Freeing My Mind

Retraining your brain, reforming your life. by Madeline Johnson

I am training my brain to replace my worries and fears with positive, grateful and loving thoughts.

Staying still. Noticing moments so holy, so beautiful, so sacred.

All day, I stay focused on emptying my mind and freeing my thoughts and clearing all negative emotion. It seems crazy, like I am talking to myself, and I am.  I just no longer want to be sad and struggling. There is no other way out. I want to connect.

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What a shame to have wasted all that time, thinking things that never came true. Unnecessary struggles. A stunning waste of headspace.

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I want to show up like an empty vessel to conversations, events and meetings. I don’t want to contribute my judgmental mind and ruin the potential of something potent.

This must be what they mean when they say get out of your own way. 

This is the most difficult thing I have done in my life, but the voice inside me tells me it must be done. Free my mind.

Read, Practice, Learn The Seven Day Mental Diet by Emmet Fox

 

Featured Artist

Ariel Katzir

 

Useful vs Useless Thoughts

Listening to negative thinking and unwanted thoughts is a pointless, time-consuming habit that does nothing but leave us stuck.  Madeline Johnson

What stops us from having a productive, peaceful mind, a mind that is fluid and lucid, a mind that is energized, capable and fully determined to reach our highest goals  is having a mind that is filled with resentful road blocks, self-destructive detours and cynical and suspicious beliefs.

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Listening to negative thinking and unwanted thoughts is a pointless, time-consuming habit that does nothing but leave us stuck.  But, when we are angry, when we are frustrated and when we have had enough, we can use that energy to fuel ourselves into something more. With the right attitude, we can take that victimizing rage and turn it into a powerful strain of strength to fuel to rocket us to a whole new level of powerful confidence.

I’m getting into the habit of replacing all useless thoughts for useful ones.

How do we know when a thought is useless?  We can simply ask – what good will this ruminating thought bring us? Will it bring us closer to harmony? to feeling good? Feeling empowered?  Or will it only frustrate and aggravate us even more?

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I am giving myself the permission to stop the worrying and self-pity.

And I am making great progress focusing on the productive, peacefulness and power of this present moment.

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Featured Artist

 

Kadambari Pathania

Inner Thoughts & Outer Expressions

Our lives are just the result of the kind of thoughts we have. Thank you Emmet Fox. By Madeline Johnson

I am very, very inspired by the teachings of Emmet Fox.

“All day long the thoughts that occupy your mind, your Secret Place, as Jesus calls it, are moulding your destiny for good or evil; in fact, the truth is that the whole of our life’s experience is but the outer expression of inner thought. Now we can choose the sort of thoughts that we entertain. It will be a little difficult to break a bad habit of thought, but it can be done. We can choose how we shall think—in point of fact, we always do choose—and therefore our lives are just the result of the kind of thoughts we have
― Emmet Fox, The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life

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“Emmet Fox was one of the world’s greatest metaphysical teachers. His works have contributed profoundly to the spiritual understanding of millions of people, including myself.” (Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love)

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Featured Artist

Japanese graphic designer @t.f.gallery

Our Greatest Weapon Against Self-Doubt

How to challenge our negative self talk and align our desires with our subconscious beliefs.
by Madeline Johnson

Whether you succeed or not begins with what you believe to be true and sometimes what we believe to be true about ourselves just isn’t so.

You can look at it this way.  Whatever you hold in your mind (whatever you think about constantly) will tend to happen in your life.

If you continue to believe and act as you always have, you will get precisely what you’ve always gotten.

If you don’t like where you are at in life, then it’s time for a change in your thinking.

It’s simple and it can be easy, if you believe you can do it. You can change your thinking for better results in your life.

Our thinking leads to our behavior and there are ways we can behave to make situations worse and there our ways we can behave to make things better. 

Accurate & Actionable Thinking

All action starts with a thought and when your thoughts are a mixed bag of desire and fear you will create mediocre results at best. You will start that project but quit. You will start to lose a bit of weight and then binge. You won’t succeed at the new goal you have started.

