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this is big.......woke up with these thoughts,wanted to share them...so here goes...... CLUTTER + WEIGHT ISSUES = building a wall so that one is less in touch with one's core issues. a wall takes off feeling the immediate contact with ones discomfort of not knowing. a wall starts fooling us, cause it's dependable, easy to build up, serves a secure function to protect us for a while.....so our own issues and other people can get to us less directly.......can't touch us, can't hurt us as much maybe ?? so do we do alll this cause we can't accept and love ourselves they way and where we are...but crave it from others, but deep inside think we are not good enough...so we build up walls, so that nobody will touch us ???? HEALTH + JOB PROBLEMS = a cry for attention from our own inner spiritual voice that we are dying inside, but we rather neglect our true selves so long, until our screams turn into physical symtoms, turn into total disgust for our missing life quality....so it's a cry from our inside for our attention that what we have been doing to ourselves goes against our core. it's nearly secure to deal with health problems than to jump off the bandwagon into unsecure waters and risk uncertainty, risk security but feel alive. the known hazzles of feeling sick , of feeling drained seem to be easier to deal with than the unknown risk of going for happiness. "reach out and touch someone"....makes me want to pull myself out of the swamp of surviving.......... just thoughts to ponder.............
moonstone, Iâ€™m very sorry about your husbandâ€™s passing. maybe you need some clutter right now and that is ok. interesting about the â€œbuilding a wallâ€ issue: back when I used to meditate Iâ€™d sometimes see a brick wall in my mindâ€™s eye. my shrink at the time would be like â€œtalk to the wall, draw the wall, be the wallâ€ etc. but that wall was not budging for nobody! eventually I realized that Iâ€™m the wall (duh) and I could soften up if I wanted to. when I feel like I have no family, cut off, separated from love, I know I've continued the childhood cycle of cutting myself off. I had some dreams last night about being lost in the subway with no family, ugh. Sallie, I agree that hugs would help heal a lot of hurts. community is so important. I sometimes think America is the no-touch-capital of the world.
What an interesting thread - haven't followed it in a while, thanks Tituba for bringing it up again. As for the weight issue, moonstone wrote something that hit a chord: CLUTTER + WEIGHT ISSUES = building a wall so that one is less in touch with one's core issues. a wall takes off feeling the immediate contact with ones discomfort of not knowing. a wall starts fooling us, cause it's dependable, easy to build up, serves a secure function to protect us for a while.....so our own issues and other people can get to us less directly.......can't touch us, can't hurt us as much maybe ?? so do we do alll this cause we can't accept and love ourselves they way and where we are...but crave it from others, but deep inside think we are not good enough...so we build up walls, so that nobody will touch us ???? I was just talking about something similar with a friend of mine the other day, and I totally agree. I was never fat nor thin, 'just average'. Yet everytime I dated someone, I wanted to look great (some of the men wanted me to look great too) - and I always ended up losing a lot of weight. I'd like to think I partly did it for myself, but in reality, I did not get motivated to do it unless I was with someone or wanted to be with someone. When I was thinner, I had no problems attracting men, quite the opposite. But when the relationship ended, the weight came back, each time a little more than before. It became a cycle without me even realizing it - or at least I often wondered why I kept putting on the weight all the time, and so predictably. Now I am thinking that maybe deep down, the weight is a wall too, a mental wall that protects me from bad relationships???? Because in my experience, being thin means bad relationships, lots of emotional problems. At least when I am fat, no one bothers me, and I don't have to think about those things. It is some sort of comfort zone, I guess. Hopefully that made some sense?
Tituba, now that you ask - no, I don't have clutter, at least not in the visible sense. That is, I am a minimalist when it comes to furniture, wall adornments and most other things, and unless something really has a lot of value to me, I don't keep it. That is not a lot of things. With one exception - books. I have kept all my old books (plus always added to them), and they fill two big bookshelves. Plus I have kept all my old writing materials (essays from waybackwhen, diaries since childhood). I never considered it clutter, but a treasure (for my grandchildren too). Maybe that's where the opinions would diverge, who knows..... Why do you ask?
