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.

Harboring anger and resentment can be consuming.  I didn’t realize how much until one day I just got tired of doing it. 

My Forgiveness Story

My neighbor and I share a small garden between our two stoops.  One year we were going to plant a garden together, but somewhere between the digging and the planting, something went wrong.  Either she didn’t like what I was doing or I didn’t want to take her directives.  From that time forward hostility colored our every exchange.  I made a concerted effort to avoid crossing her path.  Sometimes that meant waiting until she drove off or until she shut her door after arriving home.

The mature person would have put the issue on the table and asked the other what had caused this strife, but neither one of us could make that concession.  I guess we felt more comfortable holding onto the dastardly images we painted of each other so we could justify our anger. 

My First Attempt—A Feng Shui Cure

A couple years into our acrimonious standoff, I tried to change the dynamic between us.  Using a Feng Shui cure, I planted two rocks in the garden—one on her side and the other on my side—connected with a red string.  Each rock had the word “Harmony” painted on it.  I had hoped this ancient cure would ease the tension between us.  More importantly, I knew it signaled my first step in getting off an angry merry-go-round. 

I am not sure the Feng Shui cure worked.  Nothing seemed to change except that a day of reckoning did finally come.  I was leaving my home one morning months after I had set the cure in motion.  As usual, when I lock my door, I usually end up facing her stoop.  That particular morning I got a good look at her stoop.  The thought came rushing in, “This mental anguish between you and her must stop!”  How?  I wasn’t sure.  I still felt angry.  I wasn’t about to sit down and talk to my neighbor.  Not yet.

My Second Attempt—Getting Biblical

During this time, a Bible passage came to my attention. 

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.”  –Matthew 18: 21-22:

I started thinking, “What if I write a statement of forgiveness 490 times?”  I could do 70 statements a day for seven days and see what happens.  I wanted to resolve this issue once and for all.  I wasn’t ready to do it face-to-face, addressing it spiritually had potential.  I devised the statement:  “I forgive my neighbor and myself for past hurts.”  I thought I should include myself as well since I was one of the two players in this scenario.  

I began writing on Sunday.  By Wednesday things started happening in my condominium apartment. 

A Punctured Pipe Serves as Catalyst      

My bathroom is right above hers.  Since our units are more than 60 years old, the aging pipes often get clogged.  On Wednesday, the fourth day of writing my forgiveness statements, a member of the condominium staff snaked my clogged bathroom sink.  The next morning I took a shower.  What happened next changed everything.

I got an angry call from my neighbor.  The snake-job the day before had punctured my shower’s drain pipe, causing major leakage onto my neighbor’s bathroom ceiling.  By Friday afternoon the condominium management notified me that I could not take a shower or bath until after the weekend.  Since Monday was Veterans’ Day that meant Tuesday was the earliest I would be able to shower in my own home.

The Turning Point

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Faced with no access to bathing facilities, I got a knock on my door from my neighbor.  Since the first signs of leakage, we had had several conversations during which I expressed my concern and apology for this terrible inconvenience and damage.  She stopped by to inform me she was going out of town for the holiday weekend.  Knowing my predicament, she offered me the keys to her condo and gave me an open invitation to take showers or baths while she was away. 

This was mind-blowing!  After years of hostility, the logjam had been broken.  The keys were a peace offering, and I accepted them.  Although I still had feelings to deal with that kept me from showering in her condo, I knew progress had been made.  I completed the final set of sentences on Saturday.  I had been freed.  I could now move beyond the anger and resentment to a place of acceptance. 

Timeline Summary                       

Days 1-3     Began writing forgiveness statements each day

Day 4         Condominium maintenance man snaked sink pipe

Day 5         Shower leaked into neighbor’s bathroom

Day 6         Forbidden to shower; Received keys

Day 7         Completed writing forgiveness statements

Why Call Forgiveness a Clutterbuster?

So much of the clutter we carry around is intangible.  It’s mental, emotional and spiritual.  The resentment aimed at my neighbor occupied my thinking every time I left or entered my condo.  I would get annoyed when I heard loud voices or hammering from her unit, when she hosted parties, and even when she had a patio put in her backyard.  Whatever resentment conceived during our “garden altercation” mushroomed into a resentment that permeated everything I witnessed her doing.  It felt like a fungus I couldn’t control—until I realized I could control it.  I could expurgate it!

