Friday, August 22, 2014

Creating Space for Something Supportive

When you let go of what's no longer serving your life, you create the space for something new and supportive to come on in.

I've seen this many, many times in my client's lives, and in my own.

Recently I worked with a client who is an actress. (I'll give more details than I usually do, with my client's permission.) She came across a file she hadn't looked at in over twenty years. It was filled with pay stubs from old acting jobs. She considered those her glory days. She was working non-stop and making a lot of money back then. The memories brought tears to her eyes.

She didn't want to let go of these pay stubs. She felt she didn't want to lose those memories. She was normally a strong and powerful women, but she seemed lost and afraid. I pointed out that she was clutching the pay stubs, looking pale, and diminished. I said it's hard to hold on to something out of fear. It keeps you in a distressed state. It makes your life a worse place to be.

She held on to the pay stubs, radiating fear.

I said that if she let go of being afraid of losing something, she would be open to possibilities. When we remove something that is emotionally chaotic and heavy, that takes up a lot of our mental and physical energy, we create openness. That allows the space for something to come into our lives that nurtures, feeds, and supports us. It's life giving, rather than life taking away.

I said that I thought  she would be more satisfied with be a working actress now. She relaxed and said that she would like that too. The fear was fading away. I could feel that she didn't want to hold on to that old way of living.

I worked with my client a week later. She told me a great story. Her family was a foster family for a dog. A woman came over to their home as a potential adapter of the dog. It turns out the dog wasn't the breed she was looking for. The great part about the story though was that this woman turned out to be the head of casting for Universal pictures. She ended up asking my client for her acting head shot.

This is just one of many stories I've experienced where letting go of clutter opened the doors for something that was life supporting.

I encourage you to let go of what's no longer supportive or life-giving, and experience the openness that comes with the letting go. Who knows what will take its place. It could be peace of mind, better health, a powerful insight, a supportive work opportunity, greater connection with people that matter in your life, a new positive friendship, self-acceptance...the list is endless.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lettting Go of Other's Beliefs

Sometimes we hold on to things because we are holding on to someone else's beliefs about the things in our life.

One of my clients came across things that made her feel uncomfortable. She was aware of her discomfort, but she still didn't want to let the items go. I asked her what benefits she was getting by hanging on to these items. She thought about it and then got an "ah-ha" experience. She said, "When I was a little girl, I used to tell my parents I didn't like certain things, and they told me that I was wrong."

I said that it's natural for us to adopt our parent's beliefs about the world. Some of the them are beneficial. Some of them are not. As we get older, we learn to root out the beliefs that don't serve us. Believing that she was wrong about her feelings wasn't serving her. Her feelings were actually truthful indicators. They were her way of knowing what was right and wrong for her.

Because of the openness that came from her realization, she was able to start letting go of the clutter.

Another client came across old photographs and other family history heirlooms. She never looked at them, but she felt she should keep them. She said that's what you're supposed to do. I said there's no supposed tos, there's only what supports you and serves your nature, or not. There's no universal thing that works for everyone. The world is filled with people with different needs.

She thought about it and said that way of hanging on to heirlooms was her mother's style of living. Her mother was very into keeping items from the past and reminiscing about them. But that wasn't my client's style of living. She liked the things that made her feel present in what was happening in her life now.

This realization helped my client to let go of the heirlooms.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Home is Wherever You Are

I often write about clutter busting a person's living space. But I like to expand the boundaries of home to include wherever you are, not just necessarily where you live. Whether you're standing in line, driving in a car, being at work, or visiting a friend -- whatever you're doing outside of our home, I like to consider that your home.

I like to extend the boundaries because it allows you to consider how you're feeling in any situation. Am I comfortable here? Is there anything here that's making me feel uncomfortable? Is there something I can do to change it? Do I need to leave this space?

It's bringing in that clutter-busting curiosity to any situation that you're in. It's saying that your whole life is important, not just where you live. And it's considering your comfort, wherever you go.

(This is a reprint of a previous blog post.)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Questioning the Bully

My client came across two boxes that she hadn't looked in for years. I suggested we take a look in the boxes. She said the boxes hadn't been opened in over three moves. She was scared to take a look.

I said it's worth looking at anything in your home or life that intimidates you because it's your life, not the thing in question's life. This thing stands in the way of you enjoying your life.

My client reluctantly opened a box. It was filled with a multitude of papers. She said she was afraid to go through them. I promised that by going through them, she wouldn't be afraid of them anymore. She took my word for it and we went through one piece of paper at a time.

There were manila folders stuffed with papers, bags with receipts, bank account statements and insurance papers from over ten years ago, notes to herself, unopened mail, and flyers. I kept asking her, "Do you need that piece of paper for your records, does it require any action on your part, or can you let it go?" This kept her focused on what was in front of her, and she surprised herself by being able to continually make many good decisions.

My client said, "Why did this feel so odious? It's actually easy to do."

I said that when you think about doing something that seems difficult, it tends to make it hard to take action. It seems like it's going to be overwhelming and painful. This keep a lot of people from clutter busting. But my experience is that when someone begins to take action, the momentum kicks in, and it's often easier than they thought.

In the midst of tossing, my client said, "I can't believe I moved this crap so many times."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Kind Look

I encourage you to take the goal out of clutter busting. The more you can be with yourself and the thing you are considering in the moment, the more open you can be, and it will be easier for you to make a decision.

Think of this as taking a kind look. You are finding your own way of being gentle with yourself during the clutter bust.

When I clutter bust for myself, I start by taking a moment to relax. I consciously take a deep breath. I let my mind go to a quiet place. Then I pick an area and just start looking around. I'm curious to find what's feeling off. This approach has a way of turning my clutter radar on.

This also helps reduce any blame for things being the way they are.

Try finding a kind way for you to take a look.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Gem

Imagine you are a gem in the setting of your home. Feel your shine. 

Is there anything in your life space that is diminishing your brilliance? 

How valuable is something that shrinks and clouds who you are? 

Are you ready to remove this thing?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Saying "No" to Others

For a couple of recent clients, their relationship with certain people in their lives was clutter.

They had people in their lives who would unload their problems on them. My clients would listen to these people complain about their lives. It would exhaust them.

One of my clients had a window washer that came to her home to work only when he had problems to tell her. She also had a house cleaner who would spend some of her work time talking about her problems. She would listen to their problems and feel used and drained afterwards.

Another client would spend time during the day trying to help friends and sometimes strangers with their personal issues. It took time away from her business and her own personal needs.

My clients didn't feel okay with telling these people, "No." They worried that these people would be upset with them.

I told my clients that doing something for others so that they'll be happy, but that in the end drains you, is just like letting someone take money out of your bank account, or take things from your home.

Our energy and time is currency. When we wake up in the morning, we have a certain amount of energy. We also have our available time. We use that currency during the day to do the things that we want to do and that are important to us. We also use our time and energy currency to take care of unexpected things that are need our attention.

But when we sacrifice our time and energy for others needs, taking away from what's essential for our well-being, we suffer. We can make it okay and endure, but it takes a great toll.

I told my clients that it's okay to say, "No" to others. There may be a part of you that feels uncomfortable saying no. It can seem strange at first to stand up for yourself. You might worry how other people will think about you.

My suggestion to them all was to try to say "No," and see how it feels. My experience is that there's a strength that comes from taking care of yourself. Most people actually respect that strength when you use it. If someone doesn't respect it, you can be sure that you would not have benefited from helping them anyway. And they probably wouldn't have felt better, either.