There was this piece of me—a young, vulnerable, desperate piece of me—who begged for someone to finally just tell me who the hell I was supposed to be, or do, or what my life was supposed to be about. Every time life intensified, waves of hysteria would swell from deep within me, the fear that I’d get it wrong… that I couldn’t trust myself to know what was true for me. I felt terrified that, without external guidance, my life would be wasted.
But then I started to explore what one of my early teachers called “the spirituality of the self”. I studied the way I reacted to the world around me, the way I allowed certain relationships, circumstances, and experiences to affect me. I learned I was powerful, far more powerful than I’d ever imagined, and that I could change reality by changing the way I was showing up in the world. In time, I released what no longer served me and made space for my truth to become my life. The artist, the lover, the priestess, the mother, the healer, the dancer, the writer . . . one discovery at a time, I hosted a reunion of the pieces of my soul.
This transformation was possible because of the supports I cultivated for myself along the way. My blog is an extension of my journals. I use it to share the lessons I’ve learned, powerful resources, and inspiring stories of my clients’ transformations. Dig in and find the information and inspiration you need today and keep coming back when you need another dose! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, email me your question and I’ll see what I can find for you.
Space healing isn’t about making your place pretty or zen or whatever else “they” say a home “should” be. It’s about making your home your happy place.
Here are 10 surprisingly honest reasons my space healing graduates say yes to this workshop. We hope it helps you decide if this path is right for you. (FREE book giveaway at the bottom! Keep reading…)
1. My space makes me sick to my stomach.
Because I literally feel sick (nauseated) when I open my eyes and really see the disarray, disorder and discord in my home and I feel like it’s all my fault. Doing the 27-things thing and listening to and participating in the calls quells that. Basically you are my Alka-Seltzer. – N.D.
2. My space is kicking my ass.
Because I’m tired of feeling like my things control me. – M.L.
3. Healing my space heals my heart.
Somehow my space is a virtual mirror of my spirit or inner life, I think. When I do even small things to fix/heal my physical (outer) space, it has a magical way of healing or easing some tension internally. I know that I am not my space, but seeing that I can improve even part of it gives me hope for improving my inner things that need healing. Plus, it makes me happy! – T.W.
4. Sanity is more important than stuff.
Because I feel better when my efforts can go into taking care of me instead of stuff. – L.S.
To bring clarity and calmness to a chaotic life. – D.B.
5. I need a fresh start.
Right now, it is to begin again. When I relocate, what do I want to take with me? P.D.
6. I want to feel better.
It just feels really good. Kind of the difference between a sunny day and an overcast day. – A.M.
7. I need to be more productive.
So that I can have the work space to get done everything I want to get done – L.W.
Because it’s not about expectations or clean, it’s about creating a space I can walk into without feeling bad about all the stuff I wish I did. – S.M.
Because otherwise it’s non-functional. I can’t find things I need when I need them, I waste time looking, it’s frustrating. I deserve support. I deserve to be able to do what I want to do in the house without having to wade through a pile of clutter and not be able to find what I need to do it! Because I deserve to be in a beautiful home that reflects what’s important to me. Because I deserve to be inspired by my space. Because I don’t want my energy dragged down by an environment that I trip over every time I try to thrive. Because I want to thrive. Stop me anytime… – T.H.
8. I want love, not stuff.
To make room for relationships in my life that matter – A.C.
9. This is a righteous act of rebellion. I want to heal my space because making it happen will be the best way to say, “F*CK YOU!” to the people who say I can’t do it! Those are the same people who criticized me until I was totally depressed, which is how things ended up a mess in the first place. These folks think I can’t be healthy and get my stuff in order. I have already proven them half wrong by coming out of the depression – I am literally happier than I have ever been! Now I am going to reward myself by getting rid of the junk that depression forgot to take along when it moved out, so I have a welcoming place for myself and the people who have loved me all along. – L. R.
10. I want to be me. . . the real me.
Because I know it’s not the real me, and I’m tired of hiding behind the clutter. Because it’s exhausting… mental, physically, spiritually. By the way, I’m making great progress (greater than the past). It’s not completely visible to the naked eye yet, but it’s getting there! – M.M.
Now, it’s my turn.