It’s not like you aren’t trying, so it’s finally time to get to the root cause of your lack of progress. It starts with establishing what you know and what you don’t know about yourself. Discovering what is true about you.

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It’s finally time to remove your self-doubt, those limiting beliefs about yourself that are ingrained in your subconscious. I am talking about unpacking the stale and old beliefs that are stored in your subconscious mind. These deep-rooted beliefs are what really drive us to behave the way we behave and are the beliefs that get in the way of our success.

97% of our thoughts are unconscious and autonomic – similar to how our heart beats and our eyes blink. Read more about shifting paradigms *changing your beliefs by Dr. Catherine Collautt

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You simply can’t hold a positive intention in your head and mix it with self-doubt or fear.

Your desires and your belief must be the same.

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Our thoughts and subconscious beliefs must be on the same page or we will self-sabotage our success.

I truly believe you can have anything you want in life,

when you give up the belief that you can’t have it.

Note: There is a difference between believing you can have something and thinking you deserve it.  The key to success is starting with the belief and then working really, really hard at achieving what you want. It has nothing to do with thinking you deserve something.

The Way You Think When You Support Your Limiting Beliefs

When we are thinking from emotion (not a good idea), we must become aware of our cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true. Here is a description of 15 of the most popular ways in which we use them to reinforce negative thinking or emotions.

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The greatest weapon against self-doubt and fear is our ability to choose one thought over another.

 

Featured Artwork

Rob Shields

 

Why We Don’t Get What We Want

Mental clarity can come in all shapes and forms and it will definitely happen to you when you work to know yourself better. By Madeline Johnson

Oh for the saving grace of chaos and confusion in our lives.  While I believe it can drive us mad, we should embrace feeling overwhelmed and confused. Yes we want this, but we need that. We are pulled in so many directions. Yes it can be daunting and emotionally draining, but if we strive to understand the cause for our confusion we can better understand what motivates us in the first place. Yes, I mean connecting our two minds, our hearts and our thoughts. I believe that even our most anxious emotions can drive us to clarity, if we take a moment to reflect.

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Please understand, the type of mental clarity I am describing here is the overall sensation that you are on the right path, you are not questioning every little thing you do and in some way, shape or form, you are getting what you both need and want.

You are focused on what is important to you throughout your day and you don’t have that existential angst pulling you in a downward spiral of depressing confusion.

You know why you are doing what you are doing and even though you may not have a detailed map on how to get to your desired goal, you have the emotional drive and you persevere.

Mental clarity can come in all shapes and forms and it will definitely happen to you when you work to know yourself better. Mental clarity kicks in when you are aware of what you like, what you don’t like, what you will tolerate from yourself and others and what you won’t. This understanding of what it takes for us to operate at full capacity, helps us find the tools we need for the tasks at hand and eliminate what doesn’t serve us well.

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It helps to spend some time with yourself to better understand what lights you up and what brings you down. What turns you on and what dims your soul.

Needs vs Wants

Necessity is the ultimate motivator for mental clarity.  It’s amazing how focused we can get about what we are required to do, as opposed to what we would like to do. Clarity becomes crystalized when we better understand if something is a need vs a want.

Read: Ray Dalio’s  Principles

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Knowing what we should do with our lives, getting really clear on the next step can also be driven by guilt and obligation.  Mental clarity can come from simply doing the right thing, because we must. Clarity comes from turning to our inner moral compass.

I’ll explain.

I decided I will take time out of my day to care of my aging parents because they brought me into this world and they provided for me for many years. I love them and I am obliged to give back to them and help them.  The intention is clear. No questions asked.

I need to work in order to pay the bills makes it very clear. I must get a job. Find some work. Make money. I don’t want to be a burden on my family. My purpose is put in place because it is essential. There is nothing murky about this.

I am posting one article a day to Undisputed Origin because I have committed myself to learning something new about myself every single day. No questions asked. This writing that I do, this creative activity in turn will help me become stronger, smarter and more of a benefit to the world.

vs. . .

I want to _________ (fill in the blank ie. start a business, create a blog, travel around the world, learn to sing, etc).  Wants, wishes and desires may be more soul-fulfilling, but not a must.  They are not necessary, so sometimes you just don’t start.  These “goals” lay by the wayside.

