The thrust of this story is that a woman committed to sign up for one of my classes. The fact is she ghosted me. So, what happened?

A woman I didn’t know called asking about the services my business ALIGN offers. She wanted help with clearing her clutter—not her physical clutter, but the mental, emotional and spiritual clutter she has been grappling with. I offer a class called “Consciously Clearing Your Clutter, Uncovering the Subconscious Reasons for Your Clutter.” Although the focus of this class is ultimately on clearing physical clutter, much of the class helps people identify their intangible attachments to it.

For the past several weeks preceding the call, my attention had been and continues to be focused on re-branding my business. ALIGN currently works with three different tools: clutter, tarot and essential oils. It had been 12 years since I launched ALIGN. I was in the process of clarifying what aspects of my business are important to me.

During this re-branding process I rediscovered my passion for clearing clutter. Physical clutter is an important issue, because it literally covers a host of feelings no one wants to look at. But the more insidious clutter is the mental, emotional and spiritual clutter that we contend with day in and day out.

For the most part, we go about our days unaware of the stuff that fills our minds and hearts. The woman who called, we’ll call her Judy, wanted help with this kind of clutter. She was in town for only a few weeks. Could I help her now? Yes!

What One Phone Call Will Do

This one call was all I needed to create a class that would address the issue of intangible clutter. I was on it! In one week I gathered my thoughts and resources. I developed a four-session agenda, the class objectives and the handouts for the first session. The class is called “It’s an Inside Job! Consciously Clearing the Clutter within You.” I was ready!

Judy said she would call me back a few days after the initial call. She didn’t. I called her. She answered the call and said she couldn’t meet on the upcoming weekend because she had a friend coming to visit her from out of town.

She promised to call me Saturday morning to set a meeting time. No call Saturday morning. When I called her the next day, she agreed to meeting Thursday at 5:00 pm. Subsequently I sent her an e-mail asking her to consider a few questions before coming to class.

Thursday at 5:00 pm came and went. No Judy. The next morning I discovered she had sent me an e-mail a few hours before our agreed-upon time telling me she couldn’t make it. She indicated she had time to meet during the next few days. I responded using both e-mail and phone and asked her to call or text me. No text. No call. No response during the following 24 hours.

I finally got the message. Judy wasn’t coming.

Once I Knew I Was Ghosted

First, I was ticked off! Why string me along? She could have said, “I’ve decided I don’t want to take the class.” Instead, her cat-and-mouse approach drew me in and pushed me away several times until I finally figured out she wasn’t coming.

I confess I stewed on this awhile—a couple days, until I stumbled across a segment of the book I am currently reading, The Spontaneous Healing of Belief by Gregg Braden. Substantial information precedes the following quotation, but you’ll get the gist:

“Unresolved negative feelings that underlie chronic hurt—our beliefs—have the power to create the physical conditions that we recognize as cardiovascular disease: tension, inflammation, high blood pressure and clogged arteries.”

Braden goes on to cite researcher Tim Laurence from the Hoffman Institute in England, whose research shows that the potential impact of our failure to heal and forgive old hurts and disappointments cuts us off from good health. Laurence’s research indicated that “teaching people to ‘tone down’ their emotional responses to life situations could prevent heart attacks.”

This segment by Braden gave me pause. I needed to let go of the negative feelings I was harboring by being ghosted. I needed to move on. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Her behavior taps into memories and feelings of being ghosted in the past. It became imminently apparent I had to forgive Judy and forgive her now! Staying healthy is my priority.

The Bigger Picture

Braden’s words helped me to understand the bigger picture of this interchange between Judy and me. I believe Judy sincerely wanted to let go of her internal clutter. Otherwise, why would she have called me? Unfortunately she just wasn’t ready to do the work it required.

The few questions I sent her in advance of the class tipped her off and triggered her fearful “I’m in” and “I’m out” response. I suspect she wasn’t totally conscious of her handling of the situation, let alone the impact it had on me. Still I would have liked to have helped her.

The Bonus

Judy was the impetus for me to develop this class—a class I will launch within the next couple of months. I have her to thank for galvanizing me into action. This is the bonus of having had this brief encounter with her. I am grateful for it.

“They” say that you teach what you need to learn. Healing myself of the internal clutter that blocks me from living a happy and love-filled life is the work I must do. If I can do it, then I can help others do it, too.

