Tidying Up

Lately I’ve been fascinated by a Netflix seeries called “Tidying Up” — a show about Marie Kondo.  

Marie is the author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever, which has sold millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.  

It’s perfect inspirtion for spring cleaning!

In each episode, Marie works with a family that has piles and piles of clutter in their home. People whose lives and relationships are choking on their stuff. People who desperately need to declutter and they know it.

Marie is great. Marie does not judge. She enters their home with sweetness and light. She teaches the family how to organize methodically, one category at a time.

We watch as the family sorts through their things, item by item: clothes, books, kitchen, papers and so on.  

We witness as they confront the failed promises of consumerism. Our culture teaches us that we can purchase the solution to all of our problems. It’s not all that surprising that so many people end up with closets, homes and garages literally stuffed with things. After working with Marie, we see most of these items stuffed into large garbage bags, headed for charity or landfill. 

In many ways, our possessions reflect our lives — our hopes, our dreams, our successes and our failures. So when we sort through our belongings, we are sorting through our lives.  And when we release things, we are releasing the past.

Not only do these people end up beautifying their homes, they transform their lives in the process.  They talk about having space for the first time, having air to breathe.  Feeling lighter, feeling free.

This is what I find so striking . . . 

The results are remarkably similar to what people experience with forgiveness.

Unresolved emotional debris and inner conflict also accumulate in our lives, much like old clothes in the back of our closet. They too need clearing out every once in a while. For example:

  • Those things we haven’t said to our loved ones
  • Areas of procrastination
  • Regret over past decisions
  • Guilt as a parent/child/sibling/mate
  • Emotional eating/spending/avoiding
  • Incompletions in relationships

Marie offers one simple rubric for sorting:  Does the item spark joy for you? 

If something sparks joy, it’s a keeper.  If not, she says to thank the item for what it’s given you and release it. Through her process, Marie is teaching people to attune to the spark of joy so they can recognize it more easily. 

What if we could do this in other areas of our lives?  

With disappointments and mistakes from the past, what if we could simply thank the situation for what it gave you, give thanks and let it go?

When relationships end, we often experience difficult feelings such as hurt, abandonment, disappointment, and grief. But if the time has come to part ways – whether through our own choice or not – what if we could focus on the love and joy that was shared instead?  

There is a deep honoring in Marie’s approach.  She honors the people, the home, and their things — even the rejects.  In the process, she teaches people to focus on gratitude and cultivate joy. And as Marie says, joy comes from the inside, not the outside.

About The Wall

I want to talk about inner walls. Emotional walls.  Walls meant to protect and keep you safe. Walls that have been there for so long, you may barely know they are there. 

Maybe you created the wall because your heart was broken at some point, and it really really hurt. Maybe you learned the hard way that you shouldn’t trust people and definitely shouldn’t trust love. 

You might not be aware of having a wall, but I guarantee if you are presented with the opportunity to receive more love than you ever have before, you are likely to come face to face with your wall. You might experience it as resistance, discomfort or outright pain. You might believe that something is wrong, and feel a strong urge to pull away.

I’ve seen this many times, because this often occurs when people forgive. We come face to face with the prospect of receiving more love than we have experienced in a long long time, or maybe ever. It can be uncomfortable, and you might have a profound moment of reckoning: “Do I dare take the risk of opening? Can I trust this?” 

Or maybe, if you’re lucky, your heart will simply burst open before your mind has a chance to stop it. It still might feel painful around the edges, and there will often be tears — much like any birthing process. But let them be tears of joy. Yay! You’ve had a breakthrough.  

And then, when the floodgates burst open and love is flowing, don’t forget to forgive and thank your messenger — the person who delivered you to this moment of forgiveness by triggering something difficult and painful in you.

This is what Marianne Williamson wrote about inner walls in her wonderful book, Return to Love:

People who have the most to teach us are often the ones who reflect back to us the limits to our own capacity to love, those who consciously or unconsciously challenge our fearful positions. They show us our walls. Our walls are our wounds—the places where we feel we can’t love any more, can’t connect any more deeply, can’t forgive past a certain point. We are in each other’s lives in order to help us see where we most need healing, and in order to help us heal.  

Every time we forgive, we have the opportunity to let more love in. We have the chance to heal old wounds, let our walls down, and release whatever has separated us from love. 

blessings,

Eileen

Path With Heart

Image result for public domain images of heartsOne of my favorite book passages is from The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castenada. His teacher tells him there are a million paths in life.  Castenada asks, “then which shall I choose?” to which the teacher replies:

All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

This can be applied to many things in life, and it can be applied to forgiveness. 

The Path of Forgiveness is a path of the heart. It can be very frustrating for those who want to figure everything out with their head. (It’s not possible.) This used to be a frustration of mine as well. But I’ve learned over the years to trust my heart much more than my head.

The Path of Forgiveness is a path that also requires us to develop emotional awareness and intelligence. This is not easy either, given our cultural emphasis on mental prowess and scant attention to emotional development.

This is well explained by Michael Brown in The Presence Process:

In life, we automatically grow physically by putting the correct or appropriate nutrition into our body. Our mental growth is also spoken for when we enter and attend the basic schooling experience. Yet our emotional growth, which usually begins to slow drastically at about seven years of age, receives no real attention as we move into and through adulthood. In this world, we have proven ourselves to be remarkably physically adaptable. In the last hundred years, we have also become mental giants, but sadly, we have also become increasingly emotionally dwarfed. The turbulent state of the world we live in today is a testimony to the fact that it is the playground of the emotionally immature.