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Question: Can you turn a want into a must?

I challenge you to think about why you do the things you must do. Like going to work, raising your children, volunteering to help others, etc. You do them because they matter to you in a big way. They are essential to your existence. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. If you don’t bother to connect with others you will be lonely. If you don’t take care of your health, you will eventually get sick.

Your wants (losing weight, finding a mate, starting a business, living a more adventurous life) must be essential to your life. They must be extremely important and vital to your existence.

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What wants are you looking to turn into musts in your life?

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

Featured Art

Kamalky Laureano paints portraits and landscapes that look like photography.

Kamalky Laureano is a hyperrealist painter from the Dominican Republic, born in 1983. Living in Mexico City since 2006, he has made his life and work in that country. His work has been shown in Italy, Argentina, France, Mexico, the United States and the Dominican Republic.

 

 

Hardwired for Happiness

Changing your thoughts to create your future by Madeline Johnson with Dr. Joe Dispenza

According to Dr. Joe Dispenza in this lecture, 95% of who we are by the time we are 35 is a memorized set of behaviors, a pattern of emotional reactions, continual unconscious habits, hardwired attitudes, rigid beliefs and perceptions.
We become very predictable people.
If we decide that perhaps we want something better, perhaps change in our lifes, we must start with our thoughts.

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If you agree and believe that the way you think has some effect on you life, than changing the way you think is the only real solution for transformation.

In order to become better versions of who we are for a better life, we must change our personalities.

Terri Duan

How Our Personalities Are Formed

We have around 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. That’s an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. Out of those 60-70 thousand thoughts that you think, 90% of those thoughts are the same thoughts as the day before.

If you believe (like I do) that your thoughts are some how connected to your life, then the same thoughts always lead to the same choices, which eventually lead to the same outcomes.

Thoughts for Change

Since the same choices always lead to the same behaviors, the same behaviors create the same experiences.

The same experiences produce the same emotions.

Those very same emotions drive those very same thoughts.

A vicious circle and a predictable life.

Your thoughts, fueled by emotions effect your entire life, including your biology, your neurocircuitry, your neurochemistry, your neurohormones, and even your genetic expression. It is all equal to how you think, how you act and how you feel.

How you think, how you act and how you feel is called your personality and your personality creates your personal reality.

Art by Robert Jahns

 

The Benefits of Becoming More Self-Aware & Emotionally Intelligent

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Have you ever thought back on some of the most important decisions you’ve made in your life and wondered “What was I thinking?”  I certainly have. When we are reflecting on how we got here, perhaps we should be asking “What was I feeling?”  What state-of-mind were we in, that led to the some of the poor decisions made?

You see, when we make decisions based on emotions from fear and anxiety, we create a recipe for disaster.  Deciding to do something because you are afraid of doing something else or fear you will have no other choices or options at all, will get you absolutely nowhere.

Better decisions are made when you arrive at conclusions with a sense of strength and courage. The outcomes of those decisions will help you grow and evolve with increased clarity and self-improvement. The more thoughtful your decisions, the more quality you will have in your life.    I promise.

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You begin by becoming more emotionally intelligent – while understanding the role that your emotions play in everything you decide to do. Allowing any and all of your emotions to channel the way you move forward is not the best course of action. You don’t just listen to your gut. That is not enough. You must first think, feel, consider all options and then make a plan. A plan to deliberately move in the right direction.

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When we make decisions, like where to work, who to marry, who to befriend based on deep-seated emotions of fear, insecurity, and anxiety, we never make the best choices.

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And please don’t doubt this one bit. The more well-thought out decisions you make today WILL lead to an improved life tomorrow.

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Bike riding around Greenpoint, Brooklyn yesterday, this quote, in the window of Word, the bookstore, really resonated with me.

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Oh and these emotions and feelings we speak of, they are so complicated, aren’t they?

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So how do we begin to understand our emotional triggers, the things that we feel that scare us, make us feel useless or violated, maybe even shameful and guilty?

