Category: Heart Clutter

Me too.

Probably the hardest thing to admit when something is so humiliating. But women everywhere are revealing their unifying secret. In the wake of the New York Times story on movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment, the #metoo movement has gone viral. What started it? Actor, Alyssa Milano, tweeted,

Me too.

Suggested by a friend: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

Scrolling Facebook, you might have seen the same status come across your feed several times. Within 24 hours of Alyssa’s tweet, more than 25,000 responded.

That’s the power of empathy, honesty and vulnerability.

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Big screens, little screens, on and off screen, in front of you, behind you, in your ear, in your face, in your car, in your home, everywhere. Distractions are everywhere.

We drown in them. We’re derailed by them. We’re inspired by them. …We’re in love with them.

We seek them out. We call to them, asking to be taken away. To be our rescuer from the mundane and boring. From the difficult and challenging. From the tragic and heartbreaking.

We welcome distractions with open arms, to clutter our existence with denial, avoidance or entertainment.

It may seem harmless, but what are these distractions costing us?

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If you’re peeking over the fence to see what’s on the other side, you’ve fallen prey to a clutter problem.

One of the symptoms of a cluttered mind is comparisons (see all 8 here). This one is a doozy. Pretty much a plague, comparing ourselves to someone else is like a disease, putting us at odds, making us feel less than, handicapped.

Comparisons amount to superlative judgments. It is deliberately taking two things and pitting them against each other for the sake of choosing a preference, or winner. It feels like judging two options to decide which is preferred.

It is searching for bigger and better, chasing faster and stronger.

We compare:

  • shoes
  • lunches
  • careers
  • salaries
  • bodies
  • lifestyles
  • houses
  • cars
  • families
  • friends
  • instagram fame
  • facebook likes
  • etc., etc.

We compare so much, where does that leave us? Feeling pretty shitty.

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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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