Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What takes the place of clutter?

Lately I've noticed that clutter shuts my clients off from something really basic. I want to call it their connection with life. There's a real undercurrent of feeling in everybody -- a joy -- in being alive. Just by itself. Not being alive with a brand new car, or with the perfect mate, or with the dream job. It's simply the aliveness.

There's this innate joy in everybody of the feeling of being alive.

If you're not alive, there's no you to enjoy anything in your life. Your aliveness is the essential element. Not your body, but the animating force inside of it.

There's something about clutter that covers that up. It's like there's a car alarm going on outside your window, constantly. You can get used to it, even though it's still there, bothering you. By your getting used to it, clutter takes away the most precious thing you've got -- that awareness of being alive.

What I've been doing lately is after clients let go of clutter, I ask them how it feels. They say, "I feel this peacefulness -- this excitement -- this vibration -- I feel happy." This happiness is not based on anything but feeling the life current.

My experience is that this is the best feeling that there is.

That doesn't mean you sit in a field with nothing except your aliveness. It's not like that's all you need. But if your aliveness is covered up, there's nothing in this life that will satisfy you lastingly. There's nothing that will give you the joy you're looking for, in and of itself.

As you let go of something, try as an experiment to see how you feel after it is gone. What do you notice in your body, mind, and heart? What takes its place?

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If you need help with finding and removing the clutter so you can take back your life, you can contact me at brooks@clutterbusting.com and set up a free twenty-minute clutter busting consultation. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Bowl

A recent client had a bowl filled with stuff on a counter in her living room. It had been a while since she took a look in the bowl. We went through each item in the bowl. She didn't care for any of them. She let go of everything in the bowl.

Then I asked her about the bowl. She said liked the bowl. It made her happy.

I asked my client how she would feel about leaving the bowl empty. I suggested this because she had a habit of putting things in the bowl and then forgetting about them. I said she wasn't alone. It's common for people to have bowls or baskets that they end up filling with stuff and then ignoring. The containers become trash cans that never get emptied.

I said if the bowl was left empty, she could enjoy the bowl as it is. It would become a piece of art that uplifted her.

I told my client that the empty bowl would also be a nice reminder of the joy of open space.  She could tell herself the bowl was holding space.

She liked that idea and left the bowl empty.

I spoke with my client later in the week. 

She said, "I love to contemplate the bowl." She also said that the held space inspired her to clutter bust all the flat surfaces in her living room. They were now empty like the bowl. She said it was very relaxing.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stories from the Clutter Busting Front Lines

I want to share some memorable moments from this week's clutter busts.

A client had an old beat up torn hat that she wasn't wearing. She didn't want to throw it away because she felt it would only add to the landfill. 

I said if she hung on to the hat, her home would become a landfill. 

She said she was tired of living that way, and she let go of the hat.

........

Another client was feeling stuck over letting go of a self-help book. She'd had the book for years, but never connected with it. She felt it was arrogant and selfish to say she didn't like something.

I said that it's okay to say no to something you don't like. It's your job to take care of yourself in that way. If it's not part of your life, you get to say so, and remove it.

She liked that idea, and let the book go.

........

A different client had a collection of hundreds of books in his home, garage, and in his kindle. Part of him was proud of his collection. Another part was bothered that he had so many books. He felt overwhelmed and hadn't been able to do anything about the situation.

I asked him how long it took for him to read a book. He said about a month and a half. I said that came out to about ten books a year. He had more books than he could read in his lifetime. Plus the overwhelming presence of the books was taking away any pleasure he got from the books he did read.

My client said that it was sobering to see how he actually related to the books, versus how he thought he should relate to them. He didn't want to live in an overwhelming library anymore. With his clarity intact, he client began going through and letting go of books.

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This weekend I encourage you to pick a small area of your home and take a curious and honest look around. Pick up an item in that area and see if it still fits your life or not. Remember, you have things in your life to serve you, not for you to serve your things. It helps to keep coming back to, "Do I like and use this, or can I let it go?" Keep coming back to your happiness as a guide.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Creating Space

I recently worked with a client who had a large stack of magazines on a chair next to her bed. She had been holding on to the magazines because she kept telling herself she was going to read them. But she wasn't reading the magazines. 

Not only that, the presence of the magazines was disturbing the peace in her bedroom. They didn't inspire rest. The magazines were a constant reminder that she wasn't reading them. They made her feel wrong. 

Seeing the situation for what it was, and how it was making her feel lousy, she decided to let go of the magazines. She removed them from her bedroom.

