Clearing the Clutter in Your Mind

By Regena Thomashauer   |  10Comments|

I am going through this absolutely agonizingly delicious process, right now, of clearing out and re-organizing my office. Impatient sigh. Taking each book from the shelf, holding it in my hand, and deciding — do I want this thing? Will I read it again? Did I ever read it? Am I keeping it because it was a gift? Should I donate it? The whole process makes me lightheaded and queasy. I am working with an organizer, and it still smarts.

That is, until one shelf is done. And then, another. And then, a whole mess of oxygen and space and light are freed up. Instead of feeling congested and pressed when I sit at my desk, I feel happy. And free. And when someone asks me for a book, I can race to the shelf and pick it up, knowing just where it is. Oh, what a feeling. No more agonizing over which pile it lives behind! I am like a gazelle when I reach for a book — no, more like a bird of prey, swooping down from a mountain, targeting my kill.

My poetry is back. I am myself again. And all I did was handle my own backlog of clutter and chaos. And I did it right on schedule. It is spring right now, after all.

Time for a little spring cleaning, anyone?

Clutter and chaos happen anywhere and everywhere in a human life.
Underwear drawers.
You name it.

But guess where we can create the most enormously ginormous backlog of garbage?

In our minds. Yah. Really. No kidding. See, your mind is not a refrigerator. When you leave something in the fridge, and come back and get it the next day, it is still fresh and fabulous. Your mind is not like that.

If you have a communication you need to make, and you do not make it, it not only clogs up the works inside your head, but it begins to rot and fester and infect other thoughts.

When your husband forgot to pick up the dry cleaning for the 17,000th time, and you hold in your frustration, you add to the interior clutter. When your boss yells at you for no reason, and it is just not the right time to argue back or defend yourself, you toss more garbage on your inner heap. When you get stuck in traffic and miss the opening act of the concert, or burn dinner, or forget your laptop for an important presentation, you just keep stacking up heaps and heaps of garbage, inside your own mind.
Sometimes it can be historical garbage — like, your first boyfriend broke your heart, so you bring your broken heart to every relationship. Sometimes it’s not even your garbage — you inherited your mom’s garbage about money because she was poor when she was a little kid.

And in our culture, we do not really get taught good ways of managing our garbage.
When people get too overloaded with unexpressed thoughts and feelings, we explode with anger. Or worse, we turn the anger in on ourselves.

But what if there was a way to do mental spring cleaning? Just like I did with my bookshelf? What if there was a way to dump all of that accumulated crap from years of unspoken communications — clean your own clock and fly free like a bird — just as I did, with my spring-cleaned office?

There is a special exercise that I teach, both in my book, “Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts” and in my seminars. It is one of the most popular and practical of all the tools in the great lexicon of the Womanly Arts toolbox. I would not start my day without it. If I don’t dump my crap, it could accumulate. And when it accumulates, my enjoyment of everything diminishes. Why? Well, think about it — you can’t enjoy, or even see, your clothes when they are jammed and stuffed in your closet. It is the same thing with your feelings. If you are stuffed with unprocessed, plugged-up emotions, from a day before, or a lifetime before, you can’t contact your own private truth. And life gets decidedly less fun. You start making decisions out of fear, rather than joy. You do what other people want for you, because you can’t find your own voice. Your voice is so deeply buried underneath a lifetime of crap. You are reactive, not proactive. Frustration is your middle name. Confusion is your first name. And your last name is Bleh. There are options and solutions all around you, but you can’t see any of them.

Constipation of the soul is not a pleasant sensation. Especially for you — you who have so much promise; you who have so much potential; you who have a heart filled with gorgeous, raw desire. So, I am going to give you the down-low on this little exercise, right here, right now, so you can do some spring cleaning that will lighten up every aspect of your surging, pounding, pulsing thoughts, so you can begin to really really fly in the direction of your deepest truth.

Here’s how it works. You can do this exercise alone or to a wall, but it is best done with a partner. You both first agree to keep what is said in the exercise confidential, so that you can be free in revealing your charge. Then, if you’re doing this exercise in person, sit facing each other, either at a café or some private place. You can also do this exercise over the phone. One of you asks the other the same question, over and over in an expressionless tone, for 10-15 minutes. The other answers. Then you switch. For example:

Person 1: What do you have on “desire”?
Person 2: I have no idea what I desire.
Person 1: Thank you. What do you have on “desire”?
Person 2: I remember when I was three, and I desired a ribbon for my hair and my mother criticized me.
Person 1: Thank you. What do you have on “desire”?
Person 2: I want a chocolate-covered pretzel right now.
Person 1: Thank you. …

… And so on. Then you switch. The result of this practice is you, uncluttered. You, unplugged. You, unfettered. You, the gazelle. You, the swooping bird. You. Pure, wild, savage, wonderful, irreplaceable you.

Photo credit: Roman Tanglao

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10 responses to Clearing the Clutter in Your Mind
  1. Excellent points. Printing and posting this in my office. Dr. Z

  2. What a great way to break through! As luck would have (or divine synchronicity that is) I just purchased Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts and can’t wait to read it! You are such an inspiration, Regina, and I’m psyched to learn your tricks of the trade!

  3. Excellent really. Very nice 😉

  4. is the question the same every time, or do you change questions then next time you do the exercise?

  5. thanks, dr. z!
    enjoy the book, hadley, and let me know how you like it.
    thanks, klubovi. YOU are very nice.
    bekka- it is the same question, each time. my book- Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts- gives more detailed explanations.

  6. thank you mammma gena! i enjoyed it thoroughly. thanks for the juicyness mammma! :)

  7. What a great post! I really love hearing about these tools I use every day…just good to hear about them afresh. There is always more to clear. Thank you for the booster shot! Yum. xo S

  8. Lydia said on May 6, 2012

    This is a great reminder, and it couldn’t have been better timed.
    xo,Lydia, aka DF

  9. Wow, I’m delighted that you compare reorganizing with spring cleaning! Of course they are one and the same…so glad we can share our gifts.