T3: Trnka's Take Today
An ongoing series of random topics, teachings and tales
Stay Healthy! Repair All Leaks
I started a 9-part series on how things in your home can be keeping you healthy or making you sick. The first part is below - on managing clutter...
Stay Healthy! Clearing the Clutter in Your Life
November 20, 2022
I'm talking about cleaning out your home, office, basement, garage, and attic. Oh! And any storage units you may be renting. But, not all at once - start small!
I decided to start writing this blog, because it's something I'm starting to do ... again! I've been through this process a number of times; each time digging into a deeper layer of things that I need to get rid of.
Be gentle with yourself because this is not an easy task. As I mentioned I've been through this process a number of times. Each time, as I get rid of yet another layer of things that no longer serve me, I feel lighter AND I'm making room for more to enter into my life! It may be more things but this time it will be for things I desire or need - not things that are simply taking up space. And it may not be "things" at all - it may be relationships, balance, money, health, creativity, learning, etc.
If you're not having anyone over, ask yourself why? Is it because your house is untidy, cluttered, dirty? How does that make you feel? When I feel my home getting a bit "crowded", I often plan for guests. Knowing I have company coming over, motivates me to get started on clearing out, tidying up and organizing. It works!
Earlier, I mentioned starting small. I encourage you to start with a few easy places such as your stairways, hallways, foyer and other entrance ways. These are the arteries and veins that run through your home carrying the life force (chi) to all the different areas throughout your home. When these are blocked, it's similar to when your body's arteries are blocked - it's dangerous to your health. Feng Shui (the ancient Chinese art of placement) believes that our homes reflect what is happening within ourselves - that our homes are our mirrors. With this principle in mind, if our home's arteries are clogged and we don't do something about it, it may manifest in something similar within our own bodies (stress leading to high blood pressure or difficulty breathing).
Clutter has many different characteristics depending on where in your home it is accumulating. The specifics can be determined when you look at the different Feng Shui areas of your home and determine which area the clutter is accumulating based on the eight life areas (guas), each of these affecting our health -but that's for another time.
Energetically, clutter is often related to issues you don't want to deal with, perhaps there is some underlying shame. Clutter can be an obstacle to our creativity, it slows us down and can sabotage our dreams. We often accumulate it in entrance ways, basements, attics, closets, and drawers. I recognize that we all need to hold onto stuff and I'm not saying that you shouldn't have storage in some of these areas - just make sure it's organized and contains only things that you really need. And, of course, keep these places relatively clean and orderly.
How do you know what is clutter and what is not? I suggest you ask yourself two questions as you're pondering a particular item. Do I need this? If the object has a utilitarian purpose, then by all means, keep it! If not, ask the second question, Do I love this? When answering this question, it's not about whether it's okay, or "yeah, I like it". It's about whether the item lifts you up when you see it. For example, how many measuring cups (or whatever) do you really need? I know you don't love them!
Where and how to begin? As I mentioned earlier, start in the areas listed above - hallways, entranceways, etc. Once you've completed clearing these ares, the next space I suggest you tackle is your bedroom since it has the most influence in our lives (it is where we spend the majority of our day - awake or not). Then, go from there. Don't start with a task that feels defeating just thinking about it. Start small and let the sense of accomplishment fuel your desire to continue in other areas.
Let me offer you some very good advice. Get several boxes before you start and label them as follows:
1. Broken items (that can and will be fixed, soon)
2. Trash (broken items that can't be fixed)
3. Recycling - please don't throw recyclable items away. Where is away?
4. Giveaways (to others - friends, family)
5. Giveways (to thrift stores)
6. Transit - these are items that belong in another room. (Don't take them into the room right away as you'll likely get distracted in that room and feel defeated when you don't finish the task at hand.) When you've completed your task of clearing the clutter in this area, bring the box with you and drop off each item to the correct room/area - kind of like reverse shopping. Instead of putting something into your cart, you're bringing it to the proper "aisle". You can "shelf" it later if you feel so inclined.