When I started this space healing journey, I knew it was important but I could not have conceived of the radical ways this work would change my life. Looking back, it’s as though I emerged from childhood with the jigsaw puzzle of my identity filled with pieces I’d acquired from the world around me. Parents, peers, the education system, media, and the rest told me who I was and what mattered and how I was supposed to act. It wasn’t all that bad, it just wasn’t true. Not for me. But I didn’t know to challenge any of it, so I stumbled through early adulthood without an authentic connection to myself. My life was full and chaotic but I had no real relationship with myself to guide me.
Space healing allowed me to unpack the assumptions and dig into the truth of who I am.
It continues to allow me to recognize and challenge the things, thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and relationships that no longer serve me. And now that I have the confidence and tools to release what’s untrue, I make space for the beautiful, dynamic, unconventional experience that I came here to live.
And with all of that bullshittery out of the way, I feel free to live my truth… to live my dream. Every day, when I say yes to this journey, I make space in my life for me.
WORKSHOP NOTICE: The current “Is Home Your Happy Place?” workshop is free to anyone who is ready to free themselves from the bullshittery. We’ve already begun but there’s still time for you to join us before registration closes on Friday, January 22, 2016.
BONUS: All participants will be entered into a drawing for your very own signed copy of my new book, “Is Home Your Happy Place? The Unruly Woman’s Approach to Space Healing.” Say yes to you today! Click here for workshop details and see the FREE registration instructions at the top.
Image: Corie Howell via Flickr
If you’re hunting for the perfect sofa to nap, lounge and roll around on all weekend long, go for the couch with a depth of 36 to 42 inches. – Joann Pan, How To Make Your Home Your Happy Place on Oprah.com
Oprah, this article makes me want to pull my hair out. This is 2015 and you are still talking about how buying more stuff is the way to cultivate happiness in our lives. Still. STILL.
How is this even possible? Look around.
We’ve been buying more stuff (and the containers and systems to try to live peacefully among it) for years (MANY YEARS) and the search for happiness continues. Most days, it feels like we are further from it than before.
If stuff could make us happy, we would have long ago burst into flames from the intensity of it all. We are overloaded with stuff. Still, not happy.
No, it’s not the extra deep couch, nor is it the layered rugs, or even hotel room bedding trickery that can make home a happy place. And it’s damn sure not the hard corners that will make or break us.
And yes, plants can bring a place to life as little else can but please — for the love of all things glittery — please bring me the person whose home was wildly happy EXCEPT for their crappy lighting. Please. Because I want to meet the person who lives one set of recessed lights short of conquering their happy threshold. Bring them to me and I’ll buy the lights myself!
Now, I’m not saying that these six tips are completely useless. Who doesn’t love a little softness thrown into nice square space. But is happiness what you’re pitching here? Because it feels more like pretty or warm or welcoming, or even magazine-ready.
Oprah, is this what the women you came to this planet to serve really need to know about cultivating happiness in their lives?
Maybe it’s time for you to hop back into that sweet bus and tour the humble homes of some of the regular folks in this country?
Too long, O. It’s been too damn long.
While you were holed up at HQ making advertising deals with Stuff manufacturers, I’ve been out here trying to pick up the pieces with the women who are drowning in this bullshittery. And let me reassure you, we’ve got ourselves the makings of a crisis here.
They are up to their eyeballs in dishes and laundry, carpool and co-op, homework and holding their families together. Paper is kicking their collective asses. They are numbing with trips to the mall and Target and the thrift store, convinced it’s nothing like when “addicts” do whatever they use to attempt to feel better.
(Lots of them are numbing with the stuff “addicts” use, too, so don’t go thinking this is not a big deal.)
These women are struggling. Like *really* struggling. They turn to you for guidance because you’re OPRAH. And you keep giving them one more round of buy-more-shit-and-then-you’ll-feel-complete.
I’m dying here. We’re all dying here. Our planet is dying here.
Please just give me one issue about releasing what no longer serves us. Show us how to discover the real reasons why we keep doing so much harm to ourselves and our planet, and then show us how to heal those wounds. Show us how to reconnect with ourselves so we can see what’s true for us, and how the rest is simply holding us in old patterns of the people who no longer want to be. And please, really please, help us figure out how to keep from teaching our children that Stuff will make them happy or this is never going to end.
Oprah, you can do better than this. Let’s have the courage to get REAL with one another. Let’s admit that what we’ve been doing is not working. Let’s admit that we’ve already bought the stuff that was supposed to fix us and we are not yet fixed.
Call me, or read this. We need to cultivate a real solution. Together.
