Letting go of clutter = Letting go of pain

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Recently, Oprah (on her show and podcast Super Soul Sunday) has started a special series on the book “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. Each Monday they talk together about a different chapter and readers of the book call in with their questions. I read this book many years ago, but this program reignited my interest in it. I picked up a copy of the book and to my surprise the chapter on the “pain body” really had a lot of meaning to me. I began to wonder if letting go of clutter and extra things in your environment could lead to letting go of pain. In my experience it certainly has.

According to Tolle “This energy field of old but still very-much-alive emotion that lives in almost every human being is the pain-body.”

I also believe that a negative energy force can live in the clutter we keep in our homes. Even if it is an every day item that we keep that belonged to someone else, if there was pain around this person in our lives or if it was painful to let them go because they have passed away, that item can carry pain with it instead of joy. You will know when you look at or hold those items.

In the chapter called “Breaking Free” Tolle states:

It is your conscious Presence that breaks the identification with the pain-body. When you don’t identify with it, the pain body can no longer control your thinking and so cannot renew itself any more by feeding on your thoughts. The pain-body in most cases does not dissolve immediately, but once you have severed the link between it and your thinking, the pain body begins to lose energy. Your thinking ceases to be clouded by emotion; your present perceptions are no longer distorted by the past.

—Eckhart Tolle “A New Earth”

When we are clearing our homes we are focusing very much on the present moment with our things as we decide what to keep in our homes and what to let go of. In this sense, the amount of pain and stress dissipates with each clearing session. You are clearing away more than just physical items. You are clearing away the painful attachments you held on to for so long that are no longer serving you in this present moment.

It’s like with each box and bag that leaves your home, a part of you feels a little lighter, there is less stress from the past weighing on you. You are freeing yourself from the pain that those things represent and lightening the load on your body and your mind.

When we no longer identify with, or put a label on certain things such as “I should keep this because _____________ gave it to me.” or “This belonged to _____________.” If you have a warm, loving feeling around that item, by all means keep it in your home because it radiates love. However, if the item is kept because of guilt, shame or an attachment to someone negative in your life or a difficult time in your life, let it go. It is part of the pain that is not serving you in your present moment.

Have you found that when you let go of things you feel less stress or you feel lighter? It means that you are starting to let go of the pain in your life.

Comment below on this question, or feel free to email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 
trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Phone Addiction: Reclaiming my life and days

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Around a week or so ago, an event happened to a friend of mine that changed my life as well. My friend (and accountability partner) was painting her kitchen and had a bucket of water near her when she accidentally dropped her phone in the bucket. She had to dry out her phone for several days, so that meant no phone for her during that time. Curiously, at this same time I was noticing that I was spending way too much time on my phone, especially continually checking email and social media. At the end of the day, or even during the day it would feel as though my brain were scrambled and confused from information overload. It was such a happy accident that my friend went without her phone for a few days, because it was a wake-up call to me that living without a phone, or reducing your time significantly on it can be so, so valuable.

Before this big change which I will tell you about here, I was spending an average of 4-5 hours a day on my phone. I know that some of that was listening to podcasts, however I know a lot of time was wasted checking too many apps too many times in a row. I was shocked at how much time I was spending on my phone, but I noticed I would go back to the same habits. Since I had been exploring the concept of the present moment so much and wondering why we are all so afraid of the present moment, I decided to create a different daily experience to reclaim my days. It is important to note that I am not perfect. At times I really feel like checking in on something, so I may do that, but my habits have gotten so much better over the past few days and the results have been astounding.

First of all, my first few minutes of the day are not spent checking in on anything on my phone. I have started to meditate, then exercise first thing in the morning. I used to use the timer on my phone for meditation but that caused me to launch into checking other things. So, now I use the oven timer for meditation.

