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.
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