7. Question mark - If for some reason you aren't able to let something go at the time - even when you answer "no" to both questions - be gentle with yourself and put it in it's own box labeled with a question mark. When you've completed clutter clearing the area you set out to clear, tape up this box, mark it with a future date (say a year from now) and transit this box to a storage area. Mark your calendar to revisit the box then. When the future date arrives, go get the box. BEFORE you open it, try and remember what's in there. If you can't remember, simply bring it out to your car and graciously drive it to the thrift store because you obviously didn't love it or need it - heck you can't even remember what's in there! If you simply can't bring yourself to do that and have to open it, that's okay, too. Hopefully, you'll still find that most (if not all) of it will be taken to a new resting place.
Be sure to give yourself some time to accomplish the goal you've made for yourself. Start small - with one area - for example, stairways. Then, remember to give yourself at least 20 minutes to handle the boxes and take them where they belong (to your car to take to the thrift store/family, out to the trash, and to another area of your home).
Next, congratulate yourself on a job well done. Sit/stand in that place and notice how it looks and feels. Notice how having done that clearing makes you feel and note any comments from other family members.
It's likely that this effort will give you more energy and the desire to continue on in other areas of your home. (Your action is likely to also spur others in the home to start clearing out areas of their own.) And, yes, with each area/room you declutter, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, ease, and spaciousness - in your space and in your body.
I've helped many people with their homes and businesses over the past 22 years. If you want more information or help with this process, feel free to call to set up a consultation. That's what I'm here for!
Our First Blog Entry
January 15, 2022
The Great Human Experiment - Who’s In?
Whether you believe science is real or not, I believe there are some salient points to be made here. For those of you who still believe in science, then you might agree with me, after reading this, that the human race might just be a huge experiment.
As we have learned over the centuries of our existence as humans on our planet Earth, various plants, animals, and other species have come and gone. However, the Earth has continued to thrive, seemingly exterminating those things that are of little or no value; or in some cases, have caused harm to the ecosystem and the inherent wisdom and balance of nature.
We are now facing our own extinction, in effect, being exterminated by the intelligence of the rest of this place we call “home”. We’ve created a cycle we must find our way out of.
Cycles are interesting; are they not? We learned about some of these in science class – the moon cycle, the rain cycle, the plant cycle, the butterfly cycle, our own life cycle, etc.
Each of us goes through our own rhythmic cycles - the woman’s to the phases of the moon - while the moon’s cycles are tied to the cycles of the tides. (We have yet to discover which part of the larger natural world the male rhythms are most aligned with. Perhaps that should be our next sub-experiment…determining which planet or star influences the masculine energy so that we could potentially right the wrongs - shifting the balance back - to heal the harm that has been, and continues to be, inflicted upon our home… Our Earth.)
The indigenous people have told us from the very beginning that we are all interconnected - and more and more, the collective is buying into that way of thinking. Yet, it will take us ALL. And, if it is true, that we are ALL interconnected (and, I believe it is) then we each have a role to play in this life that we share with one another.
The plants are fulfilling their role as both food and medicine. In the case of trees, providing us with the oxygen we need to stay alive. The fish and other animals have taken their assignment seriously by providing us with protein and essential fats to nourish and sustain us. The sun keeps us warm and works with the plant beings, enhancing their growth and their thriving. Fire has always kept us warm when the sun rests over the horizon. The moon and the stars shine above us to illuminate us (and our world) even in the deepest hours of the night and remind us to wonder, and imagine... and to dream. And the moon - she too, has her cycles waxing and waning from fullness to her seemingly, complete disappearance.
The waters of the Earth have continued to fulfill their roles and responsibilities to this planet, providing every living thing on earth with life. Plants, birds, trees, animals, fish and other water beings, humans, the soil … we all need water to sustain our lives. The waters and all the other integral aspects of the natural world have done their part… they have fulfilled their roles and responsibilities.
Depending on the environment that is created for each of these beings of nature, they have their own life cycles and their own seasons and...they’re own wisdom.
So what about us humans? What are our roles and responsibilities? What can we contribute to this circle of life? This inter-dependence? This interconnection?
It seems all we are doing is taking and taking some more - beyond our needs. It doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. But, what gifts can we bring? What can we offer as a contribution to this incredible balance that exists everywhere around us - the balance that we are upsetting in our way of being?!
