When something is part of our life, it's no longer just a thing, it becomes an experience. We are in connection with this thing. If it's a shirt we love, we enjoy wearing the shirt. The shirt feels good on our body. We feel good when we see ourselves in the mirror. We feel joy when we take the shirt off the hanger and put it on our body. We have a tangible relationship with the shirt.
Anything that's part of our life is experienced and appreciated by us. We enjoy driving our car. We appreciate our cell phone. We like that our computer makes our life easier. We love the interactions that we have with our friends. We relish the fresh food we took out of our exceptional fridge and cooked on our amazing stove and are enjoying with our favorite silver ware and plates. We're not pretending to like these things. We like them. It gives us joy to interact with the things that matter to us.
The things we don't use, that are neglected, that we don't care for are clutter. Maybe they once enthralled us, or we really wanted to enjoy them, or someone said we would love a particular thing, but we are not enjoying them. We don't have a relationship with these things. They stay things and don't become an experience for us. And because they are not an experience, they create a stagnant effect in our lives. They lack the vitality that comes with interaction.
I recently worked with a client who has a very vibrant and alive personality. But then we came across a box of things she hadn't looked at in seventeen years and her vitality disappeared. It was like she went from being a sun to a glacier. That's the stagnant effect of clutter. I pointed out the loss and she got it and decided she didn't want the adverse side effects and let the stuff in the box go.
I encourage you to notice the experience of the relationship you have with the things that matter to you. See how they give you life and keep a current of joy going in you. Some of them are obvious. Many are simple things that are overlooked.
And then notice the contrast of the stuff in your life that are just things. These are things in your environment that are there but you don't interact with, that you no longer care for. Notice the effect of their presence on you. We're pretty simple creatures. Something either brings us pleasure or it dulls us. It's okay to extract the stagnant things from our lives. It's very much like trimming dead leaves from a house plant. When we do, the healthy parts of the plant benefit.