Here are some highlights from last evening's clutter busting workshop in NYC:
A woman brought a bag full of papers from her desk at home. (I have people bring their clutter to the workshops so they can experience going through their stuff and asking whether it serves them or they can let it go.) The papers were business in nature. She had a thriving business and a vast amount of paper to go along with it. As we went through the papers, it became apparent that she was exhausted. She worked all the time and never took a break. The backlog of papers was a symptom of taking on too much. The clutter wasn't the paper, but that she wasn't taking care of herself. I said that it's okay to schedule in some rest. It would serve her business and herself.
Another woman brought in three paperback books that she'd been holding onto for a number of years. She wasn't reading the books. She felt that the writing was valuable, and that since she is writer, she should read the books to inspire her to write. But she wasn't writing. And she wasn't reading the books. And she was making herself miserable by putting herself in this predicament. She leaned forward, looking ill and sad. Then she said that she really liked reading Stephen King short stories. Her face glowed. She sat up. She was alive. I told her so. The group noticed too. I said sometimes we get in our minds to do something because we think it will be good for us, but it isn't. We often ignore that detrimental part and keep pushing for the thing we should be happening in our lives. But the days of pushing ourselves to do something we really don't want to do has to come to an end because it doesn't help us and it's unkind. It helps to look for the things that actually make us thrive.
Someone else said that she spent a lot of money on Martha Stewart brand scrap booking supplies that she wasn't using. But she didn't want to let them go. She said that she saw the supplies on an infomercial and had to have them. And then they just sat in her home, taking up space. She was stuck. I said the only thing we are concerned with is our basic reaction to our stuff. We either like and use the stuff. Or they're sitting there unused, spoiling our home, and causing us distress of some kind. We may wish we were using these things, and liking them. But if we're not, then it's not for us. Our wishes for our things are not our actual experience. We can't live with wishes. It's exhausting. We're better off letting go of the things that aren't supporting us, so we have the space and time to enjoy what we do love.
The last thing I wanted to share was someone who was talking about the things that were taking up space in her home. She seemed down. So I asked what she liked. She said, "Space and freedom!" She was happy. That sums it up.