Last month I attended a spiritual/energy workshop in which the instructor repeatedly referred to her “collections” of items, such as books and craft supplies. Since it was a spiritual workshop, I have to admit I was somewhat surprised to hear about the extent of her collections. For some reason, I had come to believe that the spiritual path was devoid of clutter! The general belief I held went something like this:
Spiritual awakening is a process of divesting oneself of the physical in order to be 100% in touch with the Divine.
Umm…what?!? No. That’s death, not awakening. I know I don’t believe that. However, I can see how that belief had come to exist, because I think we all hear it every day from countless places (it doesn’t have to be a spiritual guru).
Until I heard a spiritual teacher admit to owning thousands of books, I didn’t fully realize how pervasive that story was in my environment. Messages like:
We have too much stuff, and we have to get rid of it. Live simply. Pare down. Clear out. Declutter.
The conversation in my head prompted me to truly explore my beliefs about clutter and possessions. It has forced me to look at my own life and make new decisions about old things. Here’s what I now know:
Things are things. They’re not memories. They’re things. The memory of something is held inside you – not in the porcelain of the dish on your dresser. (The dish may be the trigger that prompts you to access the memory, but it's not the memory itself.)
That being said, it’s also true that things are more than just things. Here’s what I mean: Some “things” are more meaningful than other “things.” And therein lies the key to deciding what to keep and what to release.
It occurred to me that the teacher’s collections bring her joy. Her “things” add value to her life by giving her hobbies and allowing her to create art and beauty. The value is not in the monetary equivalence of her library, it’s in the joy she imparts when she talks about the books she has read and owns. Her collections are not an accumulation of “things,” but rather they are a curated assortment of items that have brought her joy, knowledge, experience, and connection.
So, instead of looking at our belongings as clutter, what if we looked at each item and assessed its energetic value in our life? We do so by asking this question:
Does this item add value to my life, does it bring me joy?
If it does, then great! Use it, enjoy it, and take care of it. If it doesn’t, then it may be time to let it go.
Energetically speaking, every item in your home carries an invisible mark. The mark is the emotional energy the object carries. That mark speaks to you each time you see the item. For example, if you bought a handbag or wallet because you received a bonus at work it will carry a different energy than if you bought the same item when you were in debt, mad at someone, and/or did a bit of retail therapy. The energy is there. The key is to assess the energetic value of the item and make a decision on whether it stays or goes.
And, to help you with the releasing, let me share with you a phrase a friend of mine gave me years ago when I was cleaning out my overflowing closet:
“Let it be a blessing to someone else.”
There are people for whom that guilt-laden item would be like winning the lottery. Let it be a blessing for them.