Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.
We’re all familiar with the word, “edit.” If we’ve spent anytime in school we know that the editing process is constant, consistent and continual. It would seem that the effort of learning the editing process is preparation for a life time spent engaging in it.
The teacher hands us back the paper with red markings; time to edit. The boss comes back with feedback on the project; let’s get to editing it. We seem to be spending more than we’re making; our finances need to get edited.
We edit papers, projects, plans, and procedures. We edit pictures to make ourselves look, or at least, feel better. We edit film, videos and soundtracks. Our wardrobes are constantly getting edited by the never ceasing and always persistent wave of fast fashion. Kitchens, bathrooms, offices and living spaces…always getting edited.
You see, our lives are lived in the ever present power of the edit.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Editing is a necessary part of life which we can’t get away from. But what happens when we give ourselves to the process of editing all things exterior while rarely paying mind to our outdated interior? What happens is that we edit ourselves by adding more in desperate hopes of feeling more.
By definition, to edit means to assemble by cutting and rearranging.
Did you catch that?—“To assemble by cutting away.” This is revealing to me, as my many attempts at editing had been far more concerned with the things that I would add, rather than the things I would “cut away.” In my attempts to “edit” myself, I’d actually confuse myself by adding more of anything to the everything that, when all was said and done, produced nothing.
We have closets full of clothes, and schedules packed with "too much," as a reminder of just how much we've added. Clutter on the outside can be telling of the clutter on our insides. The plethora of thoughts keep us from actually being able to think. Our competing emotions don't allow us to really feel. And this all because our pursuit of editing ourselves we've interpreted as adding to ourselves.
There is something to be said, however about the “cutting away” part. I feel we can all benefit from a real life edit—one that focuses on addition by subtraction and gaining more by having less. We surely can have a conversation about the insurmountable amount of stuff we own. However, I’d like to think for a moment about the things in our internal worlds that could use some, “cutting away.” Are there old ways of thinking that need to be cut away? Do we have unhealthy beliefs we have to let go of? Is there a relationship we need to walk away from…this time, for good?
There’s so much to learn in the pursuit of living a more simple, mindful and intentional life. It takes a strong act of the will to resist the strong current of busyness, distraction, haste and urgency that most of us live our lives in. It takes courage and commitment to edit our lives. Yet, when we pause, slowdown, observe and asses ourselves, we’re able to see how editing by limiting will set us free. We'll leave more and actually begin to live more.
So what are some things that can use some “cutting away,” in your life? How can you add to your life by subtracting from it? What can you walk away from in order to walk toward something better? Your responses to these simple questions will introduce you, more and more to the continual journey of a real life edit.
I’d love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to leave a comment.
Remember to live today, a story worth telling tomorrow.
- Joel Gonzalez