This is the second in a three-part series on seeking life purpose. The first was posted on April 7, 2017.

A friend of mine came to me asking about her life purpose. A favorite way for me to explore complex issues like this one is using Tarot cards. She picked seven cards for a spread called “My Blind Spot.” Three, in particular, caught my attention. In the first blog of this series we looked at the card she pulled for the position of “Blind Spot”—the Eight of Pentacles. Check out the first blog for a more thorough discussion of the card and how it relates to my friend’s quest for life purpose. You may find it relevant to your own search.

How Others See Her—As a King!

The second card that caught my attention was the King of Pentacles. It landed in the position of “What I don’t know, but everyone else does.” Another pentacle card, but this time the figure is a king, not a worker! What does the notion of a king conjure up for you? Someone powerful, with authority, who rules? Someone with a kingdom?

Keywords often associated with this card are responsible, resolute and unshakeable, and competent, no-nonsense approach. Sarah Bartlett in her book The Tarot Bible describes this king as having “The Midas Touch.” To me this means able to resolve the problems that come up—the benevolent problem-solver. Let’s explore the details of this card.

Bogged Down with Responsibilities

In contrast with the Eight, her blind spot, this card spoke volumes. First, my friend doesn’t seem to be aware of how powerful she truly is. She is the person who commands not only her household but her life; this king is how others see her. Family members and most certainly friends come to her for advice and direction. She knows what to do and makes sure it gets done, if not by her, by someone else.

The challenge of being king may be that she is called on way more than she would like. Look at how bogged down this king is. Even though his robe is covered with grapes, a symbol of abundance, it looks heavy and cumbersome—an impediment to getting out of that throne. How spontaneous can this king be? He isn’t free to jump up and leave.

Could the responsibilities my friend has assumed prevent her from being spontaneous? Spontaneity carries energy, sudden creative urges and little to no planning. When we are fulfilling our life purpose, spontaneity sprinkles itself in between the plans and projects we embrace. Whimsical ideas, humor and fun get integrated into the process. Our King of Pentacles, however, feels the weight of his authority and may not be quick to inject humor into the mix. He is, above all else, at least in this context, responsible.

Making pentacles is like honoring commitments. Those commitments can blind us from seeing what’s best for our own spirit and well being. If we lighten our load, we can create the necessary space for finding and defining our life purpose. Like the Eight, the King is preoccupied with the pentacle he’s holding. He’s not free to go to the castle behind him. Instead he sits on this throne maintaining the authoritative, responsible role that a king assumes.

What’s Missing?

Pentacles represent things tangible and material like money, cars, houses and even relationships. If we are seeking our life purpose, where are our emotions, passions and plans? Life purpose without passion seems pretty dismal. How can you go after your life purpose if your emotions aren’t engaged?

The fact that my friend’s blind spot is the Eight of Pentacles, how she sees her situation, and others see her as the King of Pentacles seems limiting. An emphasis on being responsible can curtail the excitement and enthusiasm that a life purpose inspires. Other suits in the Tarot, like Wands, Cups and Swords, reflect these aspects.

Male versus Female

Once again the male figure as in the Eight shows up. Even though the Tarot has a Queen of Pentacles, my friend picked the King. Kings represent a dynamic force for change or choices to be made. Coupled with pentacles, this King has reached a level of maturation. He’s made his dynamic choices. No longer impatient to achieve his material goals, he can relax and enjoy them.

What a conundrum for my friend! The King of Pentacles is how others see her, yet on the inside she feels restless and seeks her life purpose. If the card she picked for this position were the Queen of Pentacles, others would see her peaceful and relaxed at where she finds herself in this world.

The masculine energy of the king is practical and pragmatic. Whatever the issue will be handled and resolved. Once handled, he will wait for the next one. In contrast, the feminine energy is typically more sensitive. Rather than quick to take action, the female is attuned to her feelings and those of others. It’s likely she’ll address those feelings before taking any action.

Let’s remember my friend is the one feminine voice in a family of men—her husband and three sons. Outnumbered. It makes sense that after years of being immersed in male energy, she might acquire some of it for herself. No surprise that others see her as the King of Pentacles.

In Short

The King of Pentacles is telling my friend to take off the kingly robe and get off the throne. Another way of saying this is “Just say No!” “No!” to taking on others’ issues. “No!” to believing it’s her responsibility to solve others’ problems. “No!” to always being available to others at the expense of her own peace of mind. She must be her Number One Priority. Her dreams, desires and urges need to see the light of day. Honoring them will open the door to life purpose.

