Restoring Ourselves

"Immediately after the quake in Japan, Katsutaro Hamada, 79, fled to safety with his wife. But then he went back home to retrieve a photo album of his granddaughter, 14-year-old Saori, and grandson, 10-year-old Hikaru."

"Just then the tsunami came and swept away his home. Rescuers found Hamada's body, crushed by the first floor bathroom walls. He was holding the album to his chest."

The power behind our holding on to things that don't serve us is mighty. It can be hard to break this grip even though it causes us pain and suffering. I've gone into many clients homes where they tell me they have been living under the dire influence of their clutter for years, but haven't been able to do anything about it.

I tell people, it's not their fault. It's not that they could have done something and didn't. Being in the presence of things that are not serving us now, is debilitating. It weakens us. There's a stagnation from clutter that makes it hard to think and take action. We are under the influence of this stuff.

It helps to shed a strong light on the effects of clutter. We are living amidst toxins that weaken us. Because of the side-effects, we end up defending the things that are causing us pain. When we really see this, we start to lose sympathy for these things.

I believe our compassion for ourselves is greater than anything else. No matter how much stuff we are buried under, we can start to rely on the tonic of our basic self-love. It's what gives us courage to rise up amidst overwhelming chaos. Rising up can mean we decide to let go of a small stack of magazines we don't read. Or we take a look at our clothes and let go of what we no longer love to wear. We rise up by going through a kitchen drawer and tossing anything we don't use. We take back our life by clutter busting the trunk of our car, or eliminating papers we don't need from our files, or deleting old emails.

No action is too small. Every action restores us.