Let me ask you a question. What is obstructing your happiness?
The answer may surprise you, because it may be right under your nose. Is it your environment?
It could very well have a great deal to do with it. Our surroundings are an outward representation of how we feel. Our home is a mirror of our soul.
The possessions we hold onto that fill our bedside tables, overflow our “work” surfaces, leak out of the hall closets and cover guest room beds – this is the stuff of unhappiness! You may say ‘Come on Tamara. you can’t be serious, it’s just stuff that I …’
1) don’t have time to repair, begin, finish etcetera
2) was important to my mother, my child, my old self
3) plan on doing one day
I mean the list goes on. But wait, how does that stuff make you feel?
Really sit with that one. Go into a room that you feel like you want to forget about, that you shut the door on. What are you really hiding in there? It’s not the clutter! It lurks under it, sometimes deep under it. It can be a buried marriage, a past job that we felt unappreciated for, so we continue to hold onto the papers. It’s the child that has left the nest, the dream that we walked away from.
I will tell you something that happened last week that motivated this post. I was invited into a home that was completely overrun by clutter. This woman’s home was so buried, there was not one surface that you could eat on, there was stuff on top of the refrigerator, the dining room table, the den sofa, the stairs (all the way up). The sound of my voice calling to this poor soul was muffled by the stuff. I had trouble locating the client a few rooms away! She said that she wanted to get a handle on her business, that she had trouble focusing. I asked her were her check ledger was. She literally had to push books, binders, newspapers, notes from on top of her desk to dig for it. As things fell to the floor I insisted that it wasn’t important, that I wanted to see if she could locate such a vital piece in running a business. She looked woeful. As we moved through the house we came to the kitchen. I asked where the family sat to eat dinner. She replied that their schedules were so different, they ate at the sink most of the time, or took a plate to their room or in front of the TV.
There was some serious emotional blockage happening in there!
What I asked her floored her – I said, could this be that you are avoiding something that will hurt, are you burying something, covering it up under quilt and shame? She sat there for a moment and laughed through tears at what was so obvious to a complete stranger. She said she kept busy so that she didn’t focus on her crumbling family life. She started getting a few black garbage bags and packing whole piles in. I have never seen anyone so ready to get rid of their clutter! After a while of this, we stood there in the kitchen and looked at the table that appeared. She looked wistful. She said it was she and her husband’s first piece of furniture that they bought together. She wanted to move on to the den. We began clearing off the sofa and chairs. We found the fireplace! She came across a bumper sticker that was her father’s. She looked sad. I asked her about it, and she told me that it was their house, then her father’s after her parent’s divorced. It was coming in clear to her now, the weight of the past held her there, immobilized her, repeated patterns. After another hour, she was moving on to the office. We agreed that she could tackle the de-cluttering and removal of stuff from there. She felt lighter and more joyful. I think the results will be astounding.
So, when you are not able to let go of something that you never use, look at or enjoy, ask yourself the deeper question. Why do I keep it?
Here are the major ways that clutter can affect you as listed in a notable Feng Shui self-help book:
This is the gospel truth – I have seen it. However, even knowing this in our heart of hearts does not make the task any simpler. It can be hard going through the stuff! The reason is simple – each item has emotions attached to it. Sometimes it can be easier to have a neutral party assist, say a good friend or a hired consultant.Don’t put it off just because you tell yourself that you should be able to do it alone. Just start somewhere, even if it’s small.
The freedom that small actions make can be life changing.