It has been rather shocking to me how quickly my focus and attention has faltered after a few short weeks where I did not maintain my early morning ritual quiet/contemplative/writing time. Of course other things were going on as well, and I knew February would be a difficult month, schedule-wise, but even so, I am reminded of the importance of taking time to center oneself as a first priority, rather than as an afterthought.
On the other hand, only a couple of short days of refocusing has brought a great deal of clarity to my thoughts again today (although I could not have said the same yesterday). And I am relieved at the benefits of practice, and of building some sort of "muscle memory" be it for physical or mental activities.
I am also thrilled at the calming effects on my disposition that have arisen out of this last round of sorting, which I mentioned last week. Perhaps I should be somewhat reluctant to admit that it has taken me three rounds of sorting to take control of my closet, but in this case it is true that "three's a charm". I also knew that I brought too much from New York, that I accumulated too much in New York, and that I was incapable, at that time, of making any kind of decision about personal effects. This is not surprising, as I wrote extensively about the process of George's decline, about feeling like I had lost a major portion of myself in the process, and the continued sense of rediscovery that I needed to undergo before being fully able to move forward.
What I can report is that the third round was the easiest one. The scutt work had been done. There was nothing left that didn't fit, that wasn't flattering, that wasn't useful. But fit and flattery aren't everything. Although I realized long ago that although I would feel no great sense of loss if everything I owned disappeared tomorrow, I also needed to reconnect to a feeling that I have held since childhood, a sense that everything I own or use must also spark sense of joy or happiness in and of itself and its relationship with me and how I interact with it. Once the decision was made that I would only save those things I truly love, it was easy to let go of everything that remained in my closet out of a sense of expectation or obligation or just a plain old guilt. Decisions were easy.
Take these two sweaters:
As you can see, they are very similar. The sweater on the left was purchased in 2010 from Pure Collection, and is 100% cashmere. The one on the right was purchased from Eric Bombard in either the late fall of 2011 or early winter of 2012, right after I moved to Knoxville, and is a cashmere and silk blend. I do not recall if I knew it was this close in color to a sweater I already owned when I purchased it. I may not have, as I was either living in a hotel, or had not yet unpacked everything at the time. I do believe I was thinking that the cashmere/silk blend might be lighter and more wearable than the pure cashmere, and the winter of 2011/2012 was very warm in Knoxville.
Until this past weekend, I couldn't let go of either, even though I wasn't really wearing both of them.
So which sweater stays and which one goes?
As you can see from the photo above, they are about the same size. The Pure Collection sweater (bottom) has slightly more room at the bust (which I need) and is fuller through the sleeves (which I also like) although I wish it were narrower at the cuffs, like the sweater from Eric Bompard, as I have small wrists and really like sweaters to fit closely at the wrist. Otherwise, the sweaters are the same at the shoulders, waist, hips, and are the same length. I like the v-neckline better than the scoop, but I prefer the soft fuzziness of the Pure Collection sweater to the harder finish on the Eric Bombard. And the sweater from Eric Bombard pills badly whereas the one from Pure Collection has never pilled, even though it gets more wear.
Have you figured it out? I kept the sweater from Pure. 100% cashmere is easier to wear than the cashmere/silk blend, which I find is often too hot, even though the sweater is slightly thinner in gauge. I also like the extra softness, and the ease at the bust and upper arms of the Pure Collection sweater. I am not however, disparaging Eric Bombard as I have other sweaters from this company which I love, and which have remained in my wardrobe. Only this particular sweater will be moving to a new home after a brief stint on eBay.
I only sorted through tops/blouses/jackets/sweaters in this round so there is still more to do. Bottoms are next, but not until after I pull my taxes together. But even this has made a tremendous difference. When the only things that are in my closet are things I love, getting dressed is a joy. Nothing is lost in the crowd. I am actually looking forward to the next round.