Culver City Observer -

How to Escape from Political Clutter


August 11, 2016

Stop it! Now, stop it, will you?

We're being bombarded from everywhere: Trump. Hillary. Bernie. Republican. Democrat. Green. (All of the above).

Isis or WasWas? Fear, anxiety, disquiet; pushback to fear again.

It's the clutter, Stupid. Make it stop.

There's a truck with the words "" on the side; they come to your house and pick up your clutter, take it away and keep it for you. You don't even have to go there, or arrange it in storage. When you want your things, they'll bring them, at a low price.

What if the truck could take away the clutter in your head? What if they'd collect your clutter on Instagram + Facebook, from your closets, from friends? Are you comfortable midst all the clutter, or do you wish it could be put on a truck and hauled away?

Sometimes, it's hard to throw away food you haven't used; none of us wants to waste it. So you want to clear out the refrigerator, but, hey, those leftovers are still good. Then one day, you notice they've gone bad; now there's no problem tossing them.

What about mental crowding with cluttered up information that's past its sell-by date? Can you do anything about mental incoming that overcrowds your mind, squashing more intriguing things you'd rather think about?

Remember, we have three more months of political jockeying before the November election. Given how they're already going after every nanospace in your attention span, can you imagine the jumble of chaos in your brain by election day?

Freeing brain space is easy; it's like hitting the delete key. You don't want those political ads in your head? Tuning them out might be hard if it's a true thunderstorm. What's needed is CliffsNotes for decluttering your mind.

The French word for clutter is désordre. So clutter means something disordered.

In English, disorder, the verb, is to derange the physical or mental health or functions of.

Oh, disorder! So clutter can be a disorder?

Did you know there are 12-step groups for clutter?

It's true. Clutterers Anonymous, founded in Simi Valley, is a twelve-step program for people sharing a problem with accumulating clutter, with meetings in 70 U.S. cities, plus internationally. Members admit they are "powerless over our clutter".

Or if you prefer, there's "Messies Anonymous", which gives help with a toll-free hotline.

I imagine a call would go like this:

"Hello, can you help me?"

"Sure, what can we help with?"

"I'm feeling overwhelmed by political ads, TV news, jihad fears, Trump's ridiculous comments, Hillary's mis-speaks; friends emailing to pressure me. I can't stand all these online posts pushing political agendas; I want to scream with each new email demanding I contribute."

"If you give us your email address, we can send you emails of our philosophy and our meeting calendar."

Make it stop.

They even have books for messy men (in particular) and how to get a clutter-free home in a few days. Wouldn't you like to declutter your mind from repeated ads and political marketing messages?

There's a trending new word, have you seen it yet? "Meme". Pronounced "mEEm", it's possibly from the word mimic.

Today's pop version is defined as a cultural item in image, video, or phrase, spread online and often changed in a creative, humorous way. I keep seeing these memes online, marveling at the creativity. I wondered how people found them.

Now I know:

Free and accessible on your computer, the website suggests you use a meme because "Life is too crazy and too short to be described with tons of words." (So it's more dumbing down). You pick an image, or upload yours, just add some text, and Le voilà!

May I suggest you make a meme? Keep it in your head. A psychiatrist friend once told me a visual image is more potent than words. When you get incoming blizzards of politics you don't want to hear or see, think of your meme. Picture it. You don't have to listen. Shut off, close down, that website, newscast, TV, phone call; substitute your own message: you can make it stop.

I once heard an elaborate New York joke about someone giving a friend directions in the city. Following complicated instructions, the friend would save five minutes in travel time. The punchline came from the friend, an eastern philosopher from China, who after hearing all the steps, looked directly at the person offering to save time. "And what will you do with the five minutes?"

When you delete the political noise and clear your mind, what will you do with the mental space? Will you take a break? Go for a quiet walk? Read a book? Just sit and think your own thoughts?

Techniques that might work: Think of whatever you don't want to be hearing about, and mentally put it in a gift box. Tie a ribbon around it. Then put it to the side in your mind.

Or treat it like that rotting food in the refrigerator: My theory is if you would throw it out once it's rotted, and you know you're going to let it rot, why not just toss it today?

Maybe you'll focus on how much you can take in if you're not being cluttered with junk you don't want (this works for physical uncluttering as well).

Mindfulness, meditating, walking, or just plain being outdoors; these can work.

A super-intelligent person I knew once asked how I was spending my birthday. I had no plans. He suggested I make sure to have some physical contact with nature; that it wasn't enough to just go for a walk, but my feet should feel the grass or the sand. I took his advice; I felt calm and transposed, peaceful. My heart and mind were nourished.

So when those ads and promotions get too much, use your mental delete key. Do not let them reach you. Use your meme.

Wishing you calm and mental clarity.


©Carole Bell 2016 Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything.

You can write to her at:


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