Letting go of stuff can be hard.
Letting go of people makes releasing stuff feel like child’s play.
In addition to the oodles of physical clutter I’ve been writing about releasing in this series, I’ve let go of a lot of people throughout this Clean Slate journey. Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t line up everyone I know so I could vote a bunch of them off the island that is my life. That’s not what I’m talking about.
Okay, maybe that island thing did happen a time or two but I reserve that kind of dramatic action for very specific situations where I feel that a relationship with someone is no longer true for me and the other person loses their ever-loving mind and brings mental, emotional, or physical violence into my life. Be nice or leave is a powerful guideline to help with this sort of decision making.
I can now see that most of the people releases are about letting go of my expectations of others, giving them the love and space to be themselves, and asking them to do the same for me.
I finally stopped expecting my children’s father to show up in the ways that I thought mattered. Instead, I gave him the space to show up in their lives however it felt true for him. I stepped out of the circle between him and the children and allowed him to be in action (instead of reaction) with them. He also gets the blessed opportunity to experience the natural consequences of his actions instead of me thrusting myself into the middle and manipulating outcomes.
I released my friends from any expectations I had about how they should be with me. Instead, I invited them to be as connected to me as felt true for them given the very natural ebb and flow of life. As time passes, our interests, energy, availability, proximity, and dozens of other factors shape how we show up in the world. The passing of time is doing the exact same thing for the people around us. Instead of clinging desperately to the way my friendships used to be, I let go and allowed them to grow and change with me. This helps everyone involved release the guilt, celebrate the love that lives between us, and deeply enjoy the times when togetherness is true for us.
I’ve released my children from the expectations that they become any of the millions of things I thought they “should” or would be. I will continue to do it every single time I feel the squeeze of their truth being pressed against my expectations. This one is so hard. Also, releasing them to live their truth is one of the most important pieces of this work I will do.
I’ve released what feels like an endless line of expectations I discovered that I had of people in my community about my business. I expected them to do a great many things that would have resulted in the successful execution of my business plan–hire me, refer others, keep promises, like my ideas, reach out for support, etc.
(That is a short sample of the expectations and yes, it feels ridiculous now that I’m typing it all out. Still, it’s true that I felt these things and I had to let them go.)
I let go of the idea that a suffering-riddled Facebook post means that someone is ready to do the what it takes to feel better. Funny, right? Well, it’s true. It took me years to release the people around me (both distant relationships and deeply intimate ones) from my expectation that they want to cultivate change in the ways that I am trained and guided to do that.
This is my job but I finally realized that, much like their misery is not my problem, my work is not their problem.
All of this releasing of expectations (or entire relationships when it comes to that) frees my family, friends, peers, and others to live their lives/truths and enjoy (or not) the consequences of their choices but even more importantly, it frees me to live in peace.
When I release them, I free myself. I get to spend my energy playing in my own damn sandbox. Not only is it as clean as I left it, but it’s MINE. Every ounce of energy I spend playing in the sandbox of my own life is effective because this is the only place that’s actually mine to tend.
All of these messy, old, codependent behaviors are being released which puts my power back to work for me. In my life, my energy goes a long way toward building dreams and being a force of love in the world. When I keep it here, instead of wasting it trying to get other people to act (my version of) “right,” truth reins and everybody wins.
Clean Slate: Moving from Chaos to Clarity begins on October 27th. Register here: theunrulywoman.com/cleanslate
I recently heard to share my own “letting go” stories for a series called “The Heart of Clean Slate” about the deep personal evolution I’ve experienced throughout the three years I’ve been offering this workshop.
I started strong with this, this, and this and last night the words came to a dramatic halt. Was I afraid to continue to show my heart, to tell you my stories? Maybe so–I’m always open to that–but it honestly doesn’t feel like fear.
I’ve been digging into the depths of memory to find particularly intimate, powerful, or even painful (so desperate) Clean Slate stories. And I just realized that the fact that I’m having a hard time recalling them actually tells far more about the power of this process than the stories would.
And when I let go of that stuff I let go of the stories they represented.
Years ago, The Voices In My Head showed me an image of us toting around trunks filled with souvenirs representing old untended fears, heartbreaks, and other unresolved matters of heart. Some of us drag them behind us, others strap them on our backs, and still others search for emotionally over-competent (read: codependent) people to manage ours for us.
