The two bookstore talks in Seattle, WA this past weekend - East West bookstore, and Ravenna 3rd Place books - were powerful and exciting. There were good sized crowds that asked some great questions!

Here's what stood out for me:

A woman said she'd been clutter busting like crazy for about a month and then she just stopped letting go altogether. She said she felt badly that she hadn't done anything for the past week, and she was afraid that she would never start up again. I asked her to go into more detail. She said that she was exhausted after her busy month.

I said it sounded like she needed to take a break so she could recharge. There's no exact procedure or deadline to clutter busting. It's not about pushing ourselves. We begin and see what happens. If we need to take a break, that's okay. We can come back to it when we're ready. The great thing about clutter busting is it allows us to treat ourselves tenderly. We're learning how to be kind to ourselves in the process.

Another woman talked about how hard it was for her to start the clutter busting process. There were tears of frustration in her eyes. She talked about the vast amount of things in her home with a bleakness that she would never get to it all.

I told her that it was clear she was overwhelmed. Most people are when they feel stuck in clutter. What was working against her, and most people, was seeing everything and thinking it had to all be done. Trying to take it all in and figure it out is too much. It helps to stop and realize we are delicate in this situation. We can only work in small amounts. And that's okay. We can work in doable portions. Maybe that means working on one stack at a time. Or setting a timer for a half hour and stopping when it goes off. We need gentle consideration from ourselves in this situation. This approach sounded appealing to her.

The kind approach was appealing to many people at those talks. I think we are used to hearing the tough approach. "This is what you need to do. " "This is what you should do." "You're wrong if you don't do this." But this harsher approach often makes people fold. It's too much in a situation that's already too much.

When we treat ourselves kindly, we open up. It's in that openness that we start to blossom.