We took a look at the space she created in the corner by her bed. There was only a wooden chair in the space. I asked her to notice and feel the open space she had created. I said it was like the space was peacefully sitting in the chair. My client liked the serenity she had created for herself. 

Space is a thing, just as much as the stuff in your home. When you remove clutter, you create open space in your home. It's important to have open space. Open space is nurturing and healing. It creates a feeling of calm. 

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If you need help with finding and removing the clutter so you can take back your space, you can contact me at brooks@clutterbusting.com. We can set up a free twenty-minute clutter busting consultation. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Clutter Spoils What Matters

My client found a plastic storage container in the back of his garage. It was filled with Star Wars memorabilia.

I asked if he still looked at, enjoyed, and used the Star Wars collectables. He said he hadn't since he was in high school. I asked if he would be okay with letting them go.

He looked down and said he didn't know. I asked what he was feeling. He said, "What if one day I want them again?"

I said the only thing you can be certain of is how you feel about something now. That's all you have.

If you don't like and use something and you won't let that thing go because you are worried that one day you might want it, you are living in fear. It's a fear of something that is not even happening. It's a fantasy. That fear spoils the current moment.

I pointed out that he sounded tired when he talked about the Star Wars items. He also looked pale and timid. I said holding on to things out of fear depletes you. It takes away your life. When something takes life from you, it's clutter.

I asked him about something that he liked. He talked about his books on audio engineering. He said that he loved reading those books. He put the knowledge that he got from them to use.

I said that when he talked about those books, he came to life. He sat up. His eyes got bright. He sounded strong. He felt alive. I said that's how you know when something serves you now.

My client saw the contrast and decided to let the Star Wars items go.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Mixed Bag

Sometimes a person, thing, or activity is a mixed-bag in your life.  It gives you some pleasure, but it also causes some pain. We tend to focus on the pleasure, and ignore the pain. But the pain still takes a toll.

A recent client had a record player in the guest room of her home. I asked if she liked listening to records on the player. She said she did, but it was sometimes a pain because the record player was old and it didn't always work.

I asked my client if she, her husband, or any of her friends knew how to fix the record player. She said she asked around, but no one knew how to fix it. 

I asked if she would be open to letting the record player go and getting a new one. She was resistant. She talked about how record players had always been a part of her life. She said she was feeling nostalgic.

I pointed out she didn't say anything positive about her current record player. Her only comment about it had been negative.

The only thing that truly matters is how you feel about something now.

My client thought about it and said it was too hard to listen to music on her record player because she kept expecting it to stop working during a song. Listening to music that way always made her anxious. She decided to donate the player for parts, and purchase a new one.

Is there any thing, person, or activity in your life that you have mixed emotions about? Take a deeper look and ask if there's something you can do to fix that, or would it be best to let that go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Too Much of a Good Thing

My client said, "I have a problem. I have more clothes than I have space for."

She said a similar thing about her books. "I love reading books, but there's no way I can read them all. I don't even know what books I've got, I have so many. At times I've bought the same book twice. "

I could tell she was feeling badly and alone about being in this situation. I told her that she's not alone. Many other people have these same clutter circumstances.

I said sometimes there's something you really like, but you have so much of it, that your experience is also unpleasant. You don't know where everything is. You get overwhelmed thinking about all the items. Sometimes you buy something twice because you didn't know you already had the thing.

The situation is a mixed bag. There's both pleasure and pain. It helps to be matter-of-fact about what's happening. There's too much of a good thing and you're suffering. It doesn't serve you.

I said that she could tell herself, "I love to read, but the amount I have makes it uncomfortable and painful for me. I don't like to feel that way about my books. So that means some of the books will have to go. So that I can have books to read and enjoy, but not so many books that it hurts me."

Then you go into the books, or clothes (or anything else you feel overwhelmed about), and ask, "Is this something I love and enjoy now, or not?" You're discriminating between what brings you joy, and what you are sort of okay about, or don't actually care for. The latter two are the things to begin to let go of.

Remind yourself again, "If I keep everything, I feel lousy and can't enjoy myself. To protect my peace of mind and my health, I'm going to use my discerning eye and ask, "Will keeping this add to my serenity, or will it be too much for me?"

The great thing about doing this process is it puts you in touch with yourself. You are considering yourself with each choice. Each time you make a decision, you create a stronger connection with your inner-knowingness. That experience alone brings greater joy. It makes you less dependent on your things to make you happy.

I told my client that the clutter busting takes the time it takes. I said at times she might feel like she'll never get through everything and she should give up. But I encouraged her to be patient with herself. Her endeavors will pay off.

We began the questioning of her things.