Anger and resentment are like deceptive lovers.  They cling to us and, in an odd way, comfort and protect us, much like material clutter.  We become co-dependent.  By holding onto them, we shield ourselves from the truth that we are the ones in charge of our own feelings.  Debilitating feelings left untended color our vision and deafen our hearing.  In the end we can’t see beyond the situation or hear our inner guidance.  We get stuck.

These days my relationship with my neighbor is peaceful and harmonious.  Recently she chided me for not telling her I had been ill for a week.  She said she would have made me soup and checked in on me had I let her know.  Thanks to forgiveness, our relationship has been healed.  I can now focus on something more positive than anger when I leave or enter my condo.  I can greet her with a light heart.  It feels wonderful.

Clutter evokes emotion! When I become aware of my clutter, a litany of thoughts swirls around in my head. They’re faintly conscious, probably because I have heard them all so many times before. Here are a few: “I may need that food processor!” “Suzi gave me that scarf!” “Mother wrote those recipes!” “When I need that electric drill, I’ll save money!” “I know that illustration my uncle painted is worth a lot!”

My immediate response to these disparate thoughts is something like, “Yea, yea, yea! So what?” Then I go into “Ignore Mode” and turn to something I think is more important, like writing this blog. I am certain this chronic behavioral pattern keeps me stuck to my clutter.

I’ve discovered there’s more to my stuckness than I initially thought. A whole subconscious subtext is playing 24/7, and I didn’t even know it. It’s not just what I am consciously thinking that impacts my life, but what my subconscious is thinking, too. In The Power of the Subconscious Mind (Reward Books, 2000), Joseph Murphy writes about the dual nature of the mind:

“A wonderful way to begin getting to know the two functions of your mind is to think of it as a garden. You are the gardener. You are planting seeds of thought in your subconscious mind all day long. Much of the time you are not even aware of doing so, because the seeds are based on habitual thinking. As you sow in your subconscious mind, so shall you reap in your body and environment…If you sow thorns, will you gather grapes? If you sow thistles, will you harvest figs?”

No wonder it’s been so difficult to release my stuff–not just physical, tangible stuff but mental tirades and emotional flagellations, too. While I’ve been sowing clutter-clutching thoughts and rationales for years and expecting a clutter-less life in return, I never seemed to get as far as I would have liked.

Now more aware, I’ve been searching for ways to wrestle these self-sabotaging, often subconscious thoughts to the ground.  I’ve found two techniques to share–writing with your non-dominant hand and a Hawaiian clearing method called Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono. I’ll give a quick summary of both along with links so you can explore them on your own time.

Writing with Your Non-Dominant Hand

A friend of mind introduced me to Lucia Cappachione’s The Power of the Other Hand, A Course in Channeling the Inner Wisdom of Your Right Brain, two years ago. Wow! I got excited when I read Lucia’s compelling argument with the non-dominant hand. By slowing your thinking and unlocking the secrets hidden in your right brain, you can get creative solutions to questions you’ve been asking yourself for a long time. I have practiced writing with my left (non-dominant) hand many times and always discover a soothing, compassionate voice I rarely let myself hear. Consider exploring your blocks to clutter clearing using this technique. I bet you’ll get an understanding you haven’t had before.

Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono

Double-Triple Wow! I stumbled upon this technique when I ordered Nightingale-Conant’s The Missing Secret by Joe Vitale. This Hawaiian technique helps to heal your subconscious, simply by saying the following four sentences, “I love you. Please forgive me. Thank you. I’m sorry.” Before you jettison this idea out the window, because it sounds unbelievable, consider this:  Hawaiian psychotherapist Dr. Ihealeakala Hew Len healed an entire ward of ciminally insane patients by simply reviewing their files and stating these sentences over and over again. He never saw them or worked with them face-to-face.

I believe the reservoir of our subconscious is one reason why we can’t seem to clear our clutter.  This clearing method is a great way to pierce it.  For more information: check out Nightingale-Conant.  Also, consider reading Joe Vitale’s and Ihaleakala Hew Len’s zerolimits, The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace & More (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007).

When clutter clearing seems impossible and you feel you’ve hit a roadblock, I encourage you to start writing with your non-dominant hand to shine a light on what lies under your clutter. And, if inspired, take time to investigate the Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono clearing method. I’ve used it many times and found it shifted my perspective quickly.