Understanding That “Nothing” is Something

Dear Reader:

I was, admittedly, at one time the clutter queen. Everything around me was full of something…and most of those somethings were useless…just taking up space. I must have driven mother nuts…since she was just the opposite…she was a  minimalist long before the term came into vogue.

Like her, later however, I realized that raising three children alone takes every ounce of your strength… just to keep the daily routine of jobs and schools on track. I neither had the energy or desire to spend weekends playing “pick up sticks” clothes, toys, coats, jackets, and sports equipment.

Yelling at  my  children to do so wasn’t working either…I put up with enough conflict at school…to have any patience left at home.

It was only after Tommy went off to college that I slowly started reclaiming the house…and quite honestly it was only after my ‘little c’ diagnosis that suddenly cluster started suffocating me. I finally realized it also stunted my creativity….too many useless things hovering around me…smothering me in every facet of my life.

Another positive shout-out for the pandemic…I am saving lots of money not shopping….I haven’t bought an outfit…blouse or pants…in the last four months…a record for me. Before the pandemic…I would meet friends for lunch and then we would usually go to department stores, garden, or gift shops…and I never left without clothing, plants or decor.

Amazon. com is probably my biggest bill of the month…but it is basically just an accumulation of books and gifts for the grandchildren. When one isn’t going anywhere except around family…one doesn’t feel a need for any new clothing every month or so.

Thus…my closets are now pretty bare…having sent boxes of clothes/clutter to charity organizations all over town.

It’s true…if you haven’t worn  an article of clothing in a year…


And speaking of the Japanese…In their culture….their eyes are trained at an early age to see empty spaces in art, religion, design, business and life, not as  empty spaces… but as “spaces full of nothing.

Empty spaces are filled with possibility…shrouded by the unknown until the time is right to be revealed. Every time I change my mantel- for holidays or just a ‘new look’ …there is a gap or interval of time when the mantel is completely empty…

Each time I go through this transition…I admire more fervently the beauty of the empty mantel and all the possibilities my imagination conjures up…I enjoy the fullness of nothing. There is an uncluttered elegance to a bare mantel…a refreshing restraint in the room that seems, somehow inviting.

*(Mother…it took awhile…but your minimalist  genes are sprouting.)

So until tomorrow…What I have finally realized is when I go through my “purging” moods…that I have outgrown so many objects I once adored…because they halt my ability to see things in a new light.   Try this readers… remove a picture from a wall, clear off table tops, or remove a piece of furniture from a room. Suddenly…the room has grown larger…***Actually you have just made space for yourself to continue growing.

We have gotten a few hit and miss showers over the weekend…but more missed than hit and the ‘hits” are weak…lasting only precious minutes…still my prayer tree is answering my prayer for rain…a little at a time….caught this photo right after one spotty shower.

Another plant has a bloom on it and with Doodle’s help have identified it…..a little, tiny hydrangea bush…believe me the little bloom (enlarged for the photo) takes up most of the plant that is only about a foot or less across. I think this is an example of a bush being planted in the wrong location…not happy or growing. But still pretty! 🙂


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Understanding That “Nothing” is Something

  1. Rachel Edwards says:



  2. Becky Dingle says:

    Thank goodness…with the times…we change as we realize possessions mean nothing…relationships everything.


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