My third blog in this series will address the third card that caught my attention, the insight my friend can glean from this reading. Read the rest of this entry »

Find Another Lover

August 15, 2014

“Find another lover.”  The late Adolph Ceasar spoke those words at a Smithsonian lecture I attended 30 years ago.  They came ringing back to me this morning.

For those unfamiliar with Adolph Ceasar, he was one of the voices behind the memorable catch-phrase, “The mind is a terrible thing to waste” for the United Negro College Fund.  A powerful actor in films, such as A Soldier’s Story and The Color Purple, Ceasar won recognition when he was nominated by both the Academy and the Golden Globe for best supporting actor in A Soldier’s Story.  While filming his last film Club Paradise, he suffered a heart attack and died shortly thereafter at the age of 53.

I remember he spoke these words with such clarity and fervor, “If your lover leaves you, find another lover.”  I knew he was right, but embracing his advice is another story.  How do you do that?  After you’ve shared such intimacies with another, it feels like your heart has been ripped out of your chest and only a hollow cave remains.  If the breakup is recent, some of us can barely hobble out of bed in the morning, let alone eat, dress and brush our teeth!

I am a believer that loss should be grieved.  Picking up the next day like nothing has happened after a meaningful relationship has ended is not a wise idea.  It’s called denial.  Your feelings must be acknowledged and felt; otherwise you carry them with you wherever you go.  You can pretend you’re fine, but anyone who’s the slightest bit aware picks up on the malaise that swarms around you.  Then you attract the rescuers and repel the more grounded.

Why Remember Adolph’s Words Now?

Why have Adolph’s words come back to me this morning?  You’re going to laugh!  I am grieving the loss of my morning boot camp–an exercise program with a certified trainer four mornings a week.  I had been religious about participating in this boot camp for the past year and a half.  At 5:45 AM I would get in my car, turn on NPR, and listen to this guy who talked about the latest technology trends during the 10 minutes it took to drive to the gym or park, depending on the weather and season.  In early July my boot camp program abruptly ended.

A workout program is hardly a lover, but the lover metaphor can be applied to anything you’re committed to.  Boot camp gave my day structure.  It was the impetus to get me moving.  If you are anything like me, I do not love to exercise.  Walking, yes, but push-ups, lunges, planks, and kettlebell swings, spare me!  Only under the surveillance of a trainer am I willing to subject myself to these kinds of exercises.

In my advancing years, I realize how important it is to move and take care of my body.  Boot camp ensured me that I was at least doing the minimum to keep myself limber–oiling the knees, tightening my underarm flab and staving off the fat that can’t wait to wrap itself around my hips.  Going to the workout room where I live doesn’t cut it.  Learning to use the different machines, adjusting them to the proper weight so I don’t kill myself, and deciding how many reps are demands I just don’t want to deal with.

The Trainers and My Workout Partners

And what about the relationships I developed there?  No, they may not equate to that of a lover, but they remain an important component of the whole experience.  I got attached to the trainers.  They were of such a high caliber.  One, in particular, always amazed me.  She would exercise along with us, counting the reps out loud at the same time.  Meanwhile, I could barely talk as I huffed and puffed my way through each exercise.  The hour was entirely planned with diverse activities, always leaving enough time to stretch and wind down at the end.  Each day had a focus:  cardio, legs, upper body, etc.  It was impressive.

Of course, let’s not forget my fellow compatriots!  Together we groaned, sweated and supported one another.  By the time this gig wound down, only four of us remained.  We knew who wouldn’t be there on Mondays, who was away visiting her parents, or who had a working breakfast or week-long conference to attend.  I would miss them when they couldn’t attend and be delighted when they returned.  Although I didn’t know them well, they all were a part of my morning routine.

The Racquetball Player and the Parking Lot Attendant

Initially I had joined this boot camp in 2004 and consistently sweated my guts out for five years.  Every winter we worked out in one of the rooms of a gym.  To get there we passed racquetball courts where the same guys played week after week.  One man would always say hi and ask how we were.

