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|by KD Farris, Ph.D. |
Being in MESHE with Clearing Clutter
Clearing Gone Awry
I still miss the 1960’s House Beautiful magazines I threw away twelve years ago. Back then, I was certain I had too much stuff, and that clearing through my many boxes of trinkets, old magazines, knickknacks, lamps and furniture, stuffed toys, etcetera, was going to be good for me.
Everyone, ever since I could remember, had been telling me I was a pack rat and that I needed to let go of all my stuff. So, I hooked up with a friend who said she had a knack for clearing. She said she would be happy to help me go through my things and yard sale what was to go.
By the end of the month, we’d gone through countless boxes of my possessions and sold dozens of large and small items. Everything that my friend thought I should get rid of was gone. Which is precisely why when it was over, I felt so awful, and she felt so great. We had gotten rid of everything of mine that she thought I should let go. But, as I was to awaken to quite suddenly the following day, at no time did I allow myself to find out what I wanted to release and what I wanted to maintain. Consequently, I still miss many of the things that were sold at that time.
Over the summer I helped a good friend of mine with the same process. She was moving out of her house and in with her boyfriend. Their quarters were going to be small but delightful, and they were excited to be moving in together. She asked me to help her reduce her belongings, put some things into storage, and move others into her new life.
Over the years, memories of my own ill-fated clearing have helped give me the insight, experience and know-how to guide myself and others through a MESHE (mee-shee) process of letting go of physical things. For my friend, I was excited to help her to keep those things that were important to her, let go of what was weighing her down, and organize it all in a manner that would allow her to get to it all easily, should she want or need to retrieve anything that was being put into storage.
Being in MESHE with Clearing
Being in MESHE means coming from that place that is you. Being in MESHE with Clearing means being aware of the connection you have with the belongings you are choosing to keep and those you are choosing to let go. We have much to learn about the appreciation of our physical world, and learning to be in MESHE with what we have, what we choose to keep and what we desire to own, is a large part of this inner connecting process.
Thomas Moore speaks much about the soul’s connection to things and people and memories. He says our soul finds its way in life through our attachments. This is resoundingly true in my case, where I spent weeks getting rid of things with no appreciation for what I was connected to and what I was not. This is the kind of awareness we want to develop while getting into MESHE with Clearing -- knowing what items are inspiring our spirit and what items are weighing it down.
Clearing with Personal Truthz™
Using Personal Truthz™ for sorting is one of my favorite processes. Exercising what we know about ourselves cuts through so much red tape. If we can be honest with ourselves, it makes the living of life a whole lot easier. And it makes dealing with clutter and throwing things away a manageable process.
One of my Personal Truthz™ in relation to clutter has to do with the mail. I have deep attachments when it comes to paper. I love to thumb through catalogs and to read advertisements. You know, those long essay ones that tell us about new health products or scientific inventions. I get attached to anything that comes in the mail that has pictures or is information oriented. I think, "Oh, I’ll look at that later." And into a pile it goes! We once found a large basket, (I use the word "found" for all its revealing qualities!) filled to the brim with unopened catalogs. Catalogs I’d vehemently fought to retain, but which in reality I hadn’t the time or true interest actually to look through.
So, one of my Personal Truthz™ is that if I go through the mail, I will want to keep everything. But, if I allow my husband to sort through it first, many of the things that I would labor over or save to read later, will be removed before I get a chance to become attached to them. Here’s how our system works:
My husband sorts through the mail, when I am not in the room. (If I hear the papers shuffling I go straight over to see what is being thrown away.) He sorts and I see the mail afterwards. This works splendidly. Sometimes, I really need a catalog fix, and I’ll say to him, "Honey, can you leave me a few catalogs next week? The ones with the little gadgets in them, please." And the next week I’ll find a Lillian Vernon and a Self Care catalog in my mail pile. It works like a dream....
Give Things a Home
The beauty of giving possessions a home, is that they have a place to live that is out of our way. A place where they are admired or kept safely. A place with an address so you can get to it, pick it up, drop it back off again. Finding out where things live, when they are not in your hands is an essential part of making good decisions about what to keep and what to let go of. If you can’t find it a good home, it might be time to say goodbye.
Eight Steps and Starting Small
How do we engage in a process that will help us to recognize when we are ready to let go and when we are not? I’d like to guide you through an experience from which you can begin to form your own process for being in MESHE with Clearing.
There are six areas of the home that almost always need to be thinned out. They are: the medicine chest, utensil drawer, tool box, sock and underwear drawer, bedside table, and photo display area. These areas are limited in some ways. They are usually of a small, containable size, and they’ve existed for a long time. So it is quite often an area that you do not thoroughly view when you use it. If you can take the time to go through all six of these areas, you should be able to pick up a lot of nuances about yourself that will help you form a process for clearing through the big areas of your physical world.
Pick one to start with and get yourself a few containers relevant to the size of the items you are sorting. Be it bags or boxes, choose things that will allow you to separate out one batch of items from another. Always include a large empty trash can. You’ll find that it is easier to throw things away in a large, clean trash bin, than it is to use a filled up, dirty one.
As best you can, explore this process without thinking. Just act. Respond. Allow your body, your instincts, to move things around. Think of this as a test run. You are going to make bold acts, but you can undo them later. Play with it. Have fun. Over the next week, run through the eight easy steps laid out below and see what you learn about yourself as you move through each of the six areas mentioned above.
(1) Empty: To get your mind away from the familiar, take out everything from the area chosen and bring it into an open place where you can see it all in front of you. A table, your bed, the floor. Lay a towel or sheet down to keep things clean. It’s surprising how dirty many of our belongs are, especially when we haven’t tended to them lately.