I agree with you - this idea of putting up a wall surely is done on more than one level. However, the degree to which this happens might also vary, depending on a person's background and experience. When I think back, I used to be a packrat too, but as I grew up and started to move around a lot, I learnt to let go of 'stuff'. It becomes a habit out of necessity. And over time one simply does not like having too much stuff around, it almost goes against my aesthetic sense, and that seems to be stronger than my desire to build a wall, so to speak. As for the financial stuff - my inclination would be to spend, spend. But having been in a position where I had no money, no home and a child to support, I have become very careful with money. I can't say that it is self-discipline, because I still don't consider myself very disciplined, it's a strong sense of 'I never want to go back there!'....and again, this is a lot stronger than the urge to stuff myself with food. I am not saying that I don't spend impulsively at times, but it is within limits, and if I am on the verge of going outside it, I cut back. The idea of debt scares the heck out of me now. Now that I am writing this, I wonder why I can't develop something like this attitude towards food.....
I was listening to Barbara's tape series "Dare to Dream." She said that all resistance is really fear. One of her exercises is to ask yourself "Why am I afraid to (blank) - and then write out the reasons until you get to the real answers. So, here are some questions to answer in my journal. "Why am I afraid to lose weight?" "Why am I afraid to be out of debt?" "Why am I afraid to have empty spaces in my house?" Now on the surface, you would think these questions are silly. Of course we are not "afraid" of losing weight etc. We tell ourselves we are unable to lose (clean up, pay bills). It's too difficult. Or we don't have the time. Or it's those darn carbs. We tell ourselves we are too undisciplined. Or that life events have just created these situations. But what if that isn't it at all? What if, as Barbara said, it is none of those reasons? What if it is really just fear? Ask yourself these same questions and let the possible answers roll around in your thoughts. So when you answer the above questions for yourself, the layers peel. It isn't pretty. Some of it is very painful. Well worth the exploration.
Good questions, Tituba... In thinking about what the questions are getting at, for some reason it helps me to turn the questions around a bit... How does my weight 'enable' me to feel less afraid? How does my career indecision 'enable' me to feel less afraid? How does my overuse of analytical thinking 'enable' me to feel less afraid? How does my clutter 'enable' me to feel less afraid?
Tituba Excellent questions. I definitely need to do some work on these this weekend. As I mentioned on the Clutter thread, I am going through layer upon layer of stuff and de-stuffing my life. Basically at the centre of the onion now after 4 years of gradually getting rid of stuff in spits and starts. I am down to the real nitty gritty stuff - a doll's cradle my dad gave me when I was 9 years old that has such mixed feelings associated with it. If like this Clutter free feng shui book says, that I need to get rid of anything with strange feelings attached to it, then I will have to part with it. And I know that in clearing out all this old stuff, journals upon journals filled with despair and sexual abuse healing, yearbooks that show that I actually existed and was active although high school was hell for me, etc., that I am freeing up old energy that has been blocked and pre-occuppied with keeping this stuff down. And it is overwhelming, and depressing and discouraging, and totally scary. Who am I without my stuff to show who I am? If I get rid of everything will I regret it? (not the stuff that can be bought again, but memories) If I'm moving soon, should I get rid of the fabric that I've collected over the years and love that could be used in a new house.? Can I really trust that whatever I need will be provided for me? I figure by Monday I should be free of anything extraneous, and I mean everything. Unless I use it, its gone. Terrifying, sad beyond belief, I've been burning stuff and crying and going through terrible ups and downs that have shaken me to my core. Affecting stuff such as what makes me me? Core psyche stuff. Its all necessary I know, and very painful. But very freeing. If there's no stuff extra in my life, then there's no stuff weighing on me anywhere, in my sub-conscious, in my conscious, in my environment and that's where the freedom comes in. I am down to almost nothing, as much as can fit in to a 400 sq ft house. And as mentioned, now I am starting to look at being creative, at actually writing and painting. At feeling free enough to tackle my career, my wants in life, my expectations, my dreams. And I'm sure weight will stop being an issue too. Plus, if I'm not buying anything, and having just gone through a "what the heck have I spent all my money on since I have nothing to show for it" thing, I'm sure as heck not buying more stuff to fill my life with. So I can see getting out of debt soon too. Those questions all come down to "I am afraid to lose weight, to be out of debt, to have empty spaces in my house and in my life because then I'd have to deal with everything I don't like, everything I've put up with, everything from my past." And by clearing clutter and extraneous stuff and memories from my environment, I've done this without having to actually decide to do it. Wild.
