And yet it seems that's what I expected. The new cute coat, big house or upgraded I-Phone would fill a longing...make me feel like enough.
But bless me for trying. It's understandable that I got confused since my brain delivered a bump of feel-good dopamine when I purchased something. And bravo to the sophisticated marketing gurus who have spent the past 70 years getting better and better at convincing us that things make us whole, beautiful, popular, acceptable, trendy, even lovable.
We have been conditioned to look to things to make us feel safe, peaceful and content. For those who see behind the curtain, it's clear that we are looking in the wrong place.
A world of stuff will never be able to fill that space of wondering what we're doing here. What our purpose is. How to feel content, peaceful and a sense of enough...the existential puzzle of life.
I've looked in the wrong places plenty of times, accumulating things that can't possibly fill that space.
Now that I can see the things aren't the thing, I buy less and let go of more. I spend time being quiet in order to hear the next easy, step forward.
What's emerging is more self-acceptance, gratitude, love and deep desire to be helpful.
What's a way forward for you? What can you let go of? What can you do do more of? Where is your true refuge?
If you would like help discovering your way forward, please click here to contact me.
I feel grateful to have you there...I appreciate your attention and desire to understand.
Thank you ever so much,
Earlier this fall I joined Christi Clemons Hoffman, owner of Radiate Wellness for a chat about how letting go of clutter helps us radiate peace.
11:44: You can actually choose which thoughts to believe.
14:45: Feeling overwhelmed?
15:00: Stress hormones and clutter.
17:14: Why we get attached to things.
19:13: The confidence and bravery that comes from facing what you're afraid to face.
28:45: Fearful thoughts can't actually stop you from doing anything.
34:42: We're all holding on to something.
I would love to hear your thoughts about the podcast...what was helpful, what would you like me to explore further?
I'll be on Fox 4 in Kansas City the morning of November 8th around 9:00 am to address one of the conundrums I hear regularly..."my parents want to give me their stuff, but I don't want it."
The early Baby Boomers have entered 70s and are downsizing or moving to assisted living which means there is stuff to get rid of. So what are they doing with the house-full of possessions they’ve curated over the past 50 years?
Many of these folks want to give their things to their adult children who often don’t want it or have space for it. These Items include oak dining room sets, china, crystal, silver, and collectables, none of which are highly valued by the next generation.
What accounts for this generational difference in values?
In the past these items signaled to friends and family that you had arrived…which was heavily promoted by increased sophistication in marketing and new ways to access credit beginning in the late 1940s. Sometime In the 2000s we started on a more minimalist trend.
Although we still consume plenty, we're not interested in the kinds of furniture and household goods our parents have collected. With easy and cheap access to manufactured goods, we buy what we want without waiting to get the dining room set from our parents.
Additionally, with many more women in the workforce "homemaking" no longer includes using dishes that can't be put in the dishwasher, silver that needs to be polished or collectable plates that must be dusted. Our priorities have shifted...what we value has shifted.
What kinds of problems are caused by these shifts?
Because this is the first time in our history there is a kink in this chain of passing down stuff, both parents and adult children are struggling. Aging parents may feel hurt when kids don’t want the items and children may feel a sense of obligation to take things they don’t want and won’t use.
What are some ideas to make this process easier for both parties?
Start the conversation now, before a health or financial crises forces a quick resolution. For many, sorting through possessions feels like a life review; you don’t want to rush this process if you don’t have to.
Consider getting outside support from someone like me. Tomorrow I am meeting with an elderly couple and their adult daughter to have this very conversation.
Or borrow and idea from my own creative mother...a table in the garage with things she is ready to pass on. When we are home to visit, we take what we want and leave the rest, guilt free.
Please reach out with questions, thanks! Nikki
This has been a beautifully busy week.
I've been in several homes helping to dig through boxes and choose what to keep, and what to pass on.
I've been on Zoom coaching with my people to figure out the next, few easy steps to expand and clarify their lives.
We shot the second half of the special segment for channel 5's Better Kansas City which will air sometime in November.
I've been happily supporting those signed up for the 14 Day Clutter Cleanse...they're sorting their accessories (hats, bags, scarves, etc.) for the next few days.
This week I got to see bits of the Berlin Wall, a dried up bat, the joy of stuff being hauled away and be present to the sadness as I confirmed a daughter's suspicions of her elderly parents hoarding.
It has been a beautiful rollercoaster.
I witnessed tears, deep sadness and hope, renewed confidence and big shifts in perspective.
Being there while life changes for someone else is an honor... sometimes it's raw and sometimes, just good fun.
Let me say it again...staying stuck is optional.
Bold statement...maybe. I am in this world to help you create an amazing life, sometimes that requires bold statements.
