I’d like to share a timely and pertinent gift I received today. I hope you will find it helpful too!
After 10 years of the multi-tasking roles of wife, parent of an active young child, carpool driver, country dweller with pets and large animals, devoted daughter caregiver, home renovation manager, small business owner, student and spiritual seeker, my living spaces have become over filled with materials and memories that were once much needed and still have potential value. I have always been a fan of spring cleaning and joyfully tackle whole rooms, garages, garden sheds and closets with gusto 2 or 3 times a year. But after becoming a parent and shortly thereafter a caregiver to my mother more possessions were added. The major daily distractions, most of them completely enjoyable, reduced my time to thoroughly clear out to a few minutes or maybe a few hours per month- usually when not sleeping well very early in the morning.
After completing my required course of study for massage therapy (part time for 3 years) I found I had some time & space at last. But how to go about dispersing the build up of stuff? It was hard to know where and how to start. Because I have inherited my grandparents and parents thriftiness caused by living through the Dust Bowl in the Great Depression I am programed to save useful and valuable things which I thoroughly organized and plan how to use or share. BUT now I don’t need half of it or know exactly to whom I could give it! So a web search turned up A Year to Clear What is Holding You Back! by Stephanie Bennett Vogt distributed through DailyOM.com.
She calls her method of clearing clutter, the slow drip method. She uses all the major tools that most home organizers use but she weaves in looking for underlying emotional attachments and habitual patterns that may underpin our gathering instinct/logic borrowed from others. So I enrolled for a daily “lesson” for a year for a very reasonable cost. Often a lesson consists of a couple of sentences and a moment of contemplation building up to an exercise or video for 10-30 minutes once a week. (You can go back to the ones you’ve completed too.) It is totally doable and yet very empowering.
Today’s lesson was spot on for me, something that surprises me when I catch on to the fact that it is happening. Negative self-judgement or the poor “pitiful me” inner whisperings. Who doesn’t occasionally have it? Her post took it further into the underlying negative feedback loop “Things are against me to do well today.” There is a very subtle self-victimization that I want to STOP and clear out the mental clutter. Since I usually think of myself as a very positive person, I want to focus a laser beam to catch myself when I move into this space. Here is Stephanie’s personal experience of how she reframes the conversation. If you like this look further. She has several youtube videos. Try this one and go from there! https://youtu.be/By2IHlqxhC0
A Year to Clear What is Holding You Back! by Stephanie Bennett Vogt
Lesson 136: Zip It, Zap It
Stopping a mind that thrives on drama and is stuck on a default setting of doom and gloom, takes awareness, and lots of practice. If you took some of the stringy stuff I’ve been known to chew on over the years (with sound-effects included), here’s what detaching might look like (on paper):
- [Aghhh] The traffic is terrible, we’re going to be late to the airport, we’re going to miss our plane, our vacation is shot. Strike that.
- [Ugh] This task is taking forever. I don’t think I’ll ever finish clearing my piles. It’s time to check my emails. Strike that.
- [Groan] I have no time, there’s no food in the fridge, the house feels cold, I’m fried, this day has gone from bad to worse. Strike that.
What you don’t see, but is the key to the success of this practice, is me acknowledging and feeling the tightness around my shoulders; me noticing that my breathing is halting and shallow; me feeling out of control, afraid to make a mistake, hungry and running on vapors because I haven’t eaten all day and didn’t get much sleep the night before.
What unsupportive thoughts can you zap (nip, lance, strike) today? Right this second?