Due to illness, I had to withdraw in 2009.  I didn’t have the energy or stamina to do the exercises.  So, when I returned in February 2013, the same guys, a little grayer with the occasional ACE bandaged knee, were playing their routine racquetball game.  The same man remembered me and enthusiastically welcomed me back.  I never knew his name, nor he mine, but he made my visits to the gym that much sweeter.

Whenever I left the underground parking lot, I was required to give my ticket to a parking attendant.  Always with a smile at that crazy hour of the morning, she would wish me a good day.  I so enjoyed that one heartfelt minute we exchanged with each other.  Hearing how her weekend went or agreeing how cold it was created a caring connection.

My Time to Find a New Lover

In June my favorite trainer decided to relinquish the boot camp.  She had found more stable, lucrative employment elsewhere and passed the baton to another trainer.  After two days the new trainer discovered the arrangement wasn’t going to work.  She informed me by leaving a phone message and wishing me a “blessed life.”  With the flick of a dial and a quick “Dear John” voice mail, the relationship ended.

Nearly six weeks have passed, and I know it’s time for me to find a new lover.  Like most people who’ve suffered a breakup, I am resistant.  I know, however, I must get out there and explore the options.  I’ve grieved enough.  My clothes are beginning to fit snugly.  My love-handles are gaining ground.  Adolph was right.  If I follow his advice, I won’t have to buy a new wardrobe.


Intimacy, LTD

January 4, 2013

IntimacyThey were a striking couple. Dutch. In their 30s. He was handsome and she lovely. I had the pleasure of meeting them more than 10 years ago when I visited my best friend living in London at the time. All of them, my friend and this couple, were “ex-pats,” working for international corporations.

Living with “ex-pat” benefits can make international living exciting, although not without individual challenges. The couple wanted to get pregnant at the time. At first it wasn’t happening, but after some angst-ridden ups and downs, their first child was born and another followed. He moved up the ladder, and they moved to Moscow where he continued his corporate work.

Now in 2013, back home in Holland, he has a girlfriend. The husband and wife have formally separated. The children see their parents apart. What happened to this bright-eyed, brilliant (as in light) couple?

Doing the Best We Can

It’s so easy to blame the guy and say how horrible it is he’s hooked up with a girlfriend. But, it’s just not that simple! In fact, it’s complex.

It takes time to know someone.

It takes time to know someone.

What I’ve learned in the past 60+ years of being on this planet is that we are all doing the best we can. It takes time, sometimes lots of it, to know a person—to REALLY know a person! We think we know those people we’ve hung out with, especially those for long periods of time. Then, BAM! Who is that person? You say, “He isn’t the one I fell in love with!” or “…who married my sister! He’s never acted like this before!”

The couple in question did get couples counseling. Apparently, that discussion yielded clarity. He’s determined he couldn’t go back to his married life. He’s clear he wants to be with the girlfriend. And in astonishment, we ask, “How could he do that after two children and years of being married to a truly lovely person?” Here’s the answer: He couldn’t stay in the marriage. He just couldn’t. I suspect he did the best he could.

I will say outright, I know no details. I have no idea of the dynamic between the husband and wife. I am writing about this with no knowledge. So, you may rightly question my writing a blog about this relationship. In response, I say the details don’t matter. The outcome tells the tale.

It’s a Question of Intimacy

ChoicesThe outcome boils down to intimacy. They had the option of continuing to work on the marriage with professional help. He could have spent time reassessing his marriage vows and the concept of commitment. He could have taken, and probably did take, a good hard look at his children and the upheaval a divorce will impose on them. He could have “done this” or “done that,” but in the end, it doesn’t matter. He felt he had to leave.

Being intimate is maybe the most challenging task before us in this life. It means being honest about ourselves—first with ourselves and, next, if in relationship, with another. This guy ran into a roadblock, where he probably had to tighten his belt and face difficulty. He had choices. He chose to stop working on the marriage and start something new. Working on the marriage is just that—work. Starting something new can be fun, exciting, and, more than anything else, distracting. When we’re distracted, we don’t have to focus on the issue that’s been troubling us, at least while we bathe in the deliciousness of distraction. Oh, when we do, it feels so good and yet so fleeting.

The Need to Move On

Sometimes we believe we can’t tighten our belts anymore. We can’t face the music. We can’t deal with the work that needs to be done. So we find ways to distance ourselves from ourselves or from others. After all, why are so many people struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction or workaholism? People can’t be intimate with themselves. Admitting vulnerability is just not something they do. Instead, they deny their frailty and refuse to be honest with themselves.

