When we were born, we came into this world with our bodies and our spirits/souls. That was it! We were pure little beings with no attachments…for about 45 seconds. It didn’t take long for the accumulation to start. It started with a name that was given to us at birth and most likely several nicknames as the visitors began filing into the room. Then there was all the memorabilia to celebrate this special day — foot and hand prints on a framed, gold-lined certificate and pictures galore. As the months and years progressed, we continued to collect more trinkets that we deemed (or someone deemed) important like baby teeth and snippets of hair. These little treasures were shortly joined by other treasures as the years went on — we fell in love and kept the love letters, we found a seashell from our first trip to the beach and we saved it for luck. Most likely, these things ended up someplace special for us to cherish forever and possibly pass down the family line.
However, there were a lot of things that we accumulated along the way accidentally. Sure, there were things that we meant to collect like coins or stamps, but there was a lot of junk we just sort of hung on to for far too long. You know, that silly toy in the box of cereal that we couldn’t live without. We dug out the plastic toy, played with it for 3 minutes, got bored with it and then tossed it in a drawer somewhere. If we’re all being honest, we can say that happened a lot!
I know in our house, our parents made us go through the painstaking exercise of cleaning out our toy boxes and our closets to give all of our extra stuff away to Goodwill. It was a regular Spring cleaning event and with as many kids as my parents had, it was quite the extravaganza. As bothered as I used to be at giving up an entire Saturday to do this, as an adult, I appreciate that we were taught to keep our space clean and free of clutter. We were encouraged to let go of things that we no longer needed or outgrew which allowed someone else to have something that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. If we hadn’t done our annual purge, our house would have been so full of stuff that trying to get from one place to another would have been impossible. We wouldn’t be able to move without knocking into something which would have not only been annoying, it would have been limiting. We all have that one junk drawer in the house — who can ever find anything in that drawer? When there’s too much stuff laying around, it just gets in the way!!
We can all relate to the notion of physical clutter but very few of us consider the same limitations when energetic clutter exists.
First off, what is energetic clutter?
Energetic clutter is the accumulation of energetic or emotional stuff that is no longer needed or that we have outgrown. Energetic clutter can be very old or it can be brand new, but age doesn’t matter… if when we think about it, it strikes a negative or uncomfortable cord inside us somewhere, it’s time to make it right so we can let it go.
Here’s an example: Let’s say that last month you and a very dear, lifelong friend had a huge argument. Every time you see that picture of the two of you from high school hanging on the wall in the guest room, it makes you burn up inside. Your heart may race or your face may get hot or you might get a knot in your stomach. That is energetic clutter and it needs to go. There are several things you could do here to clear out this energetic clutter.
- If the friendship is a healthy one that you wish to continue and the argument was nothing more than a very strange and random occurrence, you’ll need to make amends. You’ll need to apologize for your responsibility in the blow-out with the intention of putting this behind you. This will likely require putting aside some pride but, trust me…. it is so worth doing to remove that burning feeling from inside while reinstating a great friendship. Let’s also be honest — if something horrific were to happen to her, you know you would be devastated that this stupid fight was the last interaction you had with her. Your ego will try desperately to stay fighting because it really wants to be right but, let’s be honest, feeling this burning feeling inside is not right.
- If the friendship has been deteriorating over the years and this blow-out was needed to put an obvious period at the end of an era, you’ll still want to dissolve any emotional charge and let this relationship end peacefully. This could be done with a letter where the only intention is to send love and appreciation for the friendship you did have and then apologize for the part you played and wish her well. No, “I told you so’s” allowed.
- I find that releasing the uncomfortable situation through meditation is a great way to go. Here is one approach. Close your eyes in a nice, quiet space free from distractions. Take 8 long deep belly breaths in and out and with each breath, say to yourself, “I am relaxed and ready to learn.” Say this mantra with each breath as it will help to keep you focused. As strange as this next part may sound, I want you to ask the argument (or situation you’re looking to release) to tell you where in your body it is living. Then pay attention because it will likely be a subtle answer. You’ll probably notice it living in the heart, throat, head or gut but honestly, it could be living anywhere. Once it has identified its hangout, ask the argument what you needed to learn (everything is here to teach us something). Again, be still and patient. Again, the answer will likely be subtle. Once you feel you understand why the argument or situation showed up, thank it for coming and then ask it to leave. If you are a visual person, you could imagine it as dust particles blowing off in the wind, if you are better at feeling, you may notice some tingling as you ask it to leave. What you will notice is a nice peace about this situation come over you. It is really, really important to keep your ego in check because your ego will be dying to get in there and tell you how silly this exercise is and that you should still be pissed while listing all the reasons why. (Egos are masterful and stealing joy!) Lastly, you’ll want to send this person love.
- If you have access to a meditation coach, hypnotherapist or someone who can do guided imagery with you to walk you through this energetic release exercise, that’s a great option as well.
We all know the difference between holding onto our first place ribbon for the science fair vs. holding on to a press-on tattoo from a Cracker Jack box, so we should be able to know the difference between holding onto those loving energy moments that live in our hearts and make us feel wonderful vs. those rotten energy moments that live in our stomachs and make us feel tired. Let’s agree to hold on to the treasures that make us feel joy and let go of the ones that we’ve outgrown so we can make room for more good stuff. Whether the closet requires a purging of too many shoes or too many yucky feelings, both exercises require time spent to review what’s in there so we can decide what can stay and what needs to go. The closet is not going to clean itself. The good news is, once the clutter is gone, we can move freely and easily without always bumping into old stuff that just keeps getting in the way. There is a wonderful life for all of us to live and we need to make room for it!
Peace, my friends!
Dawn Culp, Meditation Coach at The Zen Room
Originally published at medium.com