We make our environment and it makes us right back.
There are dozens of good books with different approaches to help you tame your space and take back your life. But what if you try and try but simply can’t lift the words off the page and into your actual life? What if their methods works at first but then you find yourself completely stuck again? What if you slay stacks of mail and old newspapers with ease but want to run and hide when it comes to financial matters or the stacks of art your kids made?
I want to talk about the rest of the story, the energy blocks and barriers that bring even your best intentions to a screeching halt. I want to talk about why the old ways are so hard to release. I want you to recognize them so you can heal your heart by letting go of yesterday. I’m talking about that wedding dress, the clothes in your closet that don’t fit, the gifts that just don’t feel true for you, the arts/craft supplies that are (still) just supplies because they haven’t yet become art or craft. I’m talking about dead people’s things and remnants of life already left behind. I’m talking about unrealized dreams and unfulfilled promises. I’m talking about the big stuff that you’ve been avoiding.
Your home needs to be a place for living your life, not just storing your stuff. This book is about digging into the heart of the matter.
Meg White, “Recognizing Clutter for What It Is”
Weekly Book Scan (Realtor Magazine Blogs)
Oriah Mountain Dreamer, author of The Invitation
Relationships. Relationships. Relationships.
It doesn’t matter what my clients bring to the table, our work together always seems to come back to relationships. It may be our relationships with others that need to be tended — partners and old flames, children and parents, bosses and clients. More often, buried below those relationships, we find an even more important one to tend; our relationship with self. It is most often revealed in our dance with money, food, creativity, and spirit, but that song plays out in a million different ways between the first day and the last day of every single one of our lives.
Naturally, all of these relationships manifest in our physical space, in the places we call home. The relationship between each of us and our space is a profoundly reciprocal one. We make our environment and it makes us right back. We cultivate around us a life that reflects what lives within us, and then our environment perpetuates much, much more of the same.
This is, of course, the good news… and the bad.
Pluck twenty morbidly obese people out of their homes and place them on a ranch where meals are healthy, gym time is abundant, and every person in sight is singularly focused on improving health and and you’ve got yourself a recipe for remarkable weight loss success (and a wildly popular TV show). I suppose that’s more than good news for those individuals, it’s great! We are talking about an epic opportunity, the invitation to change your life by going to live in a radically supportive environment like that.
We make our environment and it makes us right back.
You may be living with an oven that’s warmed a thousand pizzas in its lifetime, plus a volume of cookies, muffins, and other doughy goodness that are probably best left alone. It might be that the exact pantry you have to eat out of tomorrow hosted an incalculable number of calorically-intense, yet absolutely nutritionally-void processed and pre-packaged foods for years leading up to this. And the handle on that fridge door may be the very same one that you pull day after day to access a rather enviable inventory of meats and cheeses, dressings and juices.
You may be living in the place you created when you were living in a way that you no longer want to live.
Every kitchen tells of a story about the way its residents use it. The stains on the coffee maker whisper about exhaustion and headaches, while the blackened pizza stone reveals overwhelm and perhaps even guilt. Worn metal reflects the image of a loving woman searching for numbness and security by sweetening the lives of others. The crumbs piled up within the toaster mean that the children caught the bus with food in their bellies but perhaps not the nutrition they needed. The drawers boldly designated as home for all “Fresh Foods,” tell about hope and promise followed by sameness and betrayal, when everything in them turns to mush.
We make our environment and it makes us right back. It’s like giving someone a shovel, just to have them give it back, again and again until there’s a hole so deep that you can’t find your way out.
Let’s say you moved out and someone else moved in and let’s imagine that it’s a woman with a far more functional relationship with food. Her new kitchen would, without question, rise to the occasion. She would come into your old environment, the one that failed to support every fresh start you attempted to make, and she would make it into her environment. And guess what? Yes, it would make her right back. That very same pantry and fridge would allow her to create meals and snacks that cultivate life, energy, joy, and physical health; the very same things you never could find in there.
What would it take for you to give yourself that same fresh start? Are you willing to clear those cabinets of all that perpetuates the myth that this version of you is the best one you’ll ever get to be? If you’re ready to make a change, why not just let all of that crap go? Give yourself a fresh start, the most generous gift of a sparkly clean slate. Let go of every single thing that no longer serves you. Why not? The only thing you have to lose is extra pounds.
Your environment will make or break you. Period. It’s that big of a deal. If there are changes that you’re trying to make — health related or otherwise — look around you. Is your physical environment supporting the person you were five minutes ago or the person you want to be? If you’re ready to make a change, start there. Start this healing with the place you call home.
As always, if you can make this change on your own, GO FOR IT! Do it. Seriously, I’d love nothing more than to hear that you got it done after reading this book. If, however, you find yourself stuck and unable to cultivate the change you desire, please know that many people — yes, including me — need more during times like these. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself the gift of support. Remember: Do something. Do anything. Do whatever you can to not be in this same exact spot tomorrow.
And, the more radical action you choose, the better!
Go into the kitchen and find 27 things that are not supporting your health goals and let them go.