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Melcyan is a Water Dragon. He is also a retired Chemistry teacher and a lifelong learner. He met his Chinese partner for the first time in 2007 while ballroom dancing in Australia. Their relationship started in 2010 and they have been together ever since. His focus on CLM has been to learn more about the implications of his life-partner's culture and language for building a lifelong loving relationship.
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Decluttering Is All About Love Part 4 - doubts    

By Melcyan
377 Views | 13 Comments | 8/16/2019 12:27:01 PM

I was reluctant to write this blog because I feared that I was moving backwards.



Sometimes you lose your way and drastic measures are needed to get you back on track. Too often I let myself become a prisoner of the urgent. I always tend to stop doing what is best for my well-being and let my attention be redirected to putting out a “spot fire” (a new “urgent” problem).



A week ago my decluttering was fast becoming a distant memory. The six weeks prior were filled with “urgent tasks” taking priority. The pull of old bad habits can be overwhelming. Deep down I know that all the “urgent” problems of my life disappear if I eat, move and sleep each day in a mindful way. Sounds straightforward but I still lose touch. My partner drags me back into mindful behaviour but I need to learn how to do it continually by myself.



In desperation, I reverted to my old methods of cleaning up by putting pressure on myself to get the next large room decluttered. I invited my brother over to my place to celebrate his 65th birthday. At that time the large dining/entertaining room was full of clutter. I had seven days to get the decluttering job done.



My partner checked by phone on my progress cleaning up every day 5 days running. When she suspected I would not make my deadline she gave me an ultimatum. Finish getting the house ready for entertaining by 1pm Saturday or she would not do any cooking. We would have to make do with using a restaurant.



I made the deadline with about 3 minutes to spare. I am now only one small room and a garage away from having my house fully decluttered. I should be happy but I am concerned that I am getting “success” using old methods. It is not a healthy daily practice that is driving my decluttering.



Every day we remake ourselves. However, I suspect my house has changed more than I have. I am yet to fully ingrain a healthy decluttering approach into my everyday actions. I am yet to fully ingrain eating, moving and sleeping every day in a mindful way. I still procrastinate too much and too often I give way to the demands of the urgent.



I just reread my CLM forum threads Atheist’s Christmas Tree and Mandarin Moment from 3 years ago. I found that depressing on two levels. CLM WAS MUCH MORE REWARDING FOR ME 3 YEARS AGO because words from Chinese women helped my understanding of Chinese culture. Those words seem to be very scarce on CLM today. ALSO, MY MANDARIN HAS NOT IMPROVED MUCH IN THREE YEARS because I have lost the habit of practising it each day.



I remember how I felt that post-Christmas day three years ago. I was exhausted after using my usual frantic cleanup style. Have I really made a lasting change to my cluttered life or am I still functioning the way I did three years ago?



Reading part 1 of my decluttering blog made me aware that my lounge room has been maintained fairly well since I first decluttered it. Tick!



Reading part 2 of my decluttering blog - Ahhh! My present problems make a little more sense now. The room that I just finished to help my brother celebrate his 65th birthday was a few days earlier filled with clutter. That clutter had been relocated there from the utility room just before my second son moved back home.



Reading part 3 of my decluttering blog made me aware that the main bedroom still looks like it did after I finished it but one set drawers had become a mess on the inside. Marie Kondo would not have been impressed. Those drawers are now back to a Kondo standard of the organisation.



Looking back I see I have made much more progress than I thought I had but not as much as I hoped I would have by now. Ironically my partner is starting to believe my decluttering changes are becoming permanent just as I am starting to have serious doubts. Writing this blog and rereading what preceded it I am starting to feel more positive. Listening to the audio of Tom Rath’s book Eat, Move, Sleep (mindfully) again today is also helping me.



Every twenty minutes I get up from my computer and walk around. I am walking around the room I decluttered for my brother's 65th. I hadn't realised how fast this room is turning into a music and dance workshop room. Am I just cluttering it yet again? One end has large speakers, amp, mixer and microphones. In the middle is a keyboard that used to belong to my late mother that I have got working again (let me make that clearer, I got the keyboard working again, not my mother). There is still room for the 6 person dining table and enough floor space to dance around it.



