It was ignored for a very long time. Months, maybe a year. The little white icon that pops up on the IPad screen: Your storage is full. Manage in Settings. Like many other things in life, I kept ignoring it, thinking it would go away or I would deal with it later.
Then came the day when I tried to open up a new page to write a new document, and ARGHHHHH! It would not open. Worse yet, I could not retrieve any of the older documents I had written. All those words, all those pages! Panic set in. I knew they were in the cloud somewhere, but I had no idea how to get them out of there. With none of my kids around to coach me through this (they would laugh at me anyway) I caved in to the only thing I could do. Call Apple Support.
The voice of a very nice young man got on the line. I prefaced the rest of the conversation with this statement: Explain everything to me as if you were talking to your mom.
I could picture the grin on his face as he chuckled. And step by step, he patiently coached me on how to manage my storage so I could have more room to update my settings so I could have room to load my previous documents and make room for more. After all my anxious questions, “Where is the ICloud? Where do these items go? What happens if I delete this?” he said to me, “You’re doing great! You got this!”
“Don’t worry, he told me, your items are still there and you will have access to them. You just have to manage where you place them. ”
Ha! I think to myself. That’s the story of my life.
From his desk at Apple Support he doesn’t see the piles of items in the spare room or the boxes in the garage or the bins of photos that need to be sorted in the upstairs closet. Managing items is an ongoing problem of mine, my nemesis for years. Those closest to me also try to coach me through longterm fault. For my birthday a few weeks ago my dear friend gave me the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up after she saw me browsing through it in the bookstore. One of the statements author Marie Kondo makes is this: To truly cherish the things that are important to you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.
This is true for my IPad. To make room for more I must take time to delete some of the photos that are taking 8.2 GB on my 12GB device.
This is true for my closet. To be able to neatly put away the piles of laundry on the living room couch I must discard some of those tops stuffed in my drawers I haven’t worn for years.
This is true for those long term anxieties that have been stuffed down in my soul. Worries about when am I ever going to get this stuff in my house organized. Worries about my grown children’s future. Fears and apprehension about their goals, and mine, being achieved. Fears and anxieties over personal traits I need to work on.
All this stuff drains energy from me. Wastes too much space in my mind and in my day. Keeps me from being who I fully want to be.
Last night the signal that blares to me that I must learn to manage my own personal settings is mirrored in front of me.
Mirrored in my own daughter.
In the angst of anticipating the 6pm announcement of a college acceptance, a myriad of emotions and tears come spilling out of unseen places…..will or will she not get in, my classes are too hard, I can’t study for all these AP classes, I keep trying and trying and I can’t get where I want to be….
My heart breaks that my daughter is caught in this swirl of expectations and achievement and information overload. I had no clue how much tension she was storing underneath the surface until she broke. Her system was full. She had reached maximum capacity.
I had not noticed the signals that she was on overload. That she was feeling so much pressure to keep up schoolwork and grades. And so quietly, calmly, even though my heart was breaking, I did what Apple Support did for me that morning: coach my sweet daughter to look through her days and examine what we could delete from her busy life.
What was necessary and what was extra.
What was too much.
What to do if she was feeling anxious and fearful.
Most of all, what she needed to focus on to keep space free in her mind to relax and breathe.
“Mom,” my daughter told me later, “when we were fixing our phones last week the tech told me that when a IPhone starts reaching its maximum capacity, it starts acting strange. Not functioning correctly. I guess that’s what was happening to me.”
iPhones and IPads come in different capacities: 12 GB, the 32GB and the 64GB. It has nothing to do with their efficiency, it’s merely how they are designed.
All are designed differently. Each has different gifts and capacities. And in this crazy world of achievement and information and overload that we all get into I need to observe the messages silently put out that the expectations can be too much. In my children’s world. And in my own.
In those places where we gain more space by deleting the extra, we need to replace the busyness with places of rest. Places to shut down and restore. Places to recharge in quietness.
For the benefit of freeing up the clutter of our minds, our souls, our days is that we gain space.
And when we gain space, we are more available to receive what is around us.