For those of you who have struggled with clutter for a long time, another magazine, book or workshop that doesn't offer support for practice is probably not going to get you unstuck.
The key is supported implementation...not more information.
If you're serious about moving forward, creating a life you love, here are 3 easy ways to begin.
1. Register here for the 14 Day Clutter CleanseI am offering along with Tina Sprinkle owner of Pilates 1901...an amazing woman focused on helping the rest of us feel amazing. This Cleanse will give you an opportunity to actually put in action the strategies I teach. I will support you during this Cleanse via email, text and a private Facebook group, so open to you no matter where in the world you live. This decluttering festival runs from Oct. 22-Nov. 4th.
Save $20 and sign up by Oct. 21st to get the early bird rate of $79.
2. Click here to send me an email to reserve a spot for the Cost of Clutter workshop on Oct. 20th from noon-1:00 at Pilates 1901, 1901 West 43rd Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66103. (This will be good fun, but remember, if you've been stuck in your clutter for a long time, it's likely you'll need more than this workshop to actually create change.)
3. Click on this link to schedule a complimentary chat so we can discover how to get you unstuck and even unstoppable!
You get to choose...stay stuck or take a small but bold step forward. Let me know what I can do to help.
Recently I consulted with therapists and social workers at a mental health agency to offer ways they can better support clients who hoard. The interesting thing was that several staff shared examples of their own family members who hoard. Researchers estimate that around 6% of the U.S. population struggle with hoarding, but it sure seems higher to me.
Your grandmother may have lots of things in her home, but how do you know if it's actually hoarding? How can you best support her? What's the long term outlook?
Signs that someone is hoarding:
Excessively acquiring items that are not needed or for which there's no space. An extra coffee maker for which is no room on the counter or another vacuum cleaner even though there is little open floor space.
Persistent difficulty throwing out or parting with things, regardless of actual value. Perhaps years of junk mail or empty boxes.
Feeling a need to save these items, and being upset by the thought of discarding them. She may feel anxious at the idea of throwing out expired food.
Building up of clutter to the point where rooms become unusable. Her stovetop is covered in groceries that won't fit in the cupboards or bathtub full of clothes.
Having a tendency toward indecisiveness, perfectionism, avoidance, procrastination, and problems with planning and organizing. "I might need this someday."
Why do people hoard?
Primary causes seem to be genetics (there is a specific gene correlated with hoarding behaviors) or very stressful events such as a house fire, or extreme poverty as a child.
How can you help?
Help your grandmother create an interesting and engaging life...don't just focus on the problem.
Gain her trust by listening to understand, and refrain from sharing your personal judgments. Shame and criticism are not helpful.
Don't expect her to make logical decisions about what to keep and what to give away.
Start with most helpful area, such as the stovetop, or bathtub or bed.
Work in small chunks and celebrate small wins and negotiate limits.
How likely is it that someone totally stop hoarding?
Not great, the research I’ve read reports less than 50% have significant improvement; hoarding is actually more of a management situation.
It’s most helpful if they can get coaching or therapy early and stick with it.
I plan to share a summary of this information on Fox 4's Therapy Thursday segment, (Sept. 13th around 9:15 am), please tune in if you can!
Grab a cup of tea and watch the Seven Myths That Keep Us Stuck. We talk about the thoughts that keeps us stuck and what we can do to start moving again.
Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle a Greek philosopher from the 300s BC is basically saying, just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to believe it.
We limit ourselves through believing our unhelpful and fearful thoughts. We create stories or myths from these thoughts, myths that can keep us stuck and overwhelmed, too afraid to take the next easy, small step. Here are the most common myths I see that keep us stuck:
#1). I just need more “how to” knowledge. If I read another article, I’ll finally be able to start.
#2). I don’t have time! I need a big opening in my schedule to tackle this project.
#3). I need to be harder on myself! If get more serious then I’ll be able to get this thing done.
#4). After I get _______ under control, then I can move on with my life.
#5). I am just not the kind of person who could accomplish________.
#6). It’s not worth doing if I can’t do it perfectly.
#7). Once I get clear on my life’s purpose, then I can move forward.
My personal favorites are #1 & #3...
Which one's feel true for you?
Let me know what you think!
If your house was burning, what would you take with you? What does our stuff say about us...if anything?
Here's what I would take:
1. Billfold, practical and beautiful.
3. Brooch from my wedding dress.
6. Handkerchief from my great grandmother Fern.
7. Earrings found in New Orleans while I was knee-deep in my dissertation.
8. Keychain from my sweet Grace.
9. Quilt my sister Natalie made for me.
Check out what other's included... http://theburninghouse.com