It is not a mess. It is exactly what I need right now.  I have created a space to teach my partner piano keyboard and dance. My mother tried for several years to learn the piano and failed. My partner seemed to be on the same path until I started giving her music theory lessons and advice on how to plan her time with her music practice.



She hasn't seen this keyboard yet. It's amazing what you find when you declutter! 



My partner was trying to learn the piano from the internet. She had some private lessons 4 years ago but they cost too much and they don't fit in with her available time. She thinks that because I was a teacher for thirty years and I have achieved distinctions (when I was 16) for fourth grade piano theory and practice that I must be able to teach her piano. 



I have been all over the place these last few days. Last weekend I seemed to be able to help my partner a lot with musical theory. For me, music theory is the easy part. I have spent many hours looking at the possibility of learning the piano using the internet and apps. I have spent 8 hours going through youtube instruction clips and trialling apps. I now realize that I actually can teach my partner the piano. I only need to stay one or two years ahead of her. I can also develop my singing. Damn it! My partner has been proved right yet again.<



I am buying a new piano keyboard tomorrow so I can take full advantage of a blue tooth connection between the piano and the iPad. The apps on the iPad monitor musical progress brilliantly. Technology is changing so fast that it is hard to keep up. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to use it.


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(Showing 1 to 10 of 13) 1 2 More...
#2019-08-16 12:26:48 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

The way you look at decluttering your home is probably the way I should look at  decluttering CLM and ALM. I expect that others could also follow your lesson to improve their businesses or their jobs or even their relationships. I am going to think about how I can declutter the websites and then I will post a blog asking members for their thoughts.

Regarding technology, it is probably because I am so embedded in it these days, both because of the websites but also because of my growing fascination with the mysteries of and threats surrounding much of the technology coming down the road, but I am growing much tired of it.

I am starting to really yearn for a small organic farm, perched on a plateau overlooking a mountain valley, far from the madding storm of both technology and technocracy gone wild.

I would love to open a book while sitting on my deck and read it from start to finish without a single interruption. My entire life I loved reading good books, but I have not opened one for at least 5 years now.

Bah! Humbug! Technology be damned.

Nice blog Melcyan. It has obviously set me to thinking.

#2019-08-16 16:19:17 by melcyan @melcyan

@JohnAbbot

I am hoping to permanently change my ways so that I never need to do large scale decluttering ever again. At least 75% of all that I have needs to go. Are you thinking that at least 75% of what is on CLM has to go?  For CLM it is probably more a matter of relocating, layering and making the best information easily accessible. The most valuable material on CLM should be the most accessible in the top layers and the least valuable in the very bottom layers.

 

If the organisation is done well the areas of future need on CLM should become more apparent. Some useful information may need to be rewritten and streamlined. Some useful information may need to be expanded. Am I volunteering for any of these tasks? Definitely not but if I can see reorganisation moving in a positive direction and you ask me to rewrite some of my work to fit that direction, I would definitely consider it.

 

The obvious place to start is to have all the most important information for new members in one easy to read location. Then branch out from there. Ignore existing CLM structures so that this fundamental need becomes the foundation for how you organise all of CLM.

#2019-08-17 08:05:09 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@JohnAbbot

In my opinion, decluttering begins with the mind. Next comes priorities, which are different for everyone.

There's an old saying about not knowing how much 'stuff' you've got until you move house.

Reading Melcy's blogs makes me want to remind him to be grateful he's NOT moving house, lol.

For the first time in my own life I am the complete opposite of all this. I have no 'clutter', and I have more free time than I have ever had before. I have never read so many books as I have over the last 12 months or so.

Conversely, there are days when I have never been so bored. Sometimes I wish I HAD clutter, in order to give me something to do.

On the other point, @Melcyan, I leaned to play the piano when I was an early teenager. Musical theory can be enjoyable, but nowhere near as enjoyable as thumping out a tune on the keyboard.

