(This piece was actually written a while ago. I feel the lessons in it are important to share. Update to follow.)
Recently I’ve been cleaning out a lot of clutter from my life. My nightstands, which I hardly ever go into, have been filled with all sorts of things from my past. Evidently, with each move I’ve just been transporting things without ever really going through them to determine what was worth holding on to and what could be discarded.
As I looked through all these things from my past I took the time to read every letter, journal entry, little scrap of paper with my handwriting on it, every paper or report I saved from school, absolutely everything. It was a very emotional and enlightening journey. It took me way, way back to places that made me laugh at my immaturity, innocence and naivety, and places that made me want to cry from the hurt, pain and insecurities.
I’ve learned a lot about myself during this process. It’s almost like you have to be older in order to look back at your past, analyze it and truly gain something from it. I used to think about my past before, but I never saw things this clearly. I feel like I am now able to look at things with squeaky-clean glasses on instead of the ones I used to wear that constantly had a film of steam over them as if I just stepped out of a sauna.
One of the things I learned about myself is that I have some hoarder tendencies. I always knew I liked to keep things, but this was just ridiculous. I found things that a grown woman who has moved a few times should not still have in her possession. Seriously. I am a very sentimental person so I keep things for that reason. It’s fun and inspiring for me to look back at certain things and reflect on that period in my life, what I was doing, what I was interested in, who I was involved with, how I felt about things, everything. All of that is fine and well, but some things do not need to be kept and especially for so long.
I kept things like old arguments between friends that were in e-mails I had printed out, old letters I wrote to old boyfriends but never gave to them about how much they hurt me, and journal entries that revealed inner secrets of insecurities, among other things. Back then I would write about and keep everything, even if it wasn’t addressed to anyone. If I had strong feelings about something, I would just write. That was my release.
In some ways it was a good thing because it showed how well I could communicate through writing. Sometimes writing things out was (and still is) easier than verbalizing. It allowed me to express my feelings in a way that was creative and productive. The fact that writing was my form of release and communication showed that writing comes naturally for me. It makes me realize that the aversion I sometimes experience towards writing is merely a form of resistance to my success. Writing is my gift, it’s my passion, it’s my voice.
With all of the inspiration and encouragement I received from reading all of my old writings, I also relived the feelings of anger, hurt, resentment and insecurities. It was amazing to me how as I read certain things I could physically feel all of the unpleasantries I went through during those times. It really took me back to the core of things. Not only did I replay the feelings but I was also able to look at those past situations with insight and more wisdom than before. It gave me such revelation showing me how much I’ve grown since then. Things that I ended friendships over, or had huge arguments about, I could care less about now. Things were so trivial and petty then, yet I was so caught up in them. I also noticed things I wrote which showed I believed certain things while I was in certain relationships and I can now look back and see the truth behind it all.
Sometimes I wish foresight was 20/20 instead of hindsight, but of course it means so much that I’m looking back and seeing these things now when I’m growing the most I’ve ever grown in my life. This is one of the most trying times in my life and this blast from the past is just another nugget of wisdom to help me along the way. Everything happens when it happens for a reason. There is a divine plan in the works that is bigger and better than anything I could ever cook up. Thank God for that because I can cook up some mess sometimes!
Another very important thing I realized while experiencing all the negative feelings that were conjured up while reading was that it was easy to throw those things away. As I read my words and recognized familiar negative feelings the thought came to me, “Why would I hold on to things that make me feel this way? I hate feeling this way, yet I felt the need to keep these? No thanks. I’m done with this nonsense. It is time to clean house in more ways than one.” Holding on to those physical words that caused those feelings is exactly why I’ve been stuck in a rut of sorts when it comes to relationships and friendships. I continue to run into the same issues whether it’s with a new group of people, or the same people that have been there all along.
On top of that, I direct, star in, and watch my own tragic Broadway plays that feature old and recent arguments or unpleasant situations in my head to the point that I dwell on them or even make up new ones that haven’t even happened based on those negative feelings that I hate. I constantly talk about growing past certain things, learning from mistakes and never going back there again only to end up in the same state of mind I’ve been trying to escape for years. It’s absolutely crazy and now I know why it’s been happening. I’ve been physically holding on to this stuff and had it tucked away in a place that I don’t frequent, so it was inevitable that it would stay there longer than it should have. That teaches me the lesson that not only should I clean out clutter in my physical life more often, but I need to do house cleaning on the inside just as often, if not more. It’s extremely important for ultimate growth. What’s done in the physical is a depiction of what’s going on inside.
So needless to say, I was glad to get rid of those things. I no longer want them as a part of my physical, spiritual, emotional or mental being in any way. I wish I could have burned them. That would have been liberating. But since I didn’t have access to a bonfire in the parking lot, I nicely delivered them to the dumpster outside. I can now release them from all parts of me and move forward in healing and excellence. I look forward to the bright future ahead of me.
Speaking of my bright future I also ran across papers I wrote in high school and college as assignments. These papers, speeches, reports and poems that I found blew my mind. I am an amazing person! I almost forgot how intelligent, focused and talented I really am! You know how they say, “I used to have a dream, but life happens.” Well “life” most definitely got me far off track from living in my greatness. I seriously inspired myself with my work.
One of the things that spoke to me the most was the evaluation sheets I found from the speeches I gave in my Public Speaking class in college. I got so many “Excellent” ratings and positive feedback from my peers evaluating my speeches. I’ve always been terrified of public speaking but then I reminded myself how I aced that class with no problems. That classifies another one of my gifts I’ve been running from like a teenage girl in a horror flick. Public speaking was my Freddy… I guess the next step is to embrace it now that I’ve uncovered my greatness in it.
The poems and school papers I found showed my dedication, focus, ability to succeed and reminded me that as soon as I put my mind to something I can create something special. As I looked back over my quality of work and dedication it reassured me of my ability to succeed. That’s encouraging especially during a time when I need it the most. It’s a blessing to realize that I can inspire myself. That helps me to tap into the good and positive feelings I’m capable of experiencing from my past. Now when I say my affirmations in an effort to build myself up when I’m down, I have proof to back up statements like, I Am Intelligent, I Am Focused, I Am Successful, I Am Talented. It’s not that I didn’t know these things about myself; I just needed to be reminded on a level I could relate to, a level I could actually feel. This experience made every good thing I want for myself tangible.
I now have motivation to succeed like never before. A business I once belonged to advised us to have a big enough reason why to push ourselves to do what it takes to succeed. A lot of people’s reasons were their spouses and children. I could never relate to those because I don’t have either. But NOW!!…Now that I have revisited what I went through, now that I have tapped into my strengths, abilities and talents, now that I have taught myself to clean up the clutter from the inside out in order to constantly grow and develop, I finally have a big enough reason why to succeed, not just in business, but in everything I decide to take on in my life. I want to succeed in order to re-write my story.
Thank God for my past. Thank God for the power of memory. Thank God for the revelation that always comes just when I need it.
After sharing this with my spiritual life coach, she informed me that where I kept the old papers was very influential in my past. They were in my night stands, which were on either side of my bed, literally surrounding my head as I slept. No wonder my thoughts (and ultimately feelings and actions) were so crazy! Everything is energy. The feelings and energy that emanated from those pages infused the energy I was living in. So throwing away the negative and embracing the empowering energies was very beneficial on many levels.
Also, I have yet to embrace public speaking, so don’t expect to hear me anytime soon! I’ll stick to writing as long as I can. 🙂
Share your thoughts in the comments: What have you learned about yourself from decluttering?
Peace, Love & Blessings,