The Virtue of a Made Bed

12 02 2015

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Until recently, I rarely ever made my bed. It wasn’t for the reasons you may imagine: “what’s the point, it’s just going to get unmade at the end of the day?.”

It was pretty simple, actually. There were a ton of blankets and pillows and it took a long, long time. And I was the only one who would make it. That, and I, too, admittedly, didn’t really see the point. My wife had 3 or 4 blankets, an assortment of pillows and lots of other stuff. That is typical, I realize but it was a lot to get through.

Then my wife filed for divorce and everything came to a grinding halt. I mean – serious halt – like the one where everything goes into slow motion and you can actually hear screeching sounds from thousands of miles away. What little control I ever thought I had quickly was removed and through these almost 2 years of, let’s call it ‘hell’, just for lack of a name at this point, it became clear that I needed to surround myself with people and things that were positive more than ever.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to get all “self help” on you. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with myself let alone you. So, here’s the point. I write – all the time. I read a lot, too. I do both of these activities for work, comedy writing, scripts – you get the picture and I found myself sitting at my desk completely cluttered. Millions of thoughts floated simultaneously and a list of items to do and the order in which to do them (categories, actions, timelines, sub actions) would not help my cause.

Then it occurred to me – I need a decluttered environment to declutter my mind. There has been plenty written about this but I chose to ignore it, pretty much like everything else. It is true. I make my bed and organized my desk almost every morning (after the kids go to school because before – what’s the point, right?). It makes a difference. This is sort of my physical meditation. Clear mind, clear room and I can think. It works.

I have been thinking about why and I can only tell you why it works for me.

I am not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination. (There are a few things, though, that if I could get my kids to agree to, would inspire me to write poetry: answering the phone, closing a drawer, putting a glass in the sink and pushing down the garbage. Four things. That’s it. Not too much to ask, right?)

Though I’m not OCD, I realized that the more clutter around me, the more a subtle (or maybe not-so subtle) reminder of how out of control things seem in my life. When I am working in a decluttered zone, I visually see calm and that sets my ¬†mind in the right state to focus on other things like writing. That’s it – all I have to offer.

I will say this. I feel so good about my comedy right now. Not “wow – I’m going to make it” good but “yeah, ok, I can do this” good. There are two things that have changed: 1) I have been very honest about my personal situation in a funny way (or I hope a funny way) without worrying if people think it is appropriate or not, and ¬†2) I have been more focused in my writing. For that, I have to thank the simplicity of a fitted sheet, a top sheet, two pillows and a barely fitting blanket. My bed looks like a bare bones lasagna but it is orderly and now, so are my thoughts.

Try it.

Until next time,

Marc

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