I remember one of my 17-year old Chinese students playing a tune at a graduation ceremony. It revived my interest in playing the keyboard, such was its power.

Maybe you've heard it, but if not, then there's a link below. There are also instructions for how to play it that you can also find online.

One of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard in years....

Enjoy....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aTEjyzWKFQ

 

#2019-08-18 10:28:35 by melcyan @melcyan

 

@paulfox1

 

Moving house! A dagger to the heart of a clutterer. Unless….you move to a bigger house. I have moved 4 times in 42 years. Each time I have moved to a bigger house. My partner now wants me to move again but to a much smaller house. Hence, crisis time.

 

Blogging about this is very difficult, very personal and very necessary for my success. I think this is what John Abbot meant when he says my blog has something to offer anyone with a major life problem who has a business or a relationship that they need to build.

 

My partner loves me and wants the best for me. That is why she is refusing to sink with me on my clutter ship “Titanic”.

#2019-08-19 12:08:22 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@melcyan and @paulfox1

It's interesting that you two seem to be somewhat in sync on this topic, as opposed to almost every other topic you've ever discussed. I think I am also in sync with both of you.

Paul wrote "In my opinion, decluttering begins with the mind. Next comes priorities, which are different for everyone."

I think that is pretty clearly Melcyan's thinking as well, when he says "I am hoping to permanently change my ways so that I never need to do large scale decluttering ever again." and it's what underlies the entire 4 parts to this series (so far). I suggest that the struggle he has had with decluttering his home results from the great difficulty one has decluttering one's mind. Once having decluttered your mind I suggest that decluttering your house, your business, your job, your relationship or anything else will come easy.  I am keenly interested in decluttering my mind but I am certain it will be no small task.

On the subject of downsizing one's home you both seem to be undecided. Paul has done so, more as a result of circumstance as opposed to planning, but seems to be missing the bigger space. Melcyan is under pressure to do so from his partner but seems obviously reluctant to go there.

I am conflicted on that issue as well. But I must say I recently accidentally came upon a series of videos about downsizing to a tiny house and the thought of finding an incredibly beautiful lot in a scenic location and building two tiny houses on the lot, with some distance between them, and lots of sharable outdoor amenities between them, really appeals to me. My wife could have one of them and finish it anyway she wanted, while I would have the other one finished exactly to my liking. Sort of a hen house for her and a man cave for me. I think that would allow us to maintain all the great things in our relationship and discard the minor but grating annoyances.

In melcyan's case his partner could easily accomodate both her mother and melcyan with ease by merely walking back and forth from the two tiny houses, staying over in each of them as she chose.

I'm not sure how Paul would utilize that scenario?

I am sure that the arrangement would lend itself well to decluttering.

#2019-08-19 14:53:28 by melcyan @melcyan

@JohnAbbot

I agree that decluttering of the mind is necessary for effective decluttering of your surroundings. There are several ten-step processes for decluttering the mind on the internet. Here is one that fits my current approach

 

1. Set Priorities

For me this is about not letting the “urgent” subvert what is really important to me and my partner – it reminds me that I need to stop this entry and do something more important right now.

 

-Back again-

 

2. Keep A Journal:

I function best when I keep a daily journal. Also my blogs on decluttering serve a useful journaling purpose.

 

3. Learn To Let Go

Let go of physical possessions that have served their purpose and are no longer needed. Let go of goals that have passed their use-by date. Say thank you and goodbye to all that you don’t need.

 

4. Avoid Multitasking

My partner says I am poor at multitasking but what this really means is make sure at least 80 per cent of your time and energy is devoted to your most important tasks.

 

5. Breathe

There is a Buddhist koan that says all that you need to know can be found in a single meditative breath. How you feel and what you see can definitely change in a single meditative breath.

 

6. Declutter Your Workspace

 

It is interesting that when I do work for others I much more organised than when I do tasks for myself. My partner always removes clutter from her place before going to sleep. I am starting to do the same for key rooms at my place. 