My accountability partner and I have cooperated on how many messages we now leave each other per day as far as our progress and things we have learned. The limit on the messages means that we both have a big part of the day that is dedicated to focused work. That is so very important that you have time during your day to really focus and not be distracted by notifications, messages, apps, texts, emails and phone calls. This means report on what is to get done in the morning and then we don’t come back until the afternoon to report on how we have done for the day. This system works great!

I have also set a short amount of time to post on social media for my business which includes Facebook and Instagram. I do quickly check notifications and answer comments/questions. Over the last few days I have met a friend in person for tea, but I have not really looked at a lot of what is going on with people’s lives on Facebook. At the beginning it can feel like maybe you are not in the loop as far as the news with people that you know. However, I feel much more connected to people when I am able to meet with them in person over coffee, tea or a meal. I am making that type of connection a priority right now. I can text, email or call people as well who are long distance. I don’t have to be “in the know” about every detail at every moment because I have found that it really overloads my brain and I don’t have the capacity to be at my best for myself, my business or my family in that scrambled state.

I have noticed that if I have focused work time from 8:30am-11:30am I can accomplish an amazing amount of work. I can do a lot of writing, following up with people, work on my website and more. This is my real creative time and if I keep my brain clear it can really work for me. I have been amazed at how productive such a short work time can be if you really keep focused and on task.

After I have had lots of productive time in the morning I can then enjoy a lunch break, do some projects or chores, do some errands, spend time reading a book and more. I have more free hours to really explore life. The other day I even got out a paint set and painted on some nice multi-media paper and had a relaxing time.

In the evenings I can relax sooner after dinner, chat with my family, have family reading time and more. Limiting the time on my phone has brought me more time, more peace of mind, more focus and more present moment awareness.

I realize that I really was addicted to my phone. I think often when I was checking email and social media was that I was searching for validation, searching for proof that I was enough. I don’t need that because I have the present moment to tell me that I have infinite possibilities to explore in life.

Have you found that you are spending too much time on your phone? Are you checking email and social media too much? What has your experience been with this?

Feel free to comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Possibility Space

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Recently a client told me that de-cluttering and clearing her home was like seeing the sunshine come through the clouds. If you have a home that is covered in clutter in the form of piles of paper, boxes of things, overflowing bags and shelves your home feels like a dark, cloudy day. There is a beautiful, charming and lovely home underneath, you just have to take a few minutes a day to remove the clutter and begin to see the light shine. You begin to see the possibility of the home that was always there, of the space that you have been craving and searching for. You are peeling back the dark layers to reveal a sparkling space.

I have noticed through work with clients and through my own home clearing process and continual care of my home that layer after layer of clouds start to go away, and the light of new ways of life and new ways of being start to shine through. It is not just about our physical space, it is about the mental clutter that the physical items create as well. Here are a few examples I would like to share with you about my personal experience.

Play Space Possibilities:

One super fun result of our recent de-cluttering of our entire home has been that we have started to thin out a large collection of board games. This is a process that will take some time, but in the meantime we can actually see the games that remain on the shelves, pick them out and play 1-3 games a week. My 10 year old son has really taken a liking to some games that we hadn’t played in years. It’s been fun and such a great evening activity for the three of us! I look forward to playing more games together.

Time Possibilities:

Another thing that I have noticed as I have de-cluttered is that I have more time. As a result of going through my memory boxes and wondering why we may be afraid of the present moment and thus are spending too much time on our phones and other devices, I have decided to spend very little time on my phone. I was spending upwards of 4-5 hours on it every day. I have noticed in the days following the choice to be on my phone as little as possible, I have gained those 4-5 hours in my day back and then some. I have had more time to spend with my family relaxing, more time to read books, meditate, write in a journal, think about ideas, draw, explore art projects and more. This is a huge revelation to me. I think that I was losing so much time every day not only when I was on my phone but because of the after-effects of constantly checking email and social media. I felt like my brain was really scrambled from information overload. I felt like I was spinning around thinking that I had to do 10 things at a time when really I only needed to do a few things each day. I feel so at home now just in the present moment, just being. It is so amazingly refreshing.

