Category: Heart Clutter

With the end of another school year, spring moving summer, and the final push to be productive before the kids are home all day, the load can leave us drained of energy. All of it can feel pretty stressful.

It’s during these times of change when we have to take care of ourselves so the transition doesn’t wear us out.

Here are a few ways I like to reduce stress and find my calm.

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As we get ready to shower mom with love and appreciation on this upcoming Mother’s Day, the idea of parenthood comes into question. How did your parents do as parents?

Hmm, good question. I’ve wrestled with a few complaints about mom and dad over the years:

  • They always have to be right. They don’t even listen to my side of the story; it’s only their way or no way. Don’t they understand they don’t know everything?
  • They want me to do everything their way. They won’t let me be my own person and learn my own lessons. Don’t they understand that I’m living my life, not theirs?
  • I’ll never measure up. Everything I do is never enough. Instead of congratulations, I get skepticism. Don’t they understand that it doesn’t have to look like they think it should?
  • It’s ok for you to do it but if I do the exact same thing, I get a lecture. Why is it wrong for me and not for you? Don’t they understand that nobody respects a hypocrite?
  • If I’m content being single, it must mean I’m unhappy and something must be wrong with me. God forbid, I get married later than 20 years old. Don’t they understand that some people choose not to rush into marriage?
  • They don’t even know what I do for a living. I’ve never had to repeat myself so often about what I do, for it to go in one ear and out the other. It’s like unless it promises a pension, I don’t have a real job. Don’t they understand this isn’t the 1950s?

You said it, Will; parents just don’t understand.

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We’re near the end of our declutter journey! This next step has everything to do with mental space as it does environmental. It’s a huge step because this is when we clean up the mess.

Since we’ve done the work to see through the clutter, now we can easily decide what stays and what goes. (You’re ready for this step if you read and practiced Step 8 first!)

Step 9: Sort

To sort is to categorize and arrange, and to clear away what doesn’t belong. While the act of sorting may seem largely an environmental task, sorting itself is a mental function. Sorting means evaluating necessary from unnecessary.

Sorting looks like sorting our way through negative and positive moods. Good and bad memories. Productive and unproductive thoughts. Once sorted, that which doesn’t belong or have a place in our lives anymore can get removed.

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We’re on Step 4 and we’ve done some very introspective work so far. (Before you go on, be sure you’ve read and practiced Step 3 so you don’t miss out on the juicy look inside yourself.)

We’ve drilled in deep. Now, in this step, we’re ready to make some penetrating, inside-out changes.

Step 4: Space

Space is the distance between two things. In this case, it refers to the space between sense and thought, thought and story, story and behavior. Increasing the space from thought to behavior naturally delays our reactivity as if to make time to think of not reacting at all.

We use the space to lower our voices, to come off the ledge, to subdue our tempers. We use the space to tell different stories, to choose a different thought.

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‘Tis better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all.

My guess is Alfred Lord Tennyson knew a thing or two about love. I agree with his sentiment, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Love is a transformative, powerful thing, and to be able to express that to and with another human being is the prize of life.

No matter if that human stays or goes.

Relationships teach us a lot about ourselves. Our hopes, our dreams, our limitations, our expectations. They teach us about how we get along with others, who we vibe with and who we don’t…and why.

They teach us about what we accept or tolerate, and what we refuse to.

What we trust and don’t trust.

They shine a light on our insecurities; the vulnerabilities we choose to expose and those we choose to hide.

They either hold us hostage or set us free.

We can learn something from everyone. Add a special intimacy to the mix and the lessons run very deep.

The biggest lessons come when we see ourselves in the other person, our reflection in their eyes. When we see our own actions in their behavior. When we see our truth in their truth.

We can open ourselves up to this insight—the penetrating similarities—or deny it. But when we deny it, we close our eyes to introspection. When we discern it, we let in empathy and self-love, because what we love in others, we love in ourselves.

My last relationship taught me a lot about love; loving and feeling loved. Loving without condition, loving with condition. Loving to escape. Loving to rescue. Loving to find, loving to be found.

Loving for all the reasons love isn’t, and loving for all the reasons it is.

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When does stuff become clutter? When does what you own become more of a burden than a blessing? When does the disarray deserved to be disposed?

You can’t stop thinking about it. You’re stressed. You’re disorganized. Yet, you keep buying, stockpiling, hoarding…

Clearly, it’s not just the stuff that’s bothering you.

The stuff you see is only part of the mess. There’s stuff underneath the stuff.

Clutter is crafty and contagious. It pervades first our minds, then our bodies, hearts and homes. It seeps into our calendars, offices, careers and bank accounts.

Your mind is the first to get cluttered before you ever see the repercussions in your living space.

Can you catch it before it gets out of hand? Before it becomes debilitating?

Let’s find out how to tell when stuff becomes clutter.

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Day 1. What’s in the forecast for your new year?

You might want to take a second to think about your answer to that question. It’s in your power to create, mold, fashion and shape the next 365 days into whatever you want.*

You have 12 months staring you in the face, what are you going to do with them?

It’s worth being reflective and introspective here because your quality of life depends on your attention to it. If you remain oblivious to your life experience and neglectful of your ability to set course after what you want, then you’re destined to be prey to everyone’s agendas but your own.

The quality of your life experience depends on where your attention is. Abundance or lack? Clarity or confusion? Freedom or fear?

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