I just added a new Clutter Busting workshop. This one is in Evanston, IL. It's on the afternoon of May 16th. I have two Clutter Busting workshops coming up in San Diego and Los Angeles next month. If you live in these cities, I recommend signing up. People bring their clutter with them and I help them clutter bust in front of the group. It's a powerful and inspiring experience to see the letting go process in person. The workshops are listed on the right side of this page.
I'll be in Southern California the last two weeks of April working with clients. If you'd like to set up a Clutter Busting session with me, click on the email address under my photo to the right.
I was thinking about how we sometimes collect clutter around us as a defensive wall to keep from being hurt by the world. It feels like insulation. It can make us feel protected and safe. But the problem is, the clutter hurts us. It keeps us from feeling connected. Once we lose the experience of connection, we can’t be happy.
I worked with a client in her condo. Her stuff covered her floor so there was no place to walk. We had to step on and over things to get around. She went to work everyday. But then she came home and rarely left the house. She wanted to get out more, but she just couldn't do it.
She didn't interact with most of the things in her home. Many were still in their original wrappers. She didn't feel at home in her home. She seemed very unsettled. She'd sit on the edge of her couch and her eyes would dart around a lot. She felt like a hunted animal.
I told her that all the things in her home were the ingredients of her fortress. A fort is meant to keep out invaders. The thing is, no one was trying to attack or hurt her. There were no invaders. I said, "It turns out, you were already safe. But now the fort has become a problem." It was hard for her to hear this because she'd become invested in living that way. I told her it was natural to defend her fort because she'd spent a lot of time building it. But the fact that she hired me meant that her home was her enemy.
My client told me that she was estranged from her mother. Her mother had been very controlling over the decisions she made in her life. My client ended up shutting her mother out of her life. But it was hard for her too because she missed her mother. The situation made her feel sad.
I had her make a fist. (You can do this too.) I told her to keep making the fist. After thirty seconds she said her hand was starting to get tired. I said, "That fist is protecting the inside of your hand. But nothing outside of you is trying to hurt the soft and sensitive part of your hand...But the fist is hurting your hand." She stopped holding the fist and shook her hand.
I said that she shut down and isolated herself as a form of protection from her mother. But this living fist was hurting her. It cut her off from her fragile self and the connection with a loved one. I suggested if she lived with openness again, she might come up with a new and better way to have a relationship with her mother. I asked her if she was open to trying to live a different way. She said yes.
I got out a trash bag and started asking her about the things on the floor. I only showed her one thing at a time. I asked in an easy way if she liked it, or not. I wanted to keep it really simple for her. I knew she was a sensitive person. Most people that have clutter are sensitive people. We're protective of ourselves because of our great sensitivity. By clutter busting, we see which of the things in our homes are hurting us so we can remove them and start feeling the connection with ourselves and others again.
My client ended up removing her fort. The new open space made her feel much more present. I think the openness made her feel safer. When we're in fear, openness is scary. But when we see that we're not in danger, being open makes us feel safer in our natural power.
She said that she’d always lived her life in defense from her mother. She never felt strong enough to approach her mother with an open heart. She decided to send some flowers to her mother.