The work that I do with my clients is about unpacking their trunks and, of course, I have my own to unpack. I’ve done a great many things to unload the emotional baggage that was weighing me down when I started this personal evolution journey–writing, studying, dancing, therapy, coaching, energy healing, body work, etc.
And because I wholeheartedly believe that the state of my inner world is reflected in my physical space–Yes, I said that my emotional and mental well being are reflected in my home–tending to my physical space was vital to that healing journey. I had to practice what I preached to my clients.
I had to release what no longer served me.
I did it. I’ve been doing it for three years and I will continue to do it as I evolve into newer truer versions of myself. I do it because I know my space can hold me where I no longer want to be or my space can be the kind of environment that calls me home to the truth of who I am.
Does that mean I don’t have any more Clean Slate stories of my own to tell? No, I’ve found a few to share with you. But they may not be as sexy as I’d hoped they would be. I released the stuff that no longer serves me and the pain and heat and heartbreak are gone, too. My space is simple and powerful and full of truth… and my heart is finally free.
Clean Slate: Moving from Chaos to Clarity begins on October 27th. Register here: theunrulywoman.com/cleanslate.
Letting go of my fat clothes was hard.
I felt afraid.
What if I gained back what I lost? What if I failed? What if I couldn’t keep the promise that I made to myself?
O.M.G. SERIOUSLY?! Was I actually willing to be afraid that I was so out of alignment that I’d allow myself to sit (as in be idle) and eat (read: overeat) my way to nakedness? Hell no! I decided that I am no longer that woman.
In one visit to the closet, I released every single thing that was too big for me. Since that day, I’ve released everything else that became too big as I make my way back to my true body.
Releasing the dreamy Skinny Christy Myth took far more work. No . . . courage. No . . . healing. Yes, it took far more healing. It took three years of trips to that closet to let go of all of the clothes that belonged to the thin woman I once was.
Have I released the idea that I will once again be that size? Absolutely not. But I’ve released the one I used to be. I’ve released the idea that who I am today is somehow unworthy of being embraced, celebrated, accepted . . . loved by me and those around me.
I realized that I am on my way to something new with this body. I’m loving it more than ever before. I’m dancing and walking and actually USING this body in ways that I never dared use it before. I’m eating in a way that honors this body. The calories burned and taken in (plus whatever other factors are at play at this exact moment in my personal evolution) cultivated this ever-changing, bass-loving, curvy, strong 3-D awesomeness and I’m no longer willing to will my body to be anything but what it is.
This letting go took time. I went into that closet again and again searching for that which no longer served me. The first layer was all that I wouldn’t wear even if I was that size. Yes, much to my surprise, I owned and was storing clothes that were too worn or didn’t work for me because of the shape or color or style.
The next time I went searching, I found others that survived the first cut but suddenly seemed like they were taking up space. The next time, having lost a little more weight, I starting trying on everything. If it wasn’t something that I thought I could reasonably get into in the next season or so, I let it go.
This release session was quite intense for me. I had to slide my “favorite” jeans just past my knees, be with the reality of that being as far as they would go, and then choose to accept that it would take an act of congress to get me back into them.
I made the choice to let go.
I did this, in part, with the realization that if I was ever that size again, I’d have the most amazing time buying myself a new pair of favorite tiny jeans.
During that session, I saved back one paper box of clothes that I truly loved and would want to have when I got back to that size. I moved them to Minnesota last summer. This summer, I integrated into my closet what finally fit and I released the rest.
Every single thing in my closet fits my body . . . the body I love and have a beautiful relationship with TODAY.
Clean Slate: Moving from Chaos to Clarity begins on October 27th. Register here: theunrulywoman.com/cleanslate.
My 15 year old daughter recently became upset when I released a sweater to which she believed I still had an attachment. This did not come, as one might assume, from her projecting her beliefs about keeping stuff upon me or that she’d given it to me as a gift or that she wanted it for herself. No, those reasons would have been much easier for me to face. Her alarm was about something deeper, something that hurt my heart a bit.
For the last several years, my daughter watched me release and release and release to try to make space in myself in a home where there was far too much stuff. I was sincerely overwhelmed by the possessions that felt (at least to me) as though they exceeded the capacity of the space we had to contain them. And while my daughter and I were prepared to live more simply, the other two family members were not. So I did all that I knew to do to cultivate sanity for myself.
Every time I felt like I was going to go mad, I got rid of more of my stuff.