Oh, this thread has certainly stirred up alot of thoughts and excellent analysis! Thank you. This will help so many people. Prairie - I so totally understand the wanting to stay invisible. Whenever I start losing weight and drop like 20-30 pounds, people start complimenting me. They mean this as encouragement. But for me, the little voice inside says "Oh please don't notice me just yet. Please let me stay invisible for a bit longer." The 20-30 pound loss is the danger point for me. In the past, I've run to food when people start noticing me. I've even lied when asked if I was on a diet and said 'no.' Why am I saying 'no'? It isn't because I'm afraid I may fail and then they'd know. It is because I'm afraid I will succeed. A fantasy I've had is that I could just go somewhere where no one knows me, lose the weight and then come back. During the actual process, that is when I'm vulnerable. I had an acting teacher once tell the class that your goal was to be able to stand your own self. What she meant was that you needed to reach a place where you accepted yourself so totally you could reach the emotions needed in acting. Actors need to open those channels and explore their pain so they can bring them to their characters. I'm better at it at this age than 20 years ago. That is for sure. To be able to stand your own self. Comfortable in your own skin. Jez - I think in one of Barbara's books she said that the more you aren't doing what you were meant to, and not following your dream, the more you fill the hole in your soul with food, debt, clutter, surfing etc. Anything to fill the void so you don't have to deal with the dream that is nagging at you. Does this make sense in your life? Joyous - You know what? Don't dump ANYTHING you aren't 100% sure about. Certainly not because some book told you to. As for journals, oh I can so understand. I had these journals that covered about 15 years of my life. One day I opened one to a random page and read about some incident that had brought me pain. I started crying and feeling really bad while reading it. Then, it occurred to me that while writing this stuff out at the time was my salvation, it also froze time. And the joke of it all, the people involved in the incident probably didn't remember it at all. Certainly not ten years later. So what was I doing re-reading the event and churning up the emotion? So, after careful thought, I rounded them all up and took a pair of scissors and chopped them all into little pieces. Resistance said "but if you destroy them, you might forget." That is when this bit of wisdom dropped into my conscience. You know how that happens? When all of a sudden this thought comes to you? It said "you will remember what is important and the rest will fall away, as it should." That did it. Destroyed them all. You have to understand how I had CLUNG to those journals. How I protected them from being found and poured all those thoughts you share with no one into them. And here I was destroying them. It was a big moment. Don't know if it will be the right thing for you. All I know is that the destruction of all those pages chronicling how this person said this or done this bad thing, locked time. The journals documented it so well that all I had to do was point to the text and say 'see, see, this is what happened.' I had reached a point where what had been a healthy release of emotion onto those pages, had turned into chains into time. Releasing it opened up so many doors inside and out.
Clutter article in \"Periscope\" column, Newsweek magazine this week (07.26.04, p.12) discusses the example of the infamous Collyer brothers (136 tons of junk crammed floor-to-ceiling into their Harlem mansion) in explaining hoarder behavior. The article quotes that \"a problem that was once seen as a mere eccentricity is now viewed by psychologists as a serious disorder that breaks up marriages, isolates individuals and instills deep shame.\" Randy Frost (from Smith College), the nation's leading expert in hoarding, says that, regarding treatment, \"forced clean-outs don't work\"; and apparently neither do support groups if sufferers are in denial to join. It suggests, rather, to \"begin by organizing rather than tossing, and divide the cleanup into manageable tasks.\" A book was also mentioned on the subject: Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding, by psychologist Fugen Neziroglu from the Bio-Behavioral Institute in Great Neck, NY. Also mentioned is a Beth Johnson of the online Clutter Workshop. I looked up the addy and here 'tis: http://www.clutterworkshop.com/
Hi Tituba! I really got a lot out of your post about keeping journals. I read it with interest a few weeks ago when you first posted it, and at the time I thought that I wasn't ready to destroy my big box of old journals. When you think of all the effort you put into writing them, it's hard to just destroy them. Lately I've been thinking a little differently about them. My life changed pretty significantly 5 years ago, and I am not the same person. Even 5 years ago I was not the same person that I was 10 years before that. So I am realizing that the older journals just aren't that relevant anymore. Yes, it's kind of cool to have journals from when I was 15, but I don't even recognize that teenager when I read them. It's like reading the words of a stranger. So, I think I'm going to eliminate the journals that are older than 5 years ago, and that will take my big box of journals down to just a very few. Thanks for freeing me from this! AudreyTituba wrote:So, after careful thought, I rounded them all up and took a pair of scissors and chopped them all into little pieces. Resistance said "but if you destroy them, you might forget." That is when this bit of wisdom dropped into my conscience. You know how that happens? When all of a sudden this thought comes to you? It said "you will remember what is important and the rest will fall away, as it should." That did it. Destroyed them all. You have to understand how I had CLUNG to those journals. How I protected them from being found and poured all those thoughts you share with no one into them. And here I was destroying them. It was a big moment.
I have uncluttered my life and I now live my dream full-time!