Your crap is a distraction.
We find all sorts of ways to distract ourselves. Television and gadgets, addictions, busyness and to-do lists, even some of our relationships. Having a lot of extra clutter and convincing ourselves we somehow need it all, is a distraction.
Anytime we put distractions in our way, we don’t have to be real. I don’t mean “real” in the way we’re being our true selves to the outside world, which is fantastic, I mean being real with you.
I love this quote from Marie Kondo:
We keep distracting ourselves with clutter. Be it physical, mental, or even cluttering up our schedules. We do this so we don’t have to be present. So we can numb or ignore what’s really going on in our lives.
This is how we get to the place where we say, “seriously? How did I/we/this nation get here?”
Imagine all of your distractions stripped away. Who are you, then?
Just thinking about being alone, without our stuff, without our technology, without tackling another thing on the list, can be really disconcerting for a lot of people. That stillness is when you find out who you really are, and what areas of your life may not be currently lined up with that person. It can be awful. We don’t like facing that person. Facing those changes that may need to be made. Facing pain, even past pain. We don’t like admitting mistakes or poor decisions. All of those things surface when we’re not distracted.
Your clutter is similar to an addiction in that you have these “things” that you’ve surrounded yourself with that take the place of feeling whole. Feeling whole is really scary.
Scary but awesome.
When you face down the demons of your current or past life, you will find that you are so much stronger than you thought. Those demons are just nasty thoughts and lies you’ve told yourself. You’ve created that monster, and you can send him packing.
As you unpack the physical clutter in your life, drawer by drawer, closet by closet, room by room, slowly but surely you’ll find yourself with some mental clarity. It feels strange, but liberating. When those crazy thoughts start to surface, send them away and replace them with the truth.This feels and looks so funny when you’re not familiar with it, but hang in there and eventually it’ll feel natural.
When I find those nasty old tapes and bad thoughts surfacing, I silently say, “thanks for sharing, I won’t be needing you today.” Or, I remind myself that I’ve already put that to bed. It’s done. I’ve hashed it over long enough and no more time need by wasted thinking about it.
What does that distraction represent?
I know that many of us are keeping physical clutter around as a distraction from lost time or past dreams we’ve not reconciled. For example, do you have sporting equipment left over from something you used to do, or thought you’d do, and you haven’t reconciled that you’re not going to physically be able to do that again, or you haven’t made the commitment to figure out a way to make that happen for your life, so those twenty-year-old football shoes sit in your garage untouched and out of date?
Or do you have baking equipment taking up an entire spare bedroom left from a failed attempt at starting your own business? You’re looking at this room over and over again letting that feeling of failure wash over you. This is a distraction from forgiving yourself or perhaps others, or admitting where things went wrong that may have been out of your control, or simply acknowledging that you weren’t ready. Whatever the case is, getting rid of that clutter (that could be donated or sold) will free you up to move on with your life. The representation of a dream failed is not serving you in any healthy way.
Doing Distraction Inventory
As I mentioned in my last post, once you let go of clutter, you will most likely forget all about it. It’s rare that we miss something we’ve let go of when it wasn’t really serving a purpose in our lives. Try going through those places in your home where you have hung on to clutter as a distraction. Are there unfinished projects that make you feel like you’ve failed when you look at them? Are there items from missed opportunities or ventures tried but now gone? What do your things represent to you?
Anything in your home that isn’t serving a practical purpose or providing enjoyment or beauty, anything excessive (you’ve got too many things serving that purpose), or anything distracting you from who you should be, needs to go.
Don’t allow your physical space to become a distraction from your life. Work to become comfortable with examining your inner state. If this is hard for you, that’s okay. It’s hard for most of us.
Let me know if letting go of physical things that represent something deeper or even painful is hard for you. I’d love to hear about that.