Nine of Swords

Nine of Swords

Recently I read Tarot cards at a party. One woman drew the Nine of Swords. As you can see from the picture, a person sits up in bed with his hands over his eyes. He can’t see the beautiful spread that covers the bed nor can he see the swords neatly arranged on the wall to his left. I asked if she had trouble sleeping. She immediately said yes and explained she is so consumed by her work that she gets up at 4:30 AM and arrives at the office an hour later in an effort to get her work done. She admitted she often ends her workday late, sometimes at 7:30 PM.

I asked the woman how she was feeling. Although I can’t remember her exact response, I do remember the despair and desperation she expressed. I counseled her to start drawing boundaries around the work she could do and get help from her supervisor in handling the rest. I was adamant that she needed to take care of herself, otherwise she would get sick. Later I learned the woman was unhappy with the reading. She heard the truth but couldn’t face it. She was going to find another Tarot reader to get a more congenial interpretation of the cards.

In Conclusion

Facing the truth is hard. Admitting to vulnerability usually hurts. We don’t want to see any fissures in our armor. But what if we do? Just like the guy mentioned above, we have choices. And what if we choose to stay right where we are and deal with whatever confronts us? I believe there’s something really good on the other side of the confrontation. Confronting the block allows us to pierce a veil. We shatter another defense. We move to a deeper level of intimacy. We see our humanness. We gain wisdom. We are more conscious of who we are and what we can offer. We are more authentic.

Bev Hitchins © 2013

I have lots of intentions.  Don’t you?  For example, Ive set the intention to visit the Iguazu Falls in Argentina.  Guess what?  I am no closer to manifesting this intention than I was when I stated it for the first time two years ago.  What happened?  I got distracted and put it on the back burner.  Did you put yours there, too?

It turns out that everything has a certain electrical frequency, even intentions.  Not only do our bodies have a frequency that changes due to a multitude of internal and external factors, but our thoughts and intentions have one, too.  The higher the frequency, the healthier and happier we are.  The lower, the more prone we are to being depressed and immobile.

In her memoir Grand Obsession, Perri Knitze asks Graves, “So do we each have our own frequency?”  Graves is one of the piano tuning experts she hires to regain the perfect sound her piano had when she bought it in New York City before it was shipped to her home in Montana.  Here’s what he replies,

“We have a full spectrum of frequencies.  We have to watch how we treat our frequencies.  What we image, ingest, taste—we have a lot more to learn about biochemistry.  We do things that don’t let us grow, like watch degraded stuff on TV, eat depleted food, listen to music with a ‘heavy’ frequency.  We don’t vibrate like no sine wave.  The way we vibrate is deep.  We have to understand what biological waves are all about.” 

Wow!  I suspect I have unconsciously imagined, ingested and tasted a lot of degraded, depleted, heavy stuff.  I didn’t even know it.  It’s too easy to digress about the shoot-em up television shows, MacDonald’s hamburgers, and heavy metal music of which our American culture boasts.  Let’s focus on intentions for now. 

Change Causes Resistance—Even if it’s for Our Own Good!

Even if we have an intention, it’s sometimes tough to get beyond the first step of setting it.  Here’s an example.  During the first session of my most recent “Consciously Clearing Clutter” class, I asked participants to declare an intention for the next three weeks while the class occurs.  They identify a particular area they plan to de-clutter and commit to working on it for a minimum of five minutes every day.  No more than five minutes is required.  The class meets four times. 

At the second session, one week after the first class, only one out of four participants had honored her intention.  At first I was surprised.  These participants had paid good money to work on their clutter.  They are expecting to see results by the last class.  Staying where we are, stuck and unhappy, holds a frequency we are familiar with.  Our long-term discomfort turns comfortable.  To raise our frequency to a higher, healthier level takes effort, in most cases, a concerted one. 

One participant in my class had decided to focus on the poorly designed laundry area in her home as her assignment; this same area also serves as a pass-through to the garage.  Due to a number of factors, laundry for her family of five piles up and often clogs the passageway.  She rarely sees the floor.  Her report after the first week was discouraging.  She couldn’t do her five-minutes-a-day de-cluttering.  Only a load or two of laundry was washed, in spite of her family’s average 13 loads a week.  

When the Frequency Shifts—Look Out!

