When I moved into my new (but temporary) home last October I quickly shuffled everything into its place. I took pictures of my bookshelves pre-move and did my best to replicate them in their post-move locations even though I’d taken some decorations from the shelves and used them on the wall. I left the disturbed spots in their place. I figured that when I felt called I’d fix up my bookshelves in a way that felt good. The only problem was I never felt inspired to do so.
During the move-in process, I carefully selected which items I’d keep in my small space and which ones would go in the attic. I asked myself what could I do without or used only infrequently that a trip to the attic would be no problem? Everything got separated into their spots. But there remained many items in my room that I hadn’t touched since I put them there. This either means I need to get rid of it completely or I need to pack it into the attic with the rest of my belongings. But in the months since I’ve been settled, I haven’t done either.
Little pockets of unfinished business litter my little landscape. The unused juicer in my single kitchen cabinet. The buckets of unopened hotel shampoo bottles underneath my bathroom sink. A fancy camera and lens on my closet shelf. The air purifier next to my TV stand. The miscellaneous crap inside my apothecary cabinet. I could go on and on. All unused (or used rarely) items taking up precious real estate.
I could argue that despite these items taking up precious real estate it’s clearly not been that big a deal because if I really needed the space I would have moved the items already. Despite the fact that I haven’t been squeezed for space, I have been rather apathetic and lackluster. It’s hard to pinpoint when the grief of my move ended and the apathy began or whether the two coexisted or one replaced the other. What I do know is that I’m done feeling this way.
I’ve spent the last almost two weeks away from home traveling to New Mexico, doing healing/ceremony work, and spending time with my love in new environments. When I re-entered my space today I simultaneously felt such a peace about being home after traveling while I also felt an irresistible urge to clean, tidy, organize, and purge. At the top of that list was an energetic clean-out.
I’m super sad to say that since I’ve lived in this place I haven’t done a thorough energy clearing and implanting of supportive intentions. I’ve done some small smoke work but nothing with great depth. And on arrival home, that’s the first thing I wanted to do.
Keeping a tight and clean energetic container is paramount. An energetic container is multiple things. It’s your physical mind-body-spirit complex and associated energy fields. It’s your home. It’s your individual relationships. A container is anything with boundaries within which you conduct your life.
Many people struggle with boundaries which leads to sloppy containers, poor energy management, and unfortunate consequences. Tight and tidy containers take a certain level of initiation and self-responsibility. As you can see, I am not new to containers.
I am aware of the underlying principles of containers and energy management. I know how they work, their purpose, and how to tend to them. And yet, as a human who’s been mired in a whirlwind of change and emotional unraveling over the last several months, I got sloppy. I let the container that is my home (a small room with a few small spots elsewhere in the larger home) leak energy left and right. And here I was wondering why the hell I felt so bad. Ok, my sloppy container isn’t the sole reason I struggled over the last months but it certainly didn’t help.
When you have a sloppy container it’s difficult or near impossible for that container to be at all supportive. Think about how supportive a life raft would be if it had a hole in it. Not very supportive. You have to patch up the holes – on a regular basis – to ensure your containers are supportive of your life fore energy. Or, really what’s better than patching up holes is maintaining the container all along so it doesn’t get a hole in the first place. I failed to do that.
What’s worse is that I knew that I was leaving my container unfinished. It’s a habit of mine. I’ll wait around for inspiration to move me to complete certain tasks without consideration of how procrastination could be hurting me. It’s a process I’ve been so used to. I thought I could rely on it to come through again. And while I could argue that it has come through – see, here I am today tidying up my container – I’m doing so after months of feeling energetically depleted with a strong correlation to the space within which I reside.
If you’ve followed along, then you know that I’ve been contemplating my space for a while and the impact it has on my wellness. I’ve gone so far as to rearrange mirrors and buy new furniture for my small space during the short time I’ve been here. What I know to be true is that I am very sensitive to my environment. I am sensitive to the light, the shapes, the sounds. And, yes, I’m sensitive to the clutter or unused junk hanging around in all the disparate spots. The energetic imprint of clutter accumulates and impacts the psyche whether you’re conscious of it or not.
I came to this awareness several years ago when I got inspired by minimalism and simple living. I decided to “Marie Kondo” my whole apartment (minus my partner’s belongings). It was the single biggest clean-out I’ve ever done. And it was one of the most impactful experiences of my adult life. It changed my worldview. It changed how I relate to people, spaces, belongings, consumerism, the environment, the holidays/gift-giving, etc. A cascade of effects continues to trickle into my present day. Enter negative impact of clutter.