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Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in an effective and positive way. A high EQ helps individuals to communicate better, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others, and effectively overcome life’s challenges.

Our emotional intelligence affects the quality of our lives because it influences our behavior and relationships. EQ is synonymous with self-awareness because it enables us to live our lives with intention, purpose, and autonomy.

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Why Running Away From Your Feelings Will Keep You Stuck in the Same Place

Running away from intense emotions of pain, anger, and resentment is what we do sometimes.   We numb these feelings with a smoke of this and a sip of that. It’s such an easy way out, but only temporarily.  Why do we stuff our sorrow and run from our feelings? I truly believe not many of us want to feel our suffering, but suffer on we must.

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If we would just consider that inside each moment of suffering is a superb amount of life teaching. A whole world of emotional education to help us grow.  It begins with learning the process and ability to express,  dismantle and adjust as you strengthen your locus of control.

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What you need to do is understand that what is actually happening is your world right now and how you feel about it are two DIFFERENT THINGS COMPLETELY.

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You must urge yourself to develop the ability to differentiate your feelings from what is actually happening in any given situation.

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Life is what it is, not what you think, feel or believe it is. That is just you painting the dark cloud of your emotions on top of the situation and changing it into your story. Your emotions are just a response to what is happening at any given moment, they are not what is actually happening.  Whatever you are feeling about anything, whether it be good, bad, sad or pleased has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on at that moment or what the outcome will be.

It is up to you to understand what issues you have inside that are trigging your troubled (or pleasant) emotions.

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This applies to everything. For example, your spouse may be drinking too much, getting sloppy and lashing out at you. That is what is happening. How you feel about this situation may be sad, angry, frustrated and deeply concerned, which in turn will have you creating a story in your mind. A story of victimization and loss. Those feelings may or may not drive you to do something, but they are not healthy for you.  When you remove your emotional responses, you will realize you have options. You have an option to remove yourself from the pain your spouse is causing you.

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A Better Way to Navigate Your Emotions

Sometimes it is a good idea to overcome your frightened emotions by meeting them head on in order to improve. This would include things like forcing yourself to speak in front of a group in order to get over the fear of public speaking. Yes, the obstacle can become the opportunity, but on a day-to-day basis, it is wise to do the following as you learn more about how you can manage your emotions.

Know What Triggers Your Emotions

Place yourself in favorable situations and avoid those that trigger heightened responses.

In other words, stay away from people that get your angry, places that make you feel uncomfortable and situations that somehow have the power to upset you. Become more aware of what makes you “fly off the handle”.

Make Things Easier for Yourself

Especially when you are learning something new in the beginning. For instance, if you are trying to learn how to draw, sing, act or run your own business. Look for ways to simplify the process. Make it easy to start.

Implement with Strong Intention & Attention

The key to any transformation (read: change) in your life, is to focus on your intention and attention on what you are trying to achieve. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t let your competitive nature get in the way.  This will help manage things like jealousy and resentment as well as perceived obstacles in your way.

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Inspired by 10 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by @BriannaWiest

 

Ancora Imparo – I am still learning

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“If anyone can prove and show to me that I think and act in error, I will gladly change it – for I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.21

Read: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

It is okay to change my mind today. I don’t need (or want) to always be right.  Go ahead, prove my thinking wrong. Correct me. When I stand corrected, I change for the better,  for resisting may only harm me. 

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If I am not changing, then I am not growing and isn’t growth the whole point? To slip into a better, bigger version of myself each day. Sometimes this requires a real change of mindset.

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Sometimes, the script in our head runs on automatic for years, unquestioned, unchallenged. What if you flipped the script? What would it be like to challenge our thinking? Read: You’re One Moment Away From Being Who You Want to Be

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We might neglect our future selves because of some failure of belief or imagination. – Dereck Parfit.

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Selective Perception & Mental Gymnastics

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Sunday seems like as good a day as any other to start thinking about ways I can strengthen my mind. To start with, I stumbled upon this smart list of  brain training, mind-soothing exercises.

A Mind Clearing & Expanding List of Good Thinking Skills

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The truth is, the quality of your mind determines the quality of your life.

