Work to purge trivial waste from your life


POSTED: Friday, February 27, 2009

Have you ever been reading and found a phrase that you hadn't heard before that really grabbed you?

Such was the case with me when I came across the phrase “;purging of all the dross of triviality”; while reading “;The Majesty of Calmness,”; by William George Jordan.

It was in a paragraph written about French artist Jean Francois Millet during a period when he was desperate and struggling. The painting referred to, “;Angelus,”; is now famous and hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris. It shows two farmers at twilight pausing from work to pray at the sound of the Angelus bell from a distant church.

Jordan writes, “;When Millet, the painter of the 'Angelus,' worked on his almost divine canvas ... he was painting against time, he was antidoting sorrow, he was racing against death. His brush strokes, put on in the early morning hours before going to his menial duties as a railway porter, in the dusk like that perpetuated on his canvas, meant strength, food and medicine for the dying wife he adored.

“;The art failure that cast him into the depths of poverty unified with marvelous intensity all the finer elements of his nature. This rare spiritual unity, this purging of all the dross of triviality as he passed through the furnace of poverty, trial, and sorrow gave eloquence to his brush and enabled him to paint as never before, as no prosperity would have made possible.”;

For some reason those words “;purging of all the dross of triviality”; seemed to jump off the page and grab me, for they so eloquently voiced what I strive for and try to impart to others.

The dictionary defines “;dross”; as the waste or scum that comes to the surface of melting metals; waste material; rubbish.

The word “;triviality”; is defined as things of little or no importance; trifle; insignificant.

In my work as a professional organizer, I encourage and help people to purge the trivial - the unnecessary, the inconsequential, the unimportant, the rubbish - to make room for what is really vital and meaningful in life and work.

In my life I've been on a perpetual mission to purge the dross of triviality in three areas: time use, things/possessions and thoughts. And now, with the economy as it is, I am purging the dross of triviality in my spending.

One of the first steps to purging is to become aware of existing triviality in your life. The purging of anything is a process. Each step, I feel, brings you closer to a purposeful life. It's been good to be progressively freer from lesser pursuits, possessions and thoughts.

If “;purging the dross of triviality”; resonates in you, I encourage you to join me in purging the trivia - in your time use, possessions, thought, life and finances.

How much richer, more refined and purposeful would our lives then be?

See you in two weeks!


Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Her column runs the second and fourth Fridays of each month. Contact her care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).