The Noise Surrounding Me

Have you ever just sat somewhere and listened? I mean really listened. What do you hear?

We are all surrounded by noise and that noise can have a positive or negative effect on us. I have started really listening. Externally and internally to the noises surrounding me.

Externally: As I sit in my office at home writing this article, I am acutely aware of the external noises. Some irritate me, some bring me joy. The washing machine is on in the garage connected to my office. The pool pump is running to clean the pool. I hear the fridge in our garage making a noise, aware that it is near to the end of its useful life. My son is outside playing on his bike pretending that he’s on an obstacle course. He is talking to himself and I can sense his joy. My eldest daughter is on my office floor reading a book and I am enjoying that she is here with me.

Internally: My office is cluttered. The stuff that no-one really wants to have in the house seems to find it’s way to my office to get ‘sorted’. I have often heard that a cluttered house is representative of a cluttered mind. This idea is most certainly true for me. I think I’m stuck in between. My house is uncluttered, thanks to my latest attempts at decluttering. However, my office is cluttered. There are pockets of calm where I find refuge from the clutter and noise internally and externally.

I have been reading a book by Marie Kondo called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying”. Her method of tidying is simple and effective. Allowing you to banish clutter forever. First you discard, then organise your space thoroughly and completely in one go. The idea is never to have to declutter again, but to live only with the things that bring you joy. Things that contribute to the vision you have for your life.

I have started with clothes, as she suggests decluttering by category not by room, and the start I have made has created my own oasis of calm. I am not decluttering for others, my previous mistake, but allowing them to be carried along as they witness and feel the changes in our home. Thankfully, by and large, they have been inspired to follow suit.

Her method is not just about decluttering your house, but your life also. The reorganisation of my home has already caused dramatic changes in our lifestyle and perspective. We are not decluttering in order to make way for new things. We are decluttering so that we are surrounded only by the things we love. We are decluttering so that we are not endlessly tidying up. This new method has had a calming effect on our lives thus far and we have only just begun.

I have also discovered that clutter and noise create distractions for me. Distractions to conversations that have been needing to happen for some time. Distractions to listening to my inner voice. Distractions to listening to the Lord.

The busyness of life has become the main distraction to listening to the Lord. I am always busy. Sometimes too busy to stop, listen, and pray. Too busy to find time for my children or my friends. I find myself becoming overwhelmed. I used to take the time to stop and ask the Lord for help. But I got too busy with the distractions and noise to remember to listen for the answer.

This reminds me of one of my favourite bible verses from Revelation 3:20:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

I haven’t been really listening. But I am now….

About Anne Waters

Anne is a wife, mother and career woman. She is married to Gary and has 3 children. She grew up in Scotland and went to Edinburgh University where she got an MA in Japanese. She moved to London after University and spent the next 10 years working for various Japanese and American companies using her Japanese and gaining valuable business skills. It was in London that Anne met Gary and decided to get married and have children. After their second child was born, they moved to Durban in South Africa, where they live now and where Gary is from originally. Their third child was born in South Africa. Anne is now able to be a full time mother to their three children, whilst teaching Japanese and English as a Foreign Language during the hours the children are at school. Anne was raised in the Church of Scotland and came to the New Church through marriage and has spent the last 7 years in South Africa delving deeper into the writings of the New Church with the support, love and friendship of other like-minded women in the New Church in Westville.

6 thoughts on “The Noise Surrounding Me

  1. Dear Anne, this is so inspiring as it is a dream of mine that is becoming fainter and fainter. Recently I decided I will have to just give up and live with mess because that seems to be what my family wants even if I disagree that it is what they need. Fighting was not working so I decided to try to live calmly amongst the madness. You wrote: ” I am not decluttering for others, my previous mistake, but allowing them to be carried along as they witness and feel the changes in our home.” Perhaps I will try that method and it equally applies to our minds and hearts I think. In the past I have certainly tried to declutter both our house and my family’s hearts myself and it failed dismally! Thank you for the wonderful thoughts, Bronwyn

    1. Hi Bronwyn,
      Thank you for your reply. I have also tried time and again to declutter internally and externally only to give up and feel resigned to the clutter surrounding me.
      This new method I’ve been using has felt different, and I’m amazed by how calming it has been not feeling the necessity to tidy up after everyone. They see me and help me and ask questions. It’s a start… I’m hoping that from here onwards there will be more and more discussion. For now, I’m glad they are trying.
      I have struggled in my marriage with the internal voices – the clutter – of not feeling good enough, of trying too hard, etc. etc. I found that when I spent the time worrying less about what I thought he wanted and needed all the time, and focused on working on being a better me for myself and others and helping for the love the helping, our relationship improved and I saw small shifts in my husband’s attitude to his own ‘stuff’.
      It’s all part of a long journey… I wish you luck in yours!

  2. Thank you for the reminder to keep listening and decluttering so that we can hear the Lord in our lives.

  3. Thanks, Anne. I think you speak to many women. I say “women”, because in the “He, She and We” books about the meaning of symbolism in Greek myths, a central task of becoming a women was to “sort”. But it doesn’t make me like it.
    My children have now left home, but the sorting remains … with greater urgency because I don’t want to leave it to my children after I’m gone. I can do it now. I might not be able to in another 10 years.
    So this is my solution: I ask one of my lovely grandchildren to come work with me. We tackle one box after another. Each one has a story. “This is from the day I was in a car accident and I had to remove everything in my car before it was taken away.” and “This is the stuff Maureen left when she got married and moved out.” We spend two hours sorting, then we play a game of Canasta, I pay them, and I take them home. It works best with just one child at a time. I have a nice group of grandchildren who live nearby, so I am lucky to have discovered this very pleasant way to tackle the job.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I love the idea of sorting with your grandchildren and the stories and memories it brings. I have started sorting a few of the boxes I left till last as it contains many older photos and memories of places visited and people who inspired me. I have been enjoying decluttering it with my youngest daughter, making it less daunting a task. I agree that it is easier with one other person to enjoy the journey with.
      Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences.

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