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I have to diligently guard what enters my mind. Note to self: stave off the temptation to randomly search YouTube. Consume Quality. Read and watch only quality books & films.

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Don’t believe everything I think. Don’t hold onto every little thought. Release, and let it go. Meditation can help you with this.

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Give my mind some well-earned rest. The importance of self-care.

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Brighten my mind with hopeful, peaceful and positive thoughts. Training my mind to be  calm and to ward off the alarming effects of long-term, chronic stress.

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Focus on what I want, not what I don’t want. This ain’t easy. The mind always wants to go back to ruminating worry and concern.

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Develop a healthy rule book for good thinking.

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

 

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Understand & know what I value. Freedom, truth, a sense of security, peaceful living and love.

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Take my mind on adventurous trips. Inspire it by doing more of what I enjoy.

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Feed it good food. Each brain cell gets a boost from healthy nutrition.

And know that I have a choice – how I react to any given situation.

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Avoid negative people, gossip, bullshitters and crazy makers at all costs. Like the plague.

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Learn new skills. Study what I am curious about. Dabble.

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Free my mind of unnecessary pain, guilt and fear. Ask questions instead. Stay curious. Continuously ask yourself, Why are you doing what your doing? Like right now, why are you reading this? I know why I am writing it. To help me become a better version of myself than I was yesterday.

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Organize my surroundings.  Remove what is useless. Declutter my life and my brain.

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Most of us value intensity. Intensity makes us feel like we are busy, productive and important. Not. True. Slowdown.

Our breathing can shift our minds.  Breathing to conserve my energy. Yes, there is a direct link between emotions and our breathing patterns.

Expand my mind in the great outdoors. Clear my mind.

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Beware of Brutum Fulmen.  Apparently coined by the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, a brutum fulmen is a harmless or empty threat. It literally means “senseless thunderbolt.”

Lot’s of things in life are empty threats. Even those you scare yourself with – ignore them.

Read: 20 Latin Phrases You Should be Using

Clearing All The Clutter for Clarity & Purpose

A few months ago I began stripping away all that no longer serves me in my life. What is that suppose to mean? Without boundaries, I let way too much in and life got way too crazy. I was tired, pulled in a million directions and honestly, I allowed it. Frankly, I didn’t know how to say no.

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I said yes to everything and everyone. It’s not a good idea. Well sometimes, in the beginning saying yes is good, like when you are building a career, but too much yessing can lead to real chaos and letting people down, including yourself.

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I am moving towards a minimalist lifestyle that will give me the freedom to go and do what I want without the burden of having so much to take care of, including a house too big, a life too wide open and the collection of twenty years of unnecessary, unwanted “things”.  Things I don’t use, wear or want any longer.

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I started by cleaning out twenty years of clutter in the attic. It was exhausting and energizing at the same time. While I am not one to hold on to things, like memorabilia, my daughters had piles and piles of grammar and high school “stuff” they had collected throughout the years up there. I even made it a moment. I asked them all to come over for a memory lane party.  They laughed at old love letters, praised their early art work and cringed at their eighth grade diaries. They didn’t want the stuff either. The memories they decided to keep are tucked away in the corners of their mind or on Instagram. The rest they let go of along time ago.

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Clearing away the clutter for me also involves displacing anything and anyone (eew, that sounds harsh) that is no longer useful, helpful, valuable or lovable in my life. You see, I began to feel like others were pushing and pulling me in too many different directions, while my priorities were left on the back burner. I am now older and wiser and know that whatever time I have left on this planet, I would like to deliberately create some moments of creativity and adventure before it’s too late.

 

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So what am I going to trim down, clean up, give away and simply remove from my life?

Frumpy Frocks & Spontaneous Purchases. Starting with my closet, shoes, sweaters, shirts, bags, dresses and worn out jeans that I have not even touched in six months or more.  Good will and good riddance. I want to create a really fun “uniform” to wear. Something I don’t have to think about. That’s one less decision in the day.