 

7. Be Decisive

Clutter is delayed decisions. This is very true in my case. Procrastination is my greatest weakness.

The WRAP process certainly helps you make better and more decisive decisions.

 Widen Your Options, Reality-Test Your Assumptions, Attain Distance Before Deciding, and Prepare to Be Wrong. It is crucial that sufficient time is made available for using the WRAP process. Start early and finish early.

 

8. Share Your Thoughts

Conversations about clutter with my partner and conversations here on CLM have shifted me to a better place.

 

9. Limit The Amount Of Media Intake

I don’t have any trouble with this one but if often annoys others that I am not up to date with the current news.

 

10. Take Some Time To Unwind

Turn off your digital world and connect with the non-digital world. Meditate in natural surroundings.

 

John, you say I am under pressure from my partner but I am also under pressure from a general feeling of unease that is separate from the wishes of my partner. I can see two of my four children with emerging clutter problems as well. If I beat this lifetime problem now it will help them too. If I succeed then a lot more people in my life, rather than just me, will benefit.

 

#2019-08-19 15:26:13 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@JohnAbbot

During my 15 or so years in Australia, I built a total of 26 houses. Some were 'stand-alone', others were duplexes / triplexes, and one was an 8-unit site where we built 6 x 3 bed, 2 baths, and 2 x 4 bed, 2 baths.

The idea of constructing another duplex property with your idea in mind, would be perfect.

As for me right now, my place is far too big for lil ole me. It's a large apartment and has several rooms I never use, nor am I likely to.

#2019-08-19 20:00:53 by roughdiamond @roughdiamond


@JohnAbbot

All I can say about your sujestion for you and your wife is

Woody Allen

And from what you've told us you have fur babies

Soooo......(puke)

As i see it you marry because you want to be with and share your life with someone

Not to live seperated

I've done the live together but seperate thing

let me tell you I was blown away when she submitted her financials

She had an acc. with $120K in it that I didn't know about

She'd been staching $ away for years

can I also say

She

also preached the Woody Allen / Mia Farrow  Way

#2019-08-23 21:58:17 by melcyan @melcyan

@roughdiamond

When you were with your former partner living in separate houses did you have a high-quality relationship at any stage? I ask that because I believe the quality of the loving relationship and the space it allows each other space to grow into becoming a better human being is the most important thing, regardless of living arrangements.

 

There is an advantage for two very different people living in separate houses. It makes it possible for two very different people to grow towards each other without being weighed down by their differences. My partner and I accommodate each other in ways we would have thought impossible 9 years ago. We are closer in spirit with each passing year.

 

I don’t recommend living apart as something to aspire to. I am just saying it can produce a positive outcome if both the man and the woman are fully committed to improving the quality of their relationship and the quality of their own lives.

 

I doubt that Woody and Mia ever had a high-quality relationship.

#2019-08-24 20:40:12 by roughdiamond @roughdiamond


@melcyan

I would say yes. She may say otherwise. I hope She would also say yes to your question yet i have my doubts

Relationships are funny things

each one of us has our own reasons for being in one

what we expect out of them , what we expect out of eachother.

in the case at hand We were involved for 18 months, aproxamatly 100km apart. when we moved in together we never combined anything, our relationship was hidden from family and friends for years at this point i should of seen the warning signs, yet ((We) The Royal We) listen to the Bs and convince ourselves that its right.

Anyhow

Thinking now I realy havent learnt, my wife now handles the finances ( whats mine is hers and  hers only. The differance being Queen has No issues saying so and reminds me of it daily with Our Daughter (the best gift anyone has ever given me (by the way)) ) and was very quick to co-join our lives bank Acc. baby family. (A positive Chinese trait. A chinese woman and money, haha ) ( realy its for the best. id just spend it.)

I Love my Wife more importantly , I respect her, talk with Her, ( I know hard to belive right) listen To Her (Yeah yeah you thunk it just a monent ago still hard to belive hey!!!), set goals and SHARE our lives........Cheers
at this point i should of seen the warning signs

 

 

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