In this moment of reflection, I can see how this was alarming to my daughter. I would go into my super stuffed closet and come out with three bags of my things to donate but nothing belonging my (now former) wife. The books piled up around the bookcase would suddenly have space to be shelved and two boxes of my books would be taken to the used book store. Each trip to the donation center had us dropping off mostly things that had belonged to my daughter and me.
I did not realize that she even noticed how clutter-clearing went down at our house.
And I damn sure did not realize that she’d archived it as me sacrificing my stuff because other people wouldn’t do their part.
At first, I cringed that this was not what I wanted her to learn about maneuvering relationships but you know what? Maybe it’s perfect.
I took back my inner world one external world thing at a time.
I released furniture, household decorations, art, pictures, clothing, books, linens, recreational equipment, and more paper than you can imagine. No corner of our two bedroom condominium remained untouched during this period of time. It didn’t happen all at once but every time I taught Clean Slate my belongings shrank more and more into something that honestly represented who I am. As each new layer was released, I began to feel more free.
I don’t miss any of that stuff.
Through three years of intense clutter-clearing, there were only two things I later wished I had back. One came back to me for free and the other I replaced for $30. I understand the temptation to keep everything just in case you need it some day. I’d been living that way. But the truth was that I felt too crowded and too overwhelmed to live each day I was actually experiencing because of the chaos in my physical space. I was sacrificing joy, peace, creativity, and sanity on any given day because I was unwilling to let go of the past and the future.
I was always in choice. Always.
When I couldn’t control what my ex-wife did with her stuff, I focused on my relationship with my stuff. When I felt frustrated about the stacks of clothes that my ex-wife wouldn’t or couldn’t wear cluttering up the closet, I found everything that I couldn’t or wouldn’t wear and let it go. When her art supplies and instruments sat unused, I turned my attention to my own neglected creative debris. When stuff piled up around her side of the bed made me want to scream, I turned my attention to making my side of the bed as simple and clean as possible.
Was it the same as her tending her stuff? No, of course not. But in the three years I’ve been teaching this workshop, I took back my life by releasing EVERYTHING that no longer served me.
This spring I ended my marriage. There were many, many factors that led me to realize that divorce was what felt true for me but this Clean Slate piece was one of the most empowering experience of my life. I know that I couldn’t have cultivated this truth without dealing with myself and my stuff in this way.
Yes, this is decidedly what I want my daughter to know about the way “stuff” and life intersect. I want her to know that no matter what relationship or situation she finds herself in, no matter how far away from her truth she finds herself, she can make it back. She needs to be willing to face the truth of her situation. She must tend her business. She can let go whatever is keeping her stuck and the journey begins not by obsessing over everyone else but by facing the woman in the mirror.
Clean Slate: Moving from Chaos to Clarity begins on October 27th. Register here: theunrulywoman.com/cleanslate
I decided to write to you each day with a little Clean Slate treasure, something to help everyone understand the invitation at hand. I thought about tips or lessons or a number of other goodies I’ve gathered up over the last three years of sharing these methods. None of those felt right.
I asked for clarification a few minutes ago and heard “stories” from TVIMH. I thought, awesome, I have lots of remarkable stories from my students that I can share. Still no. I asked again for clarification. I heard “Where is your heart?”
Yes, I did all of the decision making about offering this again. I worked hard with Web Guru to update the new website. We opened registration. I told about it. I’ve been waiting.
Where is your heart?
Yes, where is it? For a few days, I’ve been dealing with some health challenges which have had my in my body. I’ve been working with lots of clients, which is head and spirit work. But my heart. I’ve disconnected it seems.
As soon as I reconnected to my heart, the years started to pour down my cheeks. I don’t even know what all they are about. Dyani asked me what was happening and I explained all of this to her. She said, “Why haven’t you been in your heart?” I said that it was probably because all of these tears were in there. She smiled and held me while I let some of them go.
I realized that I have to tell MY stories about releasing that which is no longer true for me (read: simplifying, clutter-clearing, etc.). I need to tell you about how I let go and what changed when I found the courage to face myself in this way.
So tonight while she works the night shift and the children sleep, I will put pen to paper and tell you one of my stories, the stories I’ve only barely whispered to those closest to me. I will open my heart to you and then–and only then–will it be true for me to ask you to do the same for me as we journey through this extraordinarily healing Clean Slate experience.
Deep breath. I’m going in.