190910 COMM Henderson Sea Breeze.jpg

Like our houses, our minds can overflow with stuff, to the point we can’t think. A quiet, peaceful place – without a lot of stuff – inspires a quiet, peaceful heart. “Sea Breeze,” by Steve Henderson.

It’s fun to have things, nice things — a car that works, comfortable furniture, books and mugs and clothing and kitchen appliances and meaningful knickknacks — stuff.

And, in the United States, most of us have a lot of stuff, sometimes too much, as evidenced by our fascination with shows about hoarders. Perhaps vicariously watching people who are overwhelmed by stuff makes us feel better about the many drawers in our home, overflowing to the point that we only see 10 percent of the contents, much less use them.

Because sometimes we have so much stuff that we don’t know what to do with it, and it keeps us busy dusting it, organizing it, moving it around and boxing it up to give away so that we have room for more, new stuff.

And while this is an unlikely form of stress, it can be, for many people, stressful.

The interesting thing about stuff is that it’s not limited to items we touch. While an overly cluttered environment is disquieting, it is minor compared to a messy, scattered mind strewn with anxieties and worries, angst and restlessness, uneasiness and envy, misgivings and doubts — the mental stuff we absorb each day through advertisements, movies, “news,” pop culture books and magazine articles, influencers, sermons, social media posts, junk mail and political speeches.

The result of this is that our mind is filled with thoughts that do us no good, crowding out those that could, pushing aside meditation and prayer and deep thinking and replacing them with worries that we are inadequate, deficient, incompetent, lacking.

The artwork, “Sea Breeze,” invites us into a place where there is no such stuff — neither material nor mental. A soft breeze blows through the grass, and under our feet (bare, of course), we feel the delightful tickle of sand. The surf in the background is gentle, rhythmic, soothing.

This is not an empty place by any means because it is full of quiet and tranquillity, serenity and peace — what we look for to imbue our mind. It’s the right stuff, so to speak.

Carolyn Henderson is a freelance writer who believes in the beauty and value of everyday people — because there are so many of us. She welcomes correspondence at carolyn@stevehendersonfineart.com.

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