Space Fillers & Dust Collectors. Souvenirs, books, artwork and other knick knacks that are no longer aesthetically pleasing to me. If it does not spark joy, I just don’t want it. I haven’t read Marie’s book and I won’t. The sparking joy was my review take away. It makes sense.

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Crazy Makers. People that require special handling, those that need kid gloves and jokers that confuse me. Anyone that I find annoying or that appears to be even relatively unstable. You know, I have been a magnet for the crazy makers for many years. This also includes anyone who bores me, those that aren’t original, open-minded or interesting or genuinely fun to be around. The self-absorbed, stuck or painfully sad. Anyone I don’t have a true kindred enthusiasm for or feel I can growth with as I adventure on. Yeah, they’re gone.

Obsessive Worrying & Ruminating Thoughts. Negative thoughts that clutter my mind, that make me feel less than I really am. Small thoughts. Sad thoughts. Critical, mean self-talk. No more worrying, because, “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.” Read on: 12 Toxic Thoughts You Need to Drop for a Better Life 

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15 Cant’s Miss Ways to Declutter Your Mind and this advice from Tiny Buddha have helped me a little as I make a list of what I don’t want in my life anymore, including. . .

Shitty Projects & Confused Corporates. Work that feels stupid, repetitive and ridiculous. People that go round and round because they don’t have a blueprint. Working with incompetent people. Things I just don’t want to do that I don’t have to do.

Stop Yes

Excess – too many of any one thing. Rooms in my house, blankets on my bed, uncomfortable chairs, hard pillows, greased-bottom pots, scratched pans, broken cups and any sticky old debt on the credit cards.  Oh to simplify and simply live with just what I need.

Random Files & Duplicate Photos. Files on my computer, my “filled-to-the-brim” email inboxes, old notes, usb drives with old brochures and dead campaigns, duplicate photos, and old contacts in my phone. People that I no longer talk to.

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Crackers, Chips & Junky Food. Food and drink that makes me feel sluggish, fat and tired. Nah. Doesn’t serve me well at all. I never understood why they called it comfort food, expect for warm dishes of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.

Time & Energy Wasters along with Old Fears & Everyday Frustrations. Good bye time, energy and money wasting activities. Waiting on lines, calling customer service, meetings in person that could have been Skype-d. Drives to stores when Amazon delivers. Anything that makes me feel like I need to be doing something else while I am doing that. Like commuting.

Mediocre Netflix Series & Silly Youtubers No, I just can’t. This is no way to fall asleep at night. I no longer enjoy watching crappy HBO shows just because everyone else is binging on them.

Bad habits. Yeah, like relaxing with two glasses of wine before I go to sleep. Fading into Facebook as my head hits the pillow. Any excuse not to work out. Answering the phone most of the time. Being too nice and polite to time suckers. Being neurotic while calling, emailing and texting the same message to one person.

Packing My Schedule. Yes, I am clearing out the calendar and filling it up with dates I save in the future for things I want to do. Wrapping up old projects and getting rid of the guilt. End commitments with a clear conscience.

One of the most difficult clutter to clear is that which we think we are suppose to keep. The inherited heirlooms, the mementos, the sentimental shit. I don’t make photo prints of photos any more, so shouldn’t I just digitize the old ones?

My new mantra everything should have value. When we begin to desire to clear out the old and useless, we are getting ready to heal, grow and begin a new. Getting clear about what you do want is a process of trial and error.

When you’re stuck in a state of ambivalence, you must do whatever it takes to break the impasse.

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I am concerned about filling it all up again. I am a big believer that new habits must replace old ones in order to grow.

I will watch the slow the accumulation of possessions, for to live is to create and consume. It cannot be avoided – especially in our society and culture. But if the influx of possessions into our homes can be slowed, clutter can be managed efficiently.

To slow the accumulation of things in our homes, we need to change our mindset and begin evaluating our purchases differently. Realize that your purchases cost far more than the price on the sticker. Each one will also require time, energy, and effort once they enter your home. Before making a purchase, begin asking yourself these questions:

  • Is this item really needed?
  • Do I have a place to store this when I get it home? Do I want to lug it around with me?
  • How much extra work will this possession add to my life?
  • Am I buying it for the right reasons?