At the end of the second week, however, things started to shift.  She reported having done many loads of laundry and was beginning to see the floor again.  Even more amazing was the problem-solving that occurred during the third class. 

She herself is an engineer and had asked movers to change the location of the washer and dryer before her family moved into the house.  Months later, it became clear the new location of the appliances wasn’t working.  Mentally she has been feverishly reconfiguring the space ever since they moved in.  Nothing seemed to feel right.

During the class we discovered that it took two hours for the dryer to dry a load of clothes—way too long, especially for a 13-load a week family.  A new dryer was in order.  This discussion spurred more ideas from others in the class:

  • Why not get a professional consultant’s opinion on how to redesign the space?
  • What if she delegated laundry duty, or at least a portion of it, to the two oldest children?
  • How about using a Wash and Fold Service, that takes dirty laundry and returns it washed and folded a couple days later?

All of us engaged in solving her problem, and she was open to hearing our ideas.  From hopeless and overwhelmed to ready for action, this participant left the third class with options she hadn’t considered before. 

At the beginning of the class everyone had set an intention and agreed to support each another in realizing it.  By the third class a noticeable alignment had occurred.  From there the problem-solving ideas gushed out, one right after another. 

Intention is Everything

Let’s return to Perri Knitze and her piano, which she calls Marlene.  In her memoir, she writes, “I tell Graves about my first encounter with Marlene, how I resonated deeply with her, how I fell hard for her.  What was it I experienced?”

This is how Graves responds:  “You experienced the intention of every person who ever worked on that piano,” he says.  “The person who tuned it, the person who built it.  That piano carries their intentions.  Intention is everything.”

It’s the same with us.  Who are we hanging out with?  Have we defined our intention?  What is the intention of those folks we choose to be with?  That’s why a class or a like-minded group is so helpful.  If we set the intention and commit to it with the added benefit of being with like-minded people, the likelihood is great we will see it happen.  And if it’s clutter you are struggling with, consider setting an intention with my “Consciously Clearing Clutter” class! 

Hey, want to visit the Iguazu Falls?  Together we can support each other’s intention, raise each other’s frequency, and see what solutions percolate to the surface.  Together we’ll experience the mysterious unfolding of an amazing Argentinian adventure.

Bev Hitchins © 2011

This is the third of three articles discussing the use of essential oils when clearing clutter.  I diffuse Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO) blends when working with my clients.  To understand the context of this blog, you may wish to refer to my last two blog entries dated October 13 and September 27, 2010. 

In my last blog I identified three oil blends that when diffused during the clutter clearing process can have a calming and uplifting affect on those doing the work.  To be successful, it’s not uncommon to experience lots of emotional heavy-lifting.  The diffused oils make it optimal to traverse the emotional and mental blocks that keep us locked into our clutter.  Many contend that once the clutter is gone, their job is done.  This assumption, however, is false. 

It takes work to maintain newly cleared space.  To keep it that way, requires changes in attitude and behavior.  Clutter, remember, is an outer manifestation of what is going on inside you.  How you approach each day is fundamental to examining your attitude and behavior. 

For example, if you are out of sorts with your boss, you may end up tossing today’s, tomorrow’s and the next day’s mail in a corner when you get home.   Having had an argument with your significant other, you may feel the urge to “shop until you drop” and then leave the unopened bag on the living room sofa for weeks on end.  Or perhaps you are so consumed by a deadline at work that you let your dirty dishes stack up in the sink. 

By not dealing directly or in a balanced way with issues before us, we begin to neglect ourselves.  We forget the commitment we made earlier to keep our space clutter-free.  Instead we let the clutter accumulate again.  It starts insidiously.  One bag begets another.  One pile attracts another.  Before we know it, we’re frustrated, frantic and fit to be tied all over again.

One way to keep balanced and on track is to diffuse essential oils.  (See previous blogs for information about diffusers and YLEO blends.)  I suggest using three blends for maintaining a clutter-free environment:  Harmony, Gathering and Gratitude. 

Stress—A Clutter Culprit

Many will point a finger at stress as the cause for our clutter recurrence.  When stress enters, our focus goes to the “crisis” at hand and how we are going to handle that—not necessarily on keeping our clutter contained or our space clutter-free.  That’s why altering our approach to stress merits attention.  Instead of resisting it, what if we welcomed it? 

