Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Scare Myself (Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks)

In yesterday's post, I mentioned clearing part of someone else's clutter over the weekend - I was horrified (internally, of course) at the stacks and stacks of paper, on every available surface throughout her home (floors/countertops/tables). I wondered how in the world she got anything done... did she even know what each pile contained?... would she be able to find something if she really needed it? - I realized I might as well be talking about myself... and I didn't want to think I could end up in the same situation... with someone coming into my home to help and then confronted with their own inner judgement as to the condition/chaos...

It's now time to tackle my personal albatrosses, which aren't nearly as bad as my friend's (at least I don't think so), but are still weighing on me, keeping me stuck and holding me back from moving forward with my life - my home office has become a dumping ground, my dining room table is now a desk and... let's not even talk about my car (which is really a traveling closet these days... :-)
Last week, when my caregiving situation... merged with the topic of an Oprah show... surged with a DailyOm article... converged with the following Christine Kane e-newsletter essay, I knew I had to pay attention (i.e. purge) - heard the old joke?: "God said... look, I sent you a raft and a boat and a plane". Wake-up call!

Just like my self-care regimen, I plan to do this incrementally - it's easy to become overwhelmed when one feels one has an entire house to tackle. However, one pile/drawer/closet at a time is manageable - between my preschool teaching and parenting experience, I always advocated that each item should have a home, making it easier to put back where it belongs when you're through with it... and now I need to get serious about following my own advice... :-)

I love my home (I term my decor "early eclectic"), filled with warm wood, unique artwork and a diversity of ceramics, discriminatingly and lovingly chosen over the years to showcase and reflect our tastes and passions - I want to re-create my dream of a serene, safe haven from outside stresses by keeping what we love, ditching what we don't and organizing the necessary-but-doesn't-have-to-be-visible detritus of everyday living...

Figured I'd take advantage of this sabbatical (thanks, Catherine - sounds so much better than lay-off, doesn't it?) to achieve order in my surroundings - what a great way to kick off the New Year (chaos begone!).

The Year I Discovered How Clutter Blocks Success
Christine Kane

I looked at my phone in horror.

"You want me to what?" I said into it.

"It's time, Christine. You've been talking about that basement for weeks now. It's time to deal with it."

I had been working with my coach for months at this point. And even though I had reached certain levels of success in my career, I kept getting stuck in the same old ruts. I was about to record my fourth CD, and I was ready to move to a higher level.

Thom was doing what good coaches do: listening carefully, seeing clearly - and of course, pushing me to take conscious action.

So, he encouraged me to start small and completely clear out the junk in my basement. Thirty minutes a day.

One section at a time. Building momentum as I went.

Each week, during our call, I'd report back on my progress.

Each week, I had a new reason why I simply could not let go of some clutter-y item.

"But I spent so much on it!" "I might need it someday!" "I could gain weight and need this again." "I paid such a good price for it!"

To my credit, I did pretty well at letting go once Thom talked me through these old mindsets.

Then came the week I had to face one particularly significant section of the basement.

It was where I stored various pieces of furniture I had gotten at the Salvation Army and at local flea markets when I first began my songwriting career. A bookcase, a kitchen table, a dresser, and a few shelves. I no longer liked or used this furniture because my tastes totally changed. I had begun to cherish beauty and opulence in my surroundings. I wanted to fill my home only with items that I loved.

"So, Christine," Thom asked. "Why don't you want to let these things go?"

I was embarrassed. But I told him the truth. "Well, here's the thing. If my music career doesn't work out, I might need them one day. If I fail, and I don't have any money, I might wish I had kept these things."

Long pause.

"So, you'll be on the street - but at least you'll have that bookcase?"

I laughed.

Thom sighed. And what he said next has been a core lesson of creating my success and happiness.

He said that everything in our lives has energy. Everything has our thoughts and emotions embedded into it. Old furniture is no exception. In essence, what I was saying to the universe and to my subconscious, creative self was this:

I believe so deeply in my own failure that I'm holding onto physical things that represent that possibility. Every time I walk by these items in my basement, I will be reminded of my inevitable failure. Every moment I'm in my house, my subconscious will know that in the very foundation of my life (my basement), there are items that prove I don't believe in my own success.

That week, I called Goodwill, and scheduled an appointment to have the old furniture taken away.

I'd love to report that I smiled and waved as the old clunky furniture was carried away. But the truth is I was terrified. I was letting go of my Plan B. I was saying to the Universe: "I thoroughly believe in my own success."

I had never done that before in such a concrete way!

As I wrote earlier, I began recording my fourth CD "Rain & Mud & Wild & Green" as I was clearing out the basement. That CD went on to sell five times more than any of my other CD's. It received rave reviews. Border's Books featured it on a listening post that year, and named it the top CD of the year in my category.

Now, even though I know this success wasn't ONLY about letting go of my old flea market furniture, I have become a firm believer that we each need to pay attention to the energy of the stuff that surrounds us. We need to pay attention to what we are telling our subconscious minds when we hold on.

Now you.

What are you holding onto? What thoughts and beliefs are you putting out into the Universe by clinging to it? Are you telling yourself you don't believe in the inevitability of your own success and prosperity? Or that you don't believe you can expand and create better things in your life?

Pick one thing - just one small thing - and let it go. Today!

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at

POEM: At the Zen Mountain Monastery by Rachel Wetzsteon

A double line of meditators sits
on mats, each one a human triangle.
Evacuate your mind of clutter now.
I do my best, squeezing the static and
the agony into a straight flat line,
but soon it soars and dips until my mind’s
activity looks (you can take the girl...)
uncannily like the Manhattan skyline.
Observe your thoughts, then gently let them go.
I’m watching them all right, unruly dots
I not only can’t part from but can’t help
transforming into restless bodies -- they’re
no sooner being thought than sprouting limbs,
no longer motionless but striding proudly,
beautiful mental jukeboxes that play
their litanies of joy and woe each day
beneath the shadow of enormous buildings.
Desires are your jailers; set them free
and roam the hills, smiling archaically.
It’s not a pretty picture, me amid
high alpine regions in my urban black,
huffing and puffing in the mountain air
and saying to myself, I’m trying but
it’s hopeless; though the tortures of the damned
make waking difficult, they are my tortures;
I want them raucous and I want them near,
like howling pets I nonetheless adore
and holler adamant instructions to --
sprint, mad ambition! scavenge, hopeless love
that begs requital! -- on our evening stroll
down Broadway and up West End Avenue.

QUOTE: "To undertake is to achieve." ~ Emily Dickinson

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