The Dough Starter. What is it? Like sourdough bread, where did the original “starter” come from? It takes a little of the starter to add to the rest of your recipe in order to complete the process. The result is a reward of warm, out of the oven bread. Butter melts into the divots and the options for layering on top of that are endless.
Funny, I thought. That’s the same idea behind that one drawer in everyone’s kitchen or hall (maybe both) that collects stuff. Oh sure, you clean it out every now and then. Typically that time comes when the drawer requires longer than one minute in a series of mashing and rearranging moves that do not offer (drawer) closure. So it’s cleaned out, but aha, you have been left with another version of “Dough Starter”. That pile of what-nots and necessary thingies that don’t really have a spot all their own. They lie in a small pile assembled in the now cleaned drawer in solidarity. These perfectly good things, not ready for the trash, all have one notion in common. No home to call their own. Perhaps alone they are not significant enough to be housed in a home of their own. Yet without the item, that one piece of information that has the ability to morph into an item of great importance the task may be impossible to complete.
Similarly, the Follow-up Folder is on my desk now. It is currently void of things to do. All that remains is the “Dough Starter”. There you will find unrelated pages. They relate to obscure notes, phone numbers and instructions that no longer have a current need. I’m thinking hey, it might be vital again, one day. They are then joined with the clipped pages that relate to some task that has been reported complete, but is it? Once confirmed, the paper trail can be filed. But what remains is the “Dough Starter”. Like all “Dough Starters” each bit of the starter is required. The recipe is not complete without all of the vital bits. What is otherwise produced might lack that one thing that should have remained in the “Dough Starter” but was thought to be inconsequential to it.
Never underestimate the “Dough Starter”. It can make your progress or it can break your progress. For example, a one-time Gate Repair man’s phone number was not worthy of a file card of its own. Where would I file the card? Would I remember the Company’s name or the Contractor’s name? Of course I wouldn’t. There it went, into the “Dough Starter”. Years later, when asked…the “Dough Starter” did not disappoint. There, in the plastic security blanket of a page protector was the slip with the information needed once more. That once in a blue-moon place, safely housed in the “Dough Starter”, offered another delicious bite of success without fuss.
Do not misunderstand me. Keeping the “Dough Starter” pure and viable is important. That drawer you are not able to shut, the folder too full to see the identifying tab at the top of, or even that stack of old purses that mysteriously manages to shove a favorite purse under the bottom of the pile is calling. (Closet purses are in cahoots with Dryer socks after all). Maybe some of your favorite old handbags are enjoying the top of the heap but like the de-cluttering lady says, if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. That being said, I do have an old macramé purse in the “Dough Starter” pile of my closet. It has come out to save me a time or two on Halloween or that themed dress day at the office.
Do you have an emotional “Dough Starter”? Is there that quiet place inside you can go to? Clean out that sacred space of the things that no longer serve you. Keep the important and unresolved issues there until you can find the right place to safely store them. You will be left with that same little pile of odd feelings and emotions that you aren’t quite sure what to do with. Leave them right there. That is for your very most treasured “Dough Starter”. Do not force it. Let it age and it will come to you with just the right purpose to complete your progress at just the right time. It is the key ingredient in the recipe called YOU.