The day I came up with my clutter retreat title, I loved it! It opened a new consideration of the build-up of clutter in our lives and, especially, a new way of understanding the dynamic of clutter release and the outflow of increased engagement with our life force.
"Dammed" clutter. Isn't that a great adjective for the backlog of things that pile up in our houses and in our minds? Two descriptions for the same stuff! From the beginning I saw an energy generating dam, not an earthen dam or a beaver dam. But TVA at its finest. Immediately I saw the things that were damming up, and almost as quickly, I saw the things that flow through when the dam is released.
The first question I asked was, "How safe is the dam?" Will it let loose and flood everything? To this question, I realized that the first dynamic in addressing clutter is being supported safely. Without safety, addressing the things held back remains precarious. When I spent years not feeling very safe, people became the support for me and let me address the backlog of emotions, fears, and trauma that demanded to be addressed.
Next, with safety in place, I looked at the held-in clutter, both physical and mental, and gave memory to its presence, understanding piece by piece how my life got to its current place.
Finally, I realized that there was a spillway beneath the dam, and I control its opening and closing. With time, I learned to better control the movement from one side of the dam to the other side, creating an energy that was useful and could be shared.
Much clutter begins with a traumatic experience. We do not wake up one day wishing that we could clutter up our house. Usually it happens one delay or indecision after another, until we wonder if we'll ever be able to choose a way through, and then beyond, the dammed up clutter. You can. In a coordinated journey with a variety of people, breath (spirit/pneuma/ruach), and healing ways, the cluttering of mind and space can begin to clear.
Dr. Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery, speaks of 3 stages in recovery. The first is safety, where a person becomes physically safe and emotionally grounded. The second is remembrance and mourning, allowing ourselves to engage with the particular dynamics that led to where we are today. Finally, reconnection allows us to become peaceful and reconciled with ourselves and reach out to others.
Now I will share with you my graphic story of decluttering mind, body, spirit and space. The above picture is now colored in and you can see the dam held safe by people who cared for me across years, the spillway where I was guided safely through, and the power stations where I transfer energy from myself to others.
I want you to know three things:
- You are safely held.
- You control the spillway.
- Your clutter can bring pleasure.
If you do not find comfort or confirmation in any of these, I encourage a journey through your clutter in a combination of ways. To make a plan, you can "Talk it Through" with me. If you are in the Nashville, TN area, work with me in your clutter or attend the March 24, 2018 "Dammed Clutter Retreat". Wherever you are, find an anchor of safety and support and take a step forward.
You are not alone and no amount of clutter has stopped you yet!! There is no stopping now. Reach out.
All the best,