The essential oil blend Harmony helps to establish and maintain a positive attitude, an important ingredient when confronting stress.  The 17 single oils it comprises reflect the complexity of the blend.  Three of Harmony’s single oils, Hyssop, Orange and Rose, underscore its unique ability to bring the body and spirit into harmonic balance.  Under stress, we might have the urge to withdraw.  Hyssop counteracts that urge; Orange promotes mental clarity and emotional balance; and Rose creates a sense of well being.  The inner harmony that this blend generates prevents us from surrendering to the battering that stress imposes.  It helps us to remember that self-care is of utmost importance if we are going to thrive in this 21st century.  

Aren’t We Really Seeking Peace and Balance?

It is so easy to get distracted these days—terrorism, the economy, our finances, family or health can rivet our attention away from ourselves and our life purpose and fracture the inner peace we are seeking.     

A blend called Gathering can keep us focused, grounded, and connected.  Three of its nine oils are spiritual and found in the Bible:  Galbanum, Frankincense and Sandalwood.  Galbanum when coupled with Frankincense enhances the connection to our Higher Power—where inner peace resides.  Sandalwood reduces tension, confusion, fear and stress.   The unique combination of essential oils in this blend helps us to gather our thoughts, so they can be focused, allowing our heart and mind to work together harmoniously.  They enable us to concentrate on our own life and avail ourselves of our best choices. 

At the End of the Day, Let’s Be Grateful!

Another way to keep our space clear of clutter is to take time to be grateful for both the tangible and intangible gifts we receive each day.  The blend Gratitude was formulated to elevate, soothe and appease the mind while bringing relief and relaxation to the body.   Taking a moment to relax at the end of each day allows for reflection and an opportunity to be gentle with ourselves.   One ingredient, Myrrh, promotes spiritual awareness and encourages us to open our heart and mind to receive gifts, while another ingredient, Ylang ylang, inspires self-love, confidence, joy and peace.  This unique blend fosters a mind-body connection that enables us to appreciate the blessings in our life.

Exposing ourselves to these rich aromas we begin to see the beauty and bounty of our surroundings.  We no longer want to ignore the mail, toss our purchases on the sofa, or let the dishes stack up.  We slow down.  We stop behaving as if no one cares.  We become conscious and we are grateful.

The Same Oils Are Found in Different Blends

It is interesting to note that the some of the same oils are found in each of these three blends.  Two in particular, Frankincense and Ylang Ylang, are found in all three and seem significant in helping us maintain a clutter-free space.  For example, many of us suffer from mental chatter.  We get so distracted by constant nattering about this and that that we lose our focus and forget our purpose.  Frankincense helps cease this chatter, increase spiritual awareness and inspire meditation. 

If left unaddressed, all that mental chatter can lead to anxiety, fear and anger.  Ylang Ylang can soothe those emotions and lift our fears.  An effective complement to Frankincense, it helps balance our male and female energies and fosters intimacy.  Clearing our clutter and maintaining a clutter-free space are intimate acts.  Many of us who have clutter have difficulty being intimate with ourselves.  Ylang Ylang creates the opening for us to meet ourselves.  If we allow that opening, we end up discovering a partner, not an adversary.  We feel empowered to stay on track.


Essential oils can enhance our clutter-clearing efforts.  Although not required to do the job, they can affect all aspects of our being—body, mind, heart and soul.  Consider them as a friend, helpmate, or companion as you begin or continue to clear your clutter.  They have the power to transform the energy of your space, your clutter, and ultimately you.  They help us remember the commitment we made to keep our space clutter-free.  They encourage us to heal and to seek the life we are meant to lead.  Isn’t that what we are here for?  Well, then, let’s get on with it!

I used Connie and Alan Higley’s Reference Guide for Essential Oils to list ingredients in the oil blends discussed and to describe their qualities.  You can order Young Living Essential Oils at  Please use my member number #303970 as your sponsor and enroller.

Are You Ready?

March 1, 2010

Have you set an intention to clear your clutter?  Many people do, but I suggest you take one more step and ask yourself whether you are ready to deal with it—touch it, think about it, and then take action with it. 

A client recently invited me to help her de-clutter.  When we approached her bed linen-covered dining table, I was unaware of her feelings about what lay under those sheets.  Because I had been asked to help her de-clutter, I approached the table ready to address whatever was before us.  As I helped her unveil the hidden contents, I sensed her reluctance to start the process.  Mounds of disparate papers confronted us—booklets, brochures, junk mail, catalogues, and files. 

