Has decluttering madness hit your house? This year, I’m working on decluttering my PSYCHE, y’all. My drawers are full of neatly folded shirts and my pantry is pretty well-organized. (I own that organizing and cleanliness are my socially-accepted forms of false control.) My mind and heart are cluttered though. Can you relate?
I’m grateful for good therapy, good friends, and good tarot for helping me find what sparks joy in my soul while saying good-bye to what no longer serves me. Here is the trick though: how do you thank the soul clutter for what it did for you? That can be hard. Some concepts that help me in this process are these:
- Forgiveness: forgiving oneself and understanding what forces were TRULY at play that led to this “clutter” in your life. Acknowledging any shame around this, but not letting yourself feel shame for having shame (serious, constant self-talk is the only advice I got for that and tell someone you trust about this shame. Airing shame does wonders.)
- Forgiveness: forgiving others. You do not need to forget. You do not need to keep them in your life even. Again, trying to understand the forces at play can be helpful. Remember: these forces are REASONS and not excuses! Forgiveness is a PROCESS despite our insistence upon making it a final destination. We must recommit to forgiveness. Recommitting usually happens when we are triggered or when a boundary is yet again broken. We can verbally forgive or just do so in our hearts. I honestly believe that is helpful when verbal forgiveness might not be entirely safe.
- Mercy: This is a new one for me that I learned from Dr. Bre Haizlip. For acts that are unforgivable, we can regain our power by deciding to show mercy to someone. Again, they do not need to stay in our lives. Like forgiveness, you decide for YOURSELF if you need to verbally show mercy or just decide to do so in your heart. Like forgiveness, you often must recommit to showing mercy at times. And you can always change your mind.
- Grace and compassion: sometimes we are just jerks. Give yourself and others you love and want to keep in your life grace and compassion during difficult times. This can take the form of taking breaks from them, giving designated venting time, biting your tongue, not biting your tongue and finding gracious ways to say “you are a jerk right now,”
I love tarot because it offers a helpful framework for viewing issues I want to work on. And it often offers a PATH, too. Sometimes the path makes no sense at the time, but eventually if I trust in it and follow it, I see the method amidst the madness.
A word of caution in this process: resist toxic positivity. Resist books and workshops that offer the opportunity to “declutter your soul and be happy!” Resist the simplistic idea that “happy” is the destination and final marker of success. This is so much more complex. Further resist the idea of “balance.” That is also simplistic BS used by marketers and magazine editors to lure us. Dig deep and come up with your own markers. Resist the idea that a decluttered soul can be summed up by a beautifully-lit picture of a succulent on Instagram (raising my hand in guilt.)
(spiral image: Louise Bourgeois)
(can anyone help with toxic positivity credit?)