple of weeks.  One of my family members experienced the power of de-cluttering recently and couldn't believe how much better he felt because of it.  He told me that while at first he would just get rid of a few things here and there, after a few days he was letting go of things by the bag full.  His eyes were opened after years of not seeing the noise in his life and he was experiencing the benefits of it.

Its not just the things that we have in plain site though, that can be a source of noise.  The possessions that we have boxed up and tucked away can also be a cause of distress and distraction; a metaphorical and literal weight.  While they are out of sight they are not necessarily out of mind.  Though we may not think about these possessions often, we know that they are there and we are aware of the space that they take up, as well as the cost (if they live in a storage unit). 

Another way in which noise manifests itself in is in the thoughts we choose to meditate on in our day-to-day lives.  This could be the to-do list that we have running in the back of our head, regrets and guilt about a decision that we made, negative memories that we have playing on repeat - it could be a lot of things.  Just as with our physical possessions, our thoughts take up space. They too are a source of weight. One way that we can relieve some of this weight and to lighten the load is by releasing any negative thoughts. We can sit with and reflect, but after a while it's time to let them go.  We can commit to change by showing ourselves grace in the way we speak to ourselves and respect by taking our to-do list seriously.  By letting things pile up or get back-logged we are just heaping onto the stress that we already encounter on a daily basis.  This pile is an obstacle in obtaining the peace that we so desire.

While there is some noise that we cannot control there is a lot of it that we can.  We all possess the ability to choose what we allow into our homes: what we hang on our walls, what we wear, and what we have stored away.  We also have the capacity to choose our thoughts; to "take them captive".*  There is a lot of noise that we encounter on a regular basis but the freeing thing is that we have the ability to choose what we surround ourselves with.  There is a lot of peace in that.



*2 Corinthians 10:5