Peace of Mind Possibilities:

Recently we finished getting all of our tax paperwork ready for our accountant. It was a relatively quick process and as a result of my de-cluttering I found an important document we needed for our taxes. Also, after we got our packet ready to drop off at the accountant’s office I was able to find exactly where to file the remaining papers since I only have 1 file drawer to keep papers in. I no longer wonder if the papers are in the office or garage. This is fantastic peace of mind!

Are you beginning to see the possibilities of clearing more space for play, creativity, peace of mind and being in your home? If you’d like some help and would like to work one on one with me, I’d love for you to reach out. comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Why are you hanging on to stuff that stresses you?

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Let’s get curious for a moment. (Just like the cat in the picture above, looking through the boxes). Do you feel stressed in your own home? Do you have piles and boxes of things stored away or in plain sight that leave you wondering what to do? In this post we are here together to answer the question: Why are we hanging on to stuff that stresses us? Here I’m going to explore three reasons why we may be hanging on to all of that stuff and how we can let those reasons go.

The Case of What If:

We all hang on to things because of the thought “What if?” For example, we hang on to a very specific piece of cooking equipment because we think “What if I decide to make _________ for a party.” We probably haven’t used it for many years, or ever, but that “what if” lurks around as if it were speaking to us every time we look at or think of that item. We may keep a piece of clothing because “What if I decide to go on a trip and I need to wear ____________.” Even though we really don’t like the color, or we bought it on sale because of the “what if.” What if takes over our shelves, drawers, cabinets and closets. It takes up residents in our thoughts. Every time we try to de-clutter or let go, the “what if” is there saying “no” to us. The “what if” can come up also if it’s an item that was a gift. What think “What if __________ comes to my house and wonders where that item is?” Chances are the person will be thinking more about enjoying time with you than if you kept that item. “What if” is like a sneaky gremlin stopping us from getting rid of the physical items causing us stress. It’s always blocking us from letting go. You can stand up to “what if” by powerfully saying “I’m living in the present moment now. What if cannot have a hold on me. I will make choices based on if this item is really serving me right now.” That will make the “what if’s” voice much quieter, and eventually “what if” will retreat and go away.

The Case of Living in the Past:

If you have boxes and bags full of old graduation programs, certificates, journals, letters and more, those things can cause you to live in the past. I believe you can keep part of your past and still live in the now, but it is important to choose carefully the items that bring you joy now when you look at them rather than those that cause you to relive some past pain. Items that are from an old relationship or a friendship that is no longer part of your present moment are ones that are important to let go of. Letting go of those items can open up your possibility space in the present moment and you will feel much lighter for getting rid of them.

The Case of Living in the Future:

Sometimes we can even hang on to things that we think we will do in the future, and that keeps us from enjoying our present moment and the things that we choose to do now. It can cause us to feel like a failure even before we have started anything. Those are another type of little gremlin called “Someday I will.” These are like the weights, yoga mats and exercise DVDs that are gathering dust in the garage while you have found a way to exercise that you enjoy right now. Those items say to you every time you pass by them “Someday I will….and then….” They seem to taunt you and cause you to think twice about the choice you have made in the present moment. Who needs those when we can feel good about who we are and the choices we have made right now? For example, I went through a phase when I thought that I wanted to start a weight-lifting routine again. I put together a weight set, bought books, etc. Then, I realized that I enjoyed working out on the elliptical that we already had set up in our family room first thing in the mornings much more. It was exercise that I knew I would stick to as a 5 day a week habit. It was something that I could be in the present moment with. So, I am letting go of the equipment and books and applauding myself for finding what’s right for me, not something I thought I ought to do. The “someday I will” gremlin will go away when we are able to face those “future” items and let them go with grace.

What if we lived in the now?

If we live in the now we can just ask “Is this item serving me now?” Items can serve us now by being useful in our present moment lives, or being something that gives us joy right now as we display it or look at it.

Are you hanging on to stuff that stresses you? If so, comment below or send me an email at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com