Sometimes life is so busy you feel like you’re grasping for straws and nothing comes to completion in a satisfactory way. You begin one thing and are sidetracked by three more things. Respond to two things and four more inquiries land on your doorstep.

When it rains it pours, they’ll say.

I’ve observed this in myself and many of my friends lately. We’re all traversing life’s necessities, blunders, sadnesses, experiences, and highlights. The energizing and the draining. We try to keep in touch and make the time to be present, but it’s proven difficult with any consistent rhythm.

It can be bothersome; like we’re missing out, or neglecting meaningful people in our lives.

Last year I met a very talented and inspiring woman who told me that sometimes we just need to “clear the decks” in order to refocus on what’s important in our lives. I believe this is similar to Saying No, but I also believe it’s entirely possible to become overwhelmed even when “no” makes consistent appearances in vocabulary.

I think about this a lot.

Why I’m feeling a certain way; what caused me to feel this way; is this feeling something that is the direct result of a short-sighted decision I’ve made and thus, setup for myself? How can I best adjust my outlook on this situation, or, remove myself from the situation at large, rendering the concern obsolete? Who would that affect?

Perhaps it sounds silly to some, but without such mindfulness life begins to steer the ship. And I don’t know about you, but I definitely want a big say in my life; in the things I can control that directly correlate to my happiness and well being.

But, take note: I haven’t cleared the decks yet. I’m purposefully writing this now because it’s important to be realistic about life and the timing of mental meanderings. Sometimes things are a little off kilter. Every article I write, I’ve realized, doesn’t need some large ah-ha moment. It’s unrealistic.

The fact is, life doesn’t work that way. None of us head home entirely satisfied at the day’s work every day, every week, every month. The situation fascinates me.

I’m very aware that I have the control to adjust the current trajectory. I can pop the hood—and you can bet I will—and start to tinker with what’s going on. Could it be too much caffeine? Maybe. Increased work stress combined with a lack of sleep? Certainly. Taking on a friend’s life station too personally? Absolutely.

We are creatures of habit. We reach ceilings, face limits of some sort, and more often than not (especially without mindfulness), fall into patterns that facilitate a crutch. Maybe multiple crutches. We have this upper limit problem within our own micro-journeys of ebb and flow.

Once a flow begins to trickle, we instinctively fall back to dated thinking, bad habits, and/or a general lack of focus and purpose.

To keep our course, focus and purpose are paramount. While I won’t go into Deida’s work at length, he makes great points about purpose in our lives. Why are we doing the things we are doing?

He promotes shedding what is junk and focusing on the things that invigorate, grow, challenge, inspire. Everything else is garbage. Throw it out. Kindly pass on its offerings. Say no thank you.

Wipe it from your ship’s decks.

We have the option to analyze our own habits, lives, bodies, and trajectories. Like a surgeon looking at his own philosophical body on the operating table, we have the opportunity, each day, to make changes in our lives to better ourselves.

We have the unique challenge—and chance—to clear the decks. It’s easy to think you do not, and that’s resistance taking over. As the War of Art so eloquently says, resistance loves it when you lay down. So why not just lay down? It’s easy.

Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow morning when the alarm goes off. But you don’t want that for yourself for more than a passing phase. Become intimate with yourself and truly understand what you need to be satisfied; to feel fulfilled; to be happy; to live through each day with purpose.

Resistance can wait. Clearing the decks cannot. Who’s steering your ship?

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