(2) Throwing away: Look through your group of items and throw away anything that needs to be trashed. Expiration date expired; bottle is empty; it’s broken and unusable; whatever.
(3) Grouping - Put things into groups. Without thinking about it, just group things together of their type, or their function, of any relationship that makes sense to you. When it comes to sorting through huge amounts of stuff, grouping is your best friend. When I box things up, I do so in sortable groups. Move away from over classification, ie. having dozens of groups with only one or two things in it. Give the group a name: PHOTOS, ELVIS MEMORABILIA, MOM’S OLD THINGS.
(4) Not using - Picking from your sorted piles, make another single group of items that you aren’t using. If you live in a shared home, and you think someone else might be using it, put it in this pile anyway. Later, bring it around to all your housemates and ask them directly if they are using the item. You’d be surprised how many times something isn’t being used by anyone in the house, but everyone politely leaves it, each thinking that it belongs to the other. The same goes for what is no longer inspiring you. Energetically, if you are no longer using it to open your life -- if it is not a part of your growth and forward movement, or your rest and relaxation - then it should also be set aside as not using.
(5) Donating - Of the things you sorted that you aren’t using physically or energetically, begin to think about if it should be donated. Note those things that someone who had no money and no resources might find valuable. Notice how many things you have that would be useful to others and check in with yourself to see, on a scale of 1 to 10, how valuable you yourself find the item. When you go through larger selections of stuff - the closet, the garage, the basement - this awareness can help put into perspective what you are maintaining and what you might want to give to others. When you see that you have eight bottles of sunscreen, for instance, it might be really fulfilling to give six of them away. Maybe keep one full one, one that is opened, and donate the rest. There can be a lot of duplication in our lives, which takes up space, uses our energy, and ultimately, weighs us down spiritually.
(6) Selling - You usually don’t find too much to sell from these smaller space reviews, but as you expand on the size and scope of what you discover you no longer need, the question arises, What to sell and what to give away? There are many circumstances where donating can be advantageous for simplicity’s sake, for tax write-off, or for personal reward. Putting used items in the hands of someone who will put them to good use is a very satisfying feeling indeed. But there are other times when it is wise, practical and just as resourceful to sell them. Give yourself the time and freedom to discover what the right choice is for you.
(7) Reflecting - Now sit back and look at your piles. What filled the trash can, and what made it to the give-away or sell bin? What did you learn about yourself emotionally from this exercise? Was it fun to toss things out? Did you view your possessions any differently when you saw them in relation to how others in need might benefit from them? What did you learn about yourself, your attachments to things, and your process of sorting that might inform you for larger projects? Did this in anyway inspire you to do more? To tackle the unthinkable? Or, perhaps, to take things into your own hands one small project at a time?
(8) Replacing - It’s time to put things back now. You can choose to make permanent your discoveries or not. Whatever feels best to you is the best thing for you to do. Notice how you return things to their places. Are they arranged in the same way? Do you view the space they return to any differently? Are you seeing things with new eyes? More information? A better awareness? Imagine what it might mean to clear through all the areas of your home, through all of your belongings. Imagine having the time, the patience, and the awareness needed to commit to moving through all of your possessions in this soulful manner. To being in MESHE with your choices, your decisions and the clearing process itself.
© Copyright 2002 KD Farris, Ph.D.. All Rights Reserved.
Read KDs Past Columns:
September 2002 - "Discover Going on Retreat"
July 2002 - "Build Your MESHE - Seek the Space: A Process for Reclaiming the Shadow"
June 2002 - Revisiting: "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"
May 2002 - "Bodywork 101"
March 2002 - "Being Present Within Your Prosperous Life"
February 2002 - "HESHE and The Third Bird"
December 2001 - "Manifesting Your Perfect Partner with Personal Truthz"
November 2001 - "Remembering What We Already Know"
September 2001 - "Be Led By What You Are Trying to Avoid"
August 2001 - "Draw Your Way to Clarity, Health & Balance"
June 2001 - "Tending to the Negative Mind"
May 2001 - "Gentle Conscious Living"
April 2001 - "MISON and The Moment"
March 2001 - "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"
KD Farris, Ph.D. is a successful counselor, healer, and bodyworker. For more than twenty years she has taught
extensive workshops based on MESHE, HESHE, MISON & ORBIT as well as many other self-discovery topics.
KD began developing her integrated bodywork and counseling techniques in 1983 under the tutelage of many prominent doctors and healers throughout the United States.
Her education into the spiritual and physical aspects of the human experience served as the foundation for her private practice and the development of a new philosophy. She combined her techniques into four guiding principles, which she shares in her book, MESHE, HESHE,
MISON & ORBIT: What My Grandmother Taught Me About the Universe. She teaches a companion workshop series, where she creates an interactive environment demonstrating the material from her book with tangible, life altering effects. In these workshops, individuals discover a
deepening of their relationship to self, others, and life itself.
Through individual counseling and group workshops, she has taught her results-oriented programs to many different types of people including those confined to mental institutions, substance and food abusers, and generally, people in life transitions, struggling with intimate
relationships, or who lack direction in their lives. Visit www.kdfarris.com.
KD is currently touring a new body of work, Talking About People in Transition, Also Known As
Liminal Space. She will be writing about liminality and its relevance to day-to-day living in upcoming issues of Soulful Living. For more information on this new and exciting topic, or to learn about more her private practice, workshops and lectures, visit
Contact KD at: info@MESHE.com