“What is the System?”

“What is the ‘system’ for dealing with this?” she asked.  Perhaps it is a matter of semantics, but I don’t have a “system” per se.  Instead, my approach is this:  sort one item at a time into like-piles (e.g., junk mail with junk mail, bills with bills).  Once everything is sorted, you can see how many duplicates you have, what magazine issues are missing, or what bills have to be paid.  You can then begin to determine which items need immediate action, which can be filed or archived, and which are to be tossed or recycled. 

In the end everything must leave the dining room table and reside in its proper home, be it a filing cabinet, a bills-to-be-paid file, a reading pile, or in the trash.  Every item must be picked up, looked at and dealt with.  Decisions have to be made.  Once I described the process, my client concluded she could do this herself.  Our session ended shortly thereafter. 

Taken aback and feeling dismissed, I wondered why I had been invited to help.  What had just happened?  My client thought she was ready to de-clutter her dining room table, but in the end, she wasn’t.  What could she have done to spare herself the expense of a failed session with a de-cluttering consultant?  Below are my suggestions:

A Step-by-Step Approach

Step 1:  Assess your clutter 

  • What is it (e.g., papers, clothes, household items, artwork, vehicles)?
  • How big is it (e.g., in one room, throughout your home or backyard)? 
  • Where is it (e.g., outside, in your attic, in your home office)? 

Take time see how widespread it is and how you feel about it.  If it seems overwhelming, ask yourself if it is because of the amount of clutter you have, the large size of the objects you consider clutter, or the location of where your clutter resides that deters you.  Does one or more of these factors cause you to resist handling your clutter?   

Step 2:  Assess your willingness to address it

  • Why now?  Is there a catalytic event that causes you to deal with it?  One of my clients was confronted with inviting her daughter’s future in-laws for dinner before the wedding date.  Frantically she had to clear the dining and living rooms of all their clutter before her guests arrived.  She later described her preparation as “traumatic.”


  • Are you willing and able to devote time to de-cluttering?  So many of my prospective clients want to clear their clutter, but they devote the majority of their waking time to their work or their jobs.  They don’t, and claim they cannot, find time for de-cluttering.  They proclaim, “I’m just too tired to deal with my clutter after work.  I need to veg.”  That may be true, but if you can see that de-cluttering is a form of self-care, you may then make space in your schedule to de-clutter a small area to make more space in your home and in your life for YOU. 


  • Can you make a commitment to do the work?  The work I am referring to is setting a goal of clearing your clutter, breaking the task into small steps, and beginning the process.  Many people who express a desire to clear their clutter want to believe they can do so with the wave of a wand.  They forget it took months or maybe even years to accumulate all this stuff.  The hardest work is making decisions—to keep or not to keep, that is the question.  If you decide to keep something, then you must ask yourself, “Why?” and “Where does it go?”  There are other questions, too, but these are the most pressing.  Answering honestly is a must, because holding onto to something for bogus reasons will not serve you well. 

Step 3:  Getting help, if you need it

Shame, embarrassment, and depression can be deterrents to your moving forward.  If you find you cannot make the necessary decisions mentioned above then help may be required.  Is there someone you know and trust who can help you?  Perhaps a friend or family member can support you throughout this de-cluttering process. 

If you can’t identify someone in your own circle, consider hiring a professional.  Professionals are objective, know how to approach your situation, and can accelerate your work.  They have seen a multitude of clutter situations, so yours will not surprise them.  If you go this route, know that it will be an investment in time and money, and will probably take more than one session to get the job done.  Budget yourself and your resources.

Final Note

I advised my client who decided she could handle the clutter on her dining room table by herself to spend time looking at her clutter.  Up to this point she admitted ignoring it.  If she were to make a commitment to look at that table and all that covered it for an extended period of time (5 minutes a day for 21 days), lots feelings inevitably would surface.  Those feelings, if respected, could galvanize her into action.  She would at last be ready. 

So, whenever you set an intention to clear your clutter, take a moment to assess your readiness.  Sometimes we think we’re ready, but we aren’t.  Review my three steps.  If your answer is “No!” then give yourself more time.  If your answer is “Yes!” then go for it!

If you decide you need a professional to help you de-clutter, call me at 703.998.0880 or send me an e-mail at