Know the Feeling? “Old Rubbish! Old Letters, Old Clothes, Old Objects That One Does Not Want to Throw Away.”

“Oh! Old rubbish! Old letters, old clothes, old objects that one does not want to throw away. How well nature has understood that, every year, she must change her leaves, her flowers, her fruit and her vegetables, and make manure out of the mementos of her year!”

–Jules Renard, Journal

As we approach the new year, this quotation keeps floating through my mind.

And that passage reminded me of this one:

“I still feel nervous when I throw away a piece of bread. But in Nature nothing can be lost, nothing wasted, nothing thrown away, there is no such thing as rubbish.”

–John Stewart Collis, The Worm Forgives the Plough

Unrelated sidenote, because I can’t resist: It really bothers me that John Stewart Collis misquotes William Blake. In Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell,” the line is “The cut worm forgives the plough.”

There’s a very great difference in the meaning of those sentences — that word “cut” matters.

But I digress! Back to thoughts of time, change, renewal, and nature. Happy 2016.

Better Than Before by Gretchen RubinAnd remember, today is the LAST DAY to get my BONUS offer for FREE. It’s an email series called “21 Days, 21 Strategies for Habit Change.” Each day, for 21 days, I send you ideas about how to change your habits (or how to help someone else change habits).  It’s free for people who order the paperback of Better Than Before. Info here. And yes, if you bought the hardback version, or the audio or e-book, you’re eligible too. Just email me. You can see me talk about Better Than Before in this short video. If you’ve ever wanted to change a habit, all is revealed in my book.

  • Debra Seiling

    I want you to know that I am mid-way through reading The Happiness Project and hate to put it down. It has helped me have a renewed focus on doing things that help me feel more happy and create happiness in the lives of family members. Additionally, I wanted you know that I have put a link to your book store and You Tube video in my blog post: Christian Overeaters Past and Present that comes out New Years Day, 2016. Thanks again, Debra Seiling

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so happy to hear that my work strikes a chord with you.

  • Penelope Schmitt

    I like contemplating that nothing IS wasted, yet it is so satisfying to send unused household goods and clothing forward to be reused by someone else instead of stored or stashed. I really do think that it’s good to MAKE ROOM in our lives–not just for something new to fill the space, but for space to breathe in, move in, space around the things we have so we can appreciate them and actually use them.

    I say this as an ‘abundance person’ — one for whom the word abundance is the kindest way to describe the general too-muchness around my house. When I can clear away, I am amazed at the peace it brings me. In several years of working hard at this, I seem to have made serious headway in my bedroom and bath. The rest of the house is better but still needs a lot of pruning, using up, and giving away. After Mom moved to assisted living a year ago, I was able to give away many shelves full of books, shred a lot of paper, fill up the car with clothes to donate several times, discard five big boxes of magazines, donate three boxes full of excess Christmas decor, and donate suitcases, small appliances and even furniture. This was not all ‘her stuff’ but just as much ‘my stuff’. This year, I could benefit from doing this all over again, empowered because I know for sure how much those uncrowded shelves and clear spaces mean to my peace of mind.

    Yes, OUTER ORDER CONTRIBUTES TO INNER CALM.