In other words, it’hearts time for us to grow up emotionally!

This is especially important for those on a spiritual path. It is the emotional experience of love and devotion which enables us to make contact with our spiritual selves:

This emotional experience fuels our ability to penetrate the vibrational realm. Meditation in its purest form is a tool intended to drive us out of this physical world experience along a mental pathway into our hearts. When we are in our hearts, we are one step away from our Divine Presence. It is our Divine Presence which then oversees our entry into the vibrational realm.

The key is in shifting our emphasis from mental understanding to emotional truth, i.e., to feeling. It is committing ourselves fully to the journey. And always but always choosing the path with heart.

Happy Thanksgiving!

warmly,

Eileen

My Experiment With Money

Earlier this summer, I found myself struggling with money — just getting by, worrying about having enough to pay my bills, and feeling anxious about it. I decided to write about this because a) I know I’m not alone in this and b) I’ve had a big breakthrough! 

I’ve had an up and down relationship with money for most of my life. Sometimes things are great, and other times not so much. I could see I was in an old, fear-based pattern. One thing I’ve learned from the path of forgiveness is that whenever we are struggling, there is something we need to learn, something that needs to heal.

So, I got curious. 

I started listening carefully to the hooligans in my head. Just beneath the surface, were quiet little voices: “I’m not worthy.” “I don’t deserve.”  Once these core wounds were illuminated, my inner work began. And this is what I learned:

Nothing outside of yourself can give you your worth.
No person, no job, no amount of money. 

Most of us think it’s up to someone else to decide how much we get in life, but that is wrong. You are the one that decides how much or how little you get to have. 

You are the one who decides! You have to give it to yourself. Claim your worth. See your own worthiness. No one and nothing outside you can do this for you, but no one and nothing outside you can take it away from you either.

And let me be clear – I’m not talking about saying affirmations over and over, and putting post-it notes on the mirror. That’s not it.

It’s about actually getting from within yourself that you are worthy. It’s about an experience of self-love that allows you to recognize your worth. And your deserving. For real.

My breakthrough was seeing this clearly and then bearing witness to my own worthiness. If I’m the one that gets to decide, I say yes. Hell yes! I give myself more. Yes, I deserve more. Inner validation creates room to receive.

So, I’ve started moving forward with faith and confidence. Just a few weeks ago, I took an action I’ve been afraid to take, which is hiring an assistant. I put out a call for help and very quickly found someone who loves the work I’m doing and is helping me take it to the next level! Within days of hiring her, my phone started ringing off the hook. Money is flowing and so is gratitude.  Big time.

I’m not saying it was easy. But I am saying it worked!

Forgiving #MeToo

Easter Sunday I was invited, as a forgiveness teacher, to a beautiful ceremony honoring the Divine Feminine. 

At the start of the event, a group of men come forward to the stage.  As the first man began to speak. I felt guarded (why does every event have to start off with men speaking?), but I was willing to listen. 

The men said they had an offering for the women. One of them said this:

If there is any woman here who has ever felt demeaned, belittled, made wrong, made small, dishonored, put down, violated, abused, or treated as less, on behalf of ourseves and on behalf of all men, we apologize. 

We apologize.

I could scarcely believe my ears.

I was still skeptical.

But then, the men did something extraordinary.

They got down on their knees. They were humble. They said they were committed to listening to the women, hearing us, helping us heal, and serving us.  

Many tears and sobs could be heard in the room.  The words of the men touched something very deep in the women.  For me, it touched the edge of a place that was numb, buried deep within, that hasn’t been felt for thousands of years.  

Eventually I wondered, what about forgiveness? Am I ready/wiling to forgive men?  

The answer for me was “not yet.”  “Not yet” because I do not yet even know all of what this

Who Do You Blame?

After writing about blame last month, I started noticing even more just how prevalent blame is in everyday conversation. I am more convinced than ever that blaming others is one of the primary ways we distract and limit ourselves. And here is the thing: Not blaming does not mean the other person did not contribute to the problem. But from a forgiveness perspective, focusing on who is to blame is a dead end. Blame and fault-finding do not lead to good solutions, and they do not lead to love or enlightenment!

As we make plans for the upcoming winter/holiday season, it is a good time to contemplate our patterns of blame. What do you still blame your parents for? Or your partner? Who else in your family do you blame, and for what? Which friends or community members consistently trigger you?  Here is my ‘blame challenge’ for you:  Select one person you have blamed in the past, acknowledge that you have been blaming them, and see if you are willing to stop blaming them.  If the answer is yes, congratulations!  If the answer is no, what is standing in the way?

I’ll leave you with this simple, inspiring poem by San Francisco artist and poet Kytha Gernatt (www.kythagernatt.com):

Sorry I blamed youforgive rock
anybody, everybody
including
and especially myself.
Honestly,
who hurt who first doesn’t even matter.
It’s all inflamed now, can we just agree on that?
And can we commit to the calming?
Will you? Will we
save our lives for the living?
I will begin by relaxing.
I will begin by forgiving.