The Family Web and Decluttering

close up photography of spider web
Photo by chivozol on

This is not going to be about decluttering your family, but more about the importance that past and present family issues might have to do with your current chaos and the significance to acknowledge it for a better life.

My clients come to me for help in organizing and simplifying their homes or work spaces, which means I also briefly enter their personal lives. The improvements they want to make often involves changing old habits – behavior from the past.

Not all habits are bad. Habitual routines are helpful and I actually base my life and work on three of them: enough sleep, healthy eating habits and exercise – all of them applied best with a daily repetition!

Then there are the bad habits that actually keep you from being happy. They have been packed in the past and brought along to the present. You could simply unpack them and leave them behind, but they are often very persistent. They are part of what you have become- you might even decorate your house with them. Sometimes you get a glimpse of one and you catch yourself knowing that you really don’t like it, but you can’t change it. Some of these habits can be very disturbing, some even bring great pain and suffering.

I understand that old habits are hard to let go. I come with my own personal baggage, that at one point was so heavy that I could no longer carry it. Realizing that I had to drop some of the load, if not all. I started to work on it and I am still working on it. Some things you can’t just drop, because they belong to you and they want to be acknowledged. I am using the word “acknowledged” because you can not solve every single thing!

So, when it comes to decluttering your life, you often get stuck with your personal baggage that you have been hauling around. Most of it is stuff from the past that no longer serves you. Some of it may even keep you from making good choices or lead to suffering. It is of importance to pay attention to it and change these habits.

The satisfaction and relief you may have felt from organizing your closet is similar to unloading your baggage from the past. It just comes a bit quieter, slower, and is not as tangible, but with a much greater and lasting affect. What both have in common is that they need a routine – one that puts an end to the clutter from reappearing and the other to unload and stop adding to the load.

Organizing a home or work space can be done in a timely manner. Building a routine is  a life long commitment – but it starts paying off quickly and gets easy with time! Changing a habit can be hard, it depends on its severity, A lot of this hinges on what we have experienced and learned in our past. Hopefully the parents, family members, adults and friends in your lives have been loving and caring. If this is not the case we often carry that passed burden with us. Try not to make that same mistake and add suffering to someone else’s life. Especially as parents or guardians we have a great responsibility to the ones that need us. I had a great share of suffering myself. To this day my family is extremely good in pretending to be perfect with painful issues never acknowledged and acted upon on as if forgotten. Consequently the family has never learned to deal with problems and each one has been left alone to suffer in secrecy. It took a while to see it and to start accepting it; again, they just passed their suffering on. It left me with a heavy load and quite the journey to change for a happier life. Getting out of this web felt like the best thing to do for myself and the people close to me.

“If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion, peace.” – Eckhart Tolle

Some of us are really well off with just simply decluttering our chaos at home, in the office or work space. We have a bit of a routine when it comes to putting things away and we stick to a schedule that helps organize and we do not create additional clutter- simple as that…

… others need a deeper approach and the superficial clean up is not going to solve their chaotic life. Acceptance, letting go of things and bad habits, is a good first step to work on. A helpful routine where they find consistency is definitely the next step. Let me point out, that a consistent routine is NOT stiff as brick. You need to be able to adjust and change your routine, because our lives change constantly and nothing stays the same. Last but not least they need to learn to take care of themselves and say “no” to things that do not serve them.

There are many helpful tools that assist in a consistent and happier lifestyle. Think outside the box and find things that work for you. Here are just some examples: Many people feed their sorrow and end up ill or obese. Maybe there is time for a cooking class, make meal preparation a family or friend event – eating together is so much fun! Get a kitchen, pantry and refrigerator make over, start shopping fresh ingredients and designate a time of the week for grocery shopping. Take the opportunity to find an exercise that is fun to do for you; dog walking, horseback riding, hiking, biking, swimming, dancing, martial arts, yoga, running… the list is endless. Find a hobby that serves your creativity to ease your mind. Use a family calendar everybody has access to and practice your time management.

Many of us are in a perpetual and thick layered chatter with our minds. Problems webbed in the past become a constant conversation in our heads and our thoughts rule our lives. Thoughts are just thoughts. Training your mind of accepting the inner chatter as just that and letting go is an enormous step in the right direction. Give “Headspace” a try if you are involved in a lot of thinking; it is a meditation app I have been using for several years and that I highly recommend. Also, any of the books written by Eckhard Tolle can provide great advice and practice.

Again, decluttering is a very individual journey. For some it is just tidying up and organizing a room, for others it is a whole new life approach. Letting go of your ego and keeping your personal goal in mind is the first step, and keep in mind, what is right for others may not be right for you – be individual in creating your new space. Accepting your past webbed experiences comes second. Next is taking the steps you can take at the given moment to organize your chaos. See your declutter journey as a seed you are planting and all you need to do is give the right conditions and watch it grow.

Commit to your practice and let go!

Cheers, Karin


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