One of the big lessons that Marie Kondo teaches is to touch every single item you own. As you do so, you ask, “Does this spark joy?” If not, then the item gets lovingly discarded. While my philosophy and approach have evolved and aren’t in direct alignment with minimalism or Marie Kondo, I have kept many of her pieces of wisdom. Such as touching (or knowing) every single item I own. When I know each item then I can give each item a home. When each item has its place then my psyche can rest. Everything has its place. Everything is wanted/needed/consciously chosen. Everything is settled.
I experience this on the psychic plane as the capacity to scan the entirety of my belongings, pinpoint where a single item is, even if it’s located in the attic, know it’s there, feel that it’s there, and be at peace with this knowledge. Anything that does not engender peace during this psychic scanning needs to be evaluated at some point as a potential discard item.
I say “at some point” because it’s unreasonable to assume that anyone would be scanning and discarding unwanted items every week. Usually, there’s a dedicated clean-out period. Akin to what I did today except, preferably, a move (like the one I did in October) warrants an adequate and thorough clean-out. Once in the pre-move space and again in the post-move space because the energetics of the new space lends itself to helping you determine what to keep or discard different from how your old space did.
Our belongings take up not only physical space. They take up energetic and mental space, too. Think for a moment. Every single item you own you own for a reason. Reasons range from that it sparks joy to maybe one day you’ll use it to necessities to sustainability and so on. Each item gets tagged with your specific reason when you shelve it no matter where you shelve it. Your unconscious mind clings to this reason.
You put the item away. It may be out of sight. And it may be out of your conscious mind. But, unconsciously, it’s there. You’ve tagged it. You’ve set a marker on it and you have an energetic connection to this item. It will be there until the day you decide to part ways. And that’s the case with every single item you own. If you didn’t have an attachment to it – in some form – you wouldn’t have it. So from now until you part ways with these items it’s not only taking up physical space it’s taking up mental and energetic space, too.
I’ve done my best over the years since my big declutter to maintain simplicity with this wisdom. What I keep weighs on me so it better be worth it. What weights am I willing to carry? And what needs to go and when? How can I feel light and free amidst my possessions rather than burdened and heavy? If I wanted to pick up and move across the country tomorrow, would it be easy or hard (in terms of belongings)? When I go on trips I often ask how simple can I keep it?
Simplicity feels good to me. Anything that isn’t simple doesn’t feel good. Clutter is never simple. Unused items are never simple. They either need to be organized, rearranged, or discarded to create a simplicity that breeds freedom, peace, and wellness. And that’s exactly what I did today. Or, started to do.
Since this is a continuation of a learning that began many years ago, it feels important for me to get this out in writing. There’s a solidification occurring here for me. I clearly sense the impact of clutter on my well-being. It started first with the energetic clutter. Clearing the stale and stagnant energy floating in the space. But then I proceeded to clear the physical clutter which directly impacts the psychic/energetic space as well.
I organized my bookshelves in a way that feels good and inspires. I took several items to the attic. And while I still have more to do, I feel freaking amazing about what I’ve started because it’s an affirmation of what I know to be true. Your environment has an effect on how you feel whether you’re sensitive to it or not. The more you tune in and pay attention the more you’ll feel it.
You should feel inspired by your environment. When you sit in your space you should feel either energized or peaceful (depending on what you’re going for/what room you’re in). When you tap into the flow of energy in the room does it bounce off of discordant piles of junk or flow freely from one intentional spot to the next?
Tending to the environment we spend the most time in is paramount to maintaining a strong container. Clutter and unfinished decorating are environmental energy leaks. If you’re feeling off-kilter, do an investigation into your current environment.
While no space is ever perfect, how we work with our space matters. Make time this weekend to feel into your space. Make a ceremony out of it. Play healing music. Light incense. And always open a window even if only a small crack.
Then ask yourself what areas need your love and attention? What things can be donated, discarded, or stored in the attic? What could be rearranged or organized? What needs to be dusted physically and energetically?
When you ask these questions listen for a response at the level of feeling. You’ll feel a pull towards certain spaces and objects. Trust that. Follow the thread until you feel complete. Give praise and gratitude. And always fill yourself with positive intentions after a deep clean-out.
Photo via Unsplash