We used to offer our bodies back to the Earth . But in many cultures, we no longer participate in the natural world in this way. We box ourselves up in a coffin, seemingly to keep us separate from nature - even after death. Or, we burn our corpses instead of laying our bodies into the ground so that they can become rich compost and enrich the earth.
We used to have daily ceremony/ritual/prayer. We used to care for the soil, the crops, attract pollinators, ensure that we didn’t intentionally contaminate our drinking water. We didn’t throw our garbage into the water either.
Speaking of garbage, the natural world doesn’t produce any! Every part in nature is used in one way or another. Dead trees become habitat, and eventually, humus. Dead animals become food for the beings that are still alive - the rest becomes more humus- all a part of the cycle of life. There is NO garbage produced by the natural world.
Our shared planet does fine on her own, without us humans. I wonder if the Greater Intelligence- after creating all these miraculous beings - decided to add us humans into the mix just to see what would result. Us humans - with little to offer but our gratitude for the richness that exists. I wonder if this Graceful Intelligence hoped, that we would be grateful and that in this state of gratitude - and in the ‘knowing that we can’t survive without these rich blessings’ - that we would find a way to cooperate with these ‘other beings’ - finding a way to help them not only survive, but to thrive.
Of course this takes being in reciprocal relationship. It takes love.
I’d like to think, if the human race is just another great experiment - and, taking into account that we have been blessed with incredible intelligence - that we are to use our intelligence diligently. I've observed that our current way of being in the world - continually adding beaker upon beaker of egocentricity and mixing in countless test tubes of narcissism- is not working.
We’ve already failed many of our own collective experiments as a human species. It’s time to look at the bigger picture - the one far bigger than ourselves. Bigger than our families, bigger than people that look like us, bigger than our neighborhoods, bigger than our cities, bigger than our states, bigger than our countries, bigger than our continents.
It seems to me that we must look beyond the present. As our indigenous elders of wisdom have been trying to tell us for centuries, we must look and make decisions based on the impact each of our decisions will have on the next seven generations. Every decision should be met with this kind of forward vision. If we want to survive this experiment, we can no longer base our decisions on the next seven minutes, the next seven months, the next seven years, the next seven election cycles, but the next seven generations.
As an observer, as well as a subject, in this experiment, I find adding gratitude into the mix very interesting. It seems, somehow, in the expression of my appreciation for something, I begin to recognize the value inherent within that 'something' on a deeper level. I develop a sense of fondness and eventually a feeling of love. I’m hoping that is true for each of us.
It’s time to wake up! Hello?! Are you listening? Humans? We have only three things to offer this planet: One, our cooperation in helping the rest of the natural world to thrive. Two, our gratitude. And lastly, our love. For love responds to love. Which is greater? Love, of course! For when we love, cooperation, reciprocity and gratitude will surely follow!
So, in the interest of science, we know we failed many ‘trials’ up to this point. Is it not time for us to start a new trial? Before it’s too late? From my viewpoint, a new way of approaching our Earth is imperative. This beautiful planet, that we get to be a part of, is suffering because of our inability to be in reciprocal relationship with her.
Again, indigenous cultures around the world have always embraced the concept of reciprocity. This way of being seems to be the one thing lacking outside of those cultures - in this larger world in which many of us live.
What if we used our time and our talents to tend to those that are of real value- those that sustain us? Like the sun, and the moon and the stars. The plant beings. The tree beings. The animal beings. The waters and the water beings. The winds. The storms. Fire. The soil. The rocks and minerals. Each other. What would happen if we returned to giving thanks for each of them - each and every day? Living in a state of wonder and reverence rather than in a state of greed and apathy.
Let’s start another trial in The Great Human Experiment. Let’s give thanks to all that is being given to us in each and every conscious moment (and may those conscious moments increase exponentially) - each and every time we quench our thirst, with each and every breath, and, at each and every meal.
Let’s use our time and talents in ways that ALL of life on Earth is enhanced rather than destroyed. Let's love more fully - more completely.
Let’s do this for the greater whole - and if you do not believe in doing it for the greater whole (yet) - do it for yourself. I wonder how this next trial of The Great Human Experiment will change our lives. I have my own hypothesis. Who’s in?!