Often our clutter is an outward manifestation of our inner experience.
Julia Cameron, in her acclaimed course book, The Artist’s Way, writes, “In order to work freely on a project, an artist must be at least functionally free of resentment (anger) and resistance (fear). What do we mean by that? We mean that any buried barriers must be aired before the work can proceed. The same holds true for any buried payoffs to not working. Blocks are seldom mysterious. They are, instead, recognizable artistic defenses against what is perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a hostile environment.” p. 158
Resentments and fear can manifest in clutter. We point to clutter for holding us back in how we really want to be spending our time, and how we really want to be living. Clutter becomes the vortex we are sucked into and seemingly can’t get out of, despite our best efforts. We mistakenly see clutter as the problem, and don’t consider it may be an outward symptom of something blocking us from within.
It may be valuable, if you’re battling clutter, to take an honest survey of resentments and fears that may be present. Sometimes resentments and fears have been around so long, they’re hard to recognize. Start with today. Go over what has transpired. Were their people who annoyed you, caused you frustration, even rage? Anyone you avoided? Any tasks you ignored, or caused you discomfort or anxiety?
If you know there are deeper resentments and fears, and are committed to excavating them, a decluttering project may provide you with some surprising relief. Excavating from old paper, junk, and stuff that no longer serves you, may may just start lightening the load, stimulate inner movement, and gently guide you to reconciling the fears and anger within.
It may not be easy, and you may need support. Julia Cameron also writes, “Finding it hard to begin a project does not mean you will not be able to do it. It means you will need help — from your higher power, from supportive friends, and from yourself. First of all, you must give yourself permission to begin small and go in baby steps. These steps must be rewarded. Setting impossible goals creates enormous fear, which creates procrastination, which is wrongly called laziness. Do not call procrastination laziness. Call it fear.” The Artist’s Way, p. 152
Compassion is required for the job. Uncovering – whether it be expressing your fears and anger, or whether it be braving the stack in the corner, is an act of courage. Honor yourself in the process. A baby step is a big step in recovering who you are.
And , who knows? Underneath the hurt, anger and fear, you may discover some long lost treasures within —love, joy, humor, and passion. It’s worth taking a look.