Have you ever wondered what holds clutter in place? Why wouldn’t everyone make it go away as fast as possible since it is so annoying and only attracts more and more clutter? When I help clients tackle clutter it’s quite common that I find an emotional issue associated with the clutter.
Not long ago I was working with a client to once again clear papers in her office. Right in the middle of the stack were papers associated with her mother, now deceased. I’m sure my client was not conscious of the source of her shutdown. But, paper associated with someone who died holds the energy of the loss. Why would she want to touch that?
When you’ve made a commitment to clear clutter and you find yourself hitting a wall, stop and ask yourself, “What is this about? Is there something here that I’m having difficulty facing because of loss?” Then stop, be still and listen to what comes up for you. It may just be that you’re tired or don’t know what to do, but be open to considering a deeper reason. Is some sort of emotional pain halting you in your tracks?
If you realize you are being stopped because there is pain associated with the items you are touching, stop and allow yourself to acknowledge it. Feel it. Notice that the pain is still alive. Leaving the things untouched will only anchor the pain to that spot. You may choose to walk away and leave it for now. Perhaps just noticing it and feeling it is all you can do right now.
When you are ready, make a plan for how you will release the pain. You may decide that you’ll tackle three items per day. Keeping the volume low will limit your exposure and allow you face the pain at a measured pace.
Perhaps the emotional issues are too big to face alone. Just yesterday I invited a client to hold onto those things that are too emotionally loaded for her until she and I meet. Then we will go through them together. She will have my support and encouragement to face her losses and associated pain and, if it feels right, she can tell me the stories associated with the pain. So often just putting words to what happened can release the power of the pain. When she’s ready I’ll help her figure out how to transform those things that have so much power over her into something else. Some things will go to the trash or be given away. Others will be separated out to be transformed into something positive like a scrapbook.
The reward for recognizing the emotional roadblock, facing it and respectfully dismantling it is freedom. It’s as though you are taking back part of yourself that was being held hostage, being shut down without your conscious knowledge. After you allow the grief and release the pain you’ll likely feel lighter, have more energy, and be ready for new challenges and adventures.