(Excerpted from Your Spacious Self by Stephanie Bennett Vogt)
No one would argue that most of us do too much or have more possessions than we need. Or both. With our lives swept up in a swirl of attachments, worry, and endless, mechanical “doing,” our minds become fuzzy on what stays and what goes, what matters and what doesn’t. As humans, it is in our nature to experience clarity and spaciousness all the time. The problem is that we lose focus, get off balance, and forget how.
So how do we dial it back or even begin to reduce the noise, release the stuff that doesn’t serve and support us, and connect with that which makes our hearts sing?
One minute at a time. In present time.
No matter how miniscule the task or effort, the fact is that clearing anything consciously and gently, as this book teaches, creates an energetic opening – a spaciousness – that will work on you slowly and surely to soften your attachments to things, beliefs, and outcomes.
Whether your clutter challenge is the stuff spilling out of the closet or the noise spinning around in your head, or both, here’s what I know for sure – distilled to its bare essence:
- Clutter (and chatter) is not the problem
- We do not need fixing
- Without awareness, there is no clearing.
Let me explain.
In the end, it is not about tackling the unsightly messes, the boxes of who-knows-what mildewing in the basement, or the clothes that don’t fit.
It’s not about the mountain of mail, the emails that invade your inbox, or the pile of medical bills that the insurance company refuses to cover.
It’s not about the care that needs new tires, the crazy-ass housemate who won’t turn her music down, or the neighborhood dog that barks all night.
Nor is it about “fixing” yourself.
It’s not about the despair you feel over the dishes that no one bothers to was and put away, the to-do lists that get longer by the second, or the fact that you have zero time for yourself.
It’s not about the hopelessness you feel, your inability to say no, or the fear of someone discovering your dark secret.
Clearing is not about any of those things. It is how…you…relate…to…them.
It is the space between the problem and the solution where the real juice is, where the real clearing happens. And the only way to release what isn’t working for you is to enter that sometimes-scary zone called feeling.
Feeling the overwhelm, resistance, attachment, guilt, sadness, worry, despair, shame…
Feeling it all- without judging it as good or bad or taking it personally.
We do not need fixing. The core of our being is not broken. We humans are simply out of touch with our true selves and out of balance. And, by extension, our homes and world are out of balance because we are. Not the other way around.
When you can allow feelings to arise in all their messy glory without fixing or judging or personalizing, tat is when the clutter you experience “out there” – in your home and life – magically melts away.
No matter what your clutter challenge is, as you practice clearing in this way, you’ll begin to notice some shifts taking place in your life. Who knows what that might look like for you. It might start as a tiny peephole of space that wasn’t there before. An ah-ha. A kindness. A quieter dog. A surprise check in the mail. Less junk mail. Fewer pounds. A job offer. Fewer buttons getting pressed. Better sleep. More energy. More joy.
More real, spacious you.
Support the Journey
In this journey, there are two things you can almost count on: First, there is no way to predict what will happen as you clear; and second, no matter how good your intentions may be, if there is a monkey mind lurking in your head space, it is easy to fall off the wagon, get discouraged—or plain lost.
For that reason I am including these reminders to help bring you back. Write them down in your journal or on a Post-it note. If you can remember to adopt these guiding principles as part of your daily practice, I can almost guarantee that you will clear more stress and clutter than you ever imagined possible.
- Be Curious. Enter your life with wonder and curiosity. Pretend that you know nothing. Be willing to be pleasantly surprised.
- Allow Silence. Silence creates openings and opportunities to feel. Don’t be afraid of it.
- Invite Mystery. There is no way to predict what will happen. Accept mystery in your life as a legitimate state of being.
- Take Your Time. Clearing is a journey to be lived not a task to be completed by a certain deadline. Go as slow as you need to, but keep moving. When you are rushed, vital connections are lost.
- Stop and Feel. The daily practices will open you up to new information. Notice and allow emotional weather to arise without taking it personally.
- Don’t Identify. Most of what you’ll be feeling is stuckness that comes from the past, from other people, and from your (and other people’s) living spaces. The weather will always pass to the degree that you don’t make it “yours.”
- Have Fun. Don’t take yourself or anything that happens too seriously. Being less attached to an outcome will make it easier to clear; it will raise your energy level, expand your perspective, and lighten your load.
Also, stay tuned for space clearing expert Stephanie Bennett Vogt’s latest book, A Year for You, forthcoming in October, 2019!