An ascent of mass consciousness
Memes, tipping points, what’s trending… they all describe an ascent of a mass consciousness. One of those recent trends is nothing new, and yet is causing a tidal wave of interest. NY Times best-seller author, Marie Kondo, and her book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing", has promulgated an avalanche of recent writings.
Even thought we are now in April, this particular topic feels relevant amidst many people’s resolution to “clean their act up” that appears after every January 1st. Even more poignant to this article is the role of underlying unresolved emotions and personal history that come to play in the attempt to de-clutter. Also the role that EFT can play in assisting this potentially healing process.
A note: while EFT can also be very effective with more extreme cases of hoarding, that is not what this article is about. I wish to address the average Jane (or Joe) who is likely reading these words.
Our love affair with physical "stuff"
Though we may consider ourselves spiritual beings in a physical body, we sure seem to have quite a love affair with our physical “stuff”. We tell ourselves stories about our relationship to our stuff that can impact and dictate the nature of our lives. Our living spaces, our intimate relationships, our finances. When we confront the idea of letting go of our accumulated things, we can run head on into our personal resistance, push back, justification and even defiance. Clearly our things have taken on a life of their own.
The idea of letting go of a sentimental trinket can bring forth feelings of betrayal, or the self-judgment of being an insensitive person. Guilt may also come visiting. It is amazing the extent to which our self-image can be intertwined with the keeping or releasing of an object. Clearly the object itself is not the issue. It’s the story and relationship associated with it, and the emotions and judgments that go hand in hand with the story that can paralyze us into “the stuff clutch”.
The "stuff behind the stuff"
Andrew Mellen, author of 'Unstuff Your Life', explores the “stuff behind the stuff” quite nicely. He explores many of the most common thoughts that stop people from creating more spaciousness in their lives. There’s the “someday I’ll get to read that” pile of books/articles/blogs that fill our bookshelves and computer hard drives. Or there’s the “place of honor” for the touchpoint trinket, that if shed would be a cutting of a cord to the magical moment that… Then there’s the notion that “I can’t get rid of this, I might need it someday.” Check for yourself and see which of these (or others) you are most likely to use if I visited your closet, or attic, or garage with you today.
Both Mellen and Kondo offer great tips to make progress in this habit-changing process of de-cluttering. Like the Organizational Triangle, made up of 3 rules:
One home for Everything,
Like goes with Like, and
Something In paired with Something Out.
But besides the practical guidelines for making space, some other questions are useful when evaluating what to keep and what to recycle/donate or toss. Wasn’t it Shakespeare who eloquently asked,
To Discard, or Not to Discard, That is the Question!
The 5 Powerful Questions
When going through your….(closet, desk, over-full altar, you name it), try asking yourself these questions:
Does it comfort me on some regular basis?
Does it bring me joy?
Is it still a thing of beauty?
Is it practical and effective?
Do I use it (wear it, spend time with it, admire and enjoy it) with some degree of frequency?
4 Tapping Tips
Going a step deeper than that, I’d like to invite you to consider what (hi)story the item is holding onto for you. Notice that “holding onto” is actually a contraction around something, whether it's a memory or an idea. Will the fond memories and associated feeling still exist without the object? Attachment to things can take the place of kindling for new experience, and feelings that provide the opportunity for greater vitality.
Here are some suggestion tapping approaches that you might wish to try
• Look at the cluttered space you wish to clear and tap on any feelings of overwhelm.
• Hold an object in your hand that you really don’t want to let go of. Ask yourself what story you have about it and tap on the emotion that arises.
• Tune into that emotion, and notice if and where it shows up in your body and allow your body to direct you back (i.e. using Matrix Reimprinting) to find the origins of that feeling.
• If you are working on a large project, make sure to take a “before” photo. Nothing leads faster to quitting than thinking that you are not making progress. A picture will inform you otherwise.
When writing this piece, I could hear my wife Alina silently laughing to herself, as she thinks of the attic plastic bin. This holds my high school Varsity tennis jacket, and a tattered sweatshirt that I still have which was a gift from my sister 20 years ago. Then there is the envelope full of college room-mate correspondences that I have always thought that surely someday I will have the time to sit and read and enjoy.
Hopefully these words of offered some insight and inspiration for you; I know they have for me. As you can see above, I have many memories (both good and bad of my tennis playing days), and I no longer need a ratty college sweatshirt from my sister to know how much I love and appreciate her. The garbage bin is a bit fuller than it was this morning.
Craig is an Accredited Trainer, Practitioner and Mentor. He specialises in Trauma, Matrix Reimprinting and Peak Performance.