Your Love Affair with Your Stuff
As a Feng Shui practitioner I encounter people all the time who are relucant to have me in their home, or joke shamefully about how full their space is. There is a nervous tension in their voice when they talk about how somehow things got out of hand and the space they loved turned into a container. The shame, though, is not about the clutter, it’s about the unaddressed feelings that lay behind it.
We have a relationship with everything we own. Remember that you and your house share a reciprocal relationships-your energy is reflected in the energy of your home. Your space affects your physiology, your well-being, your relationships and your self-esteem. It should support your goals. What you bring into your space should be placed with intention and encourage effortless flow.
Our love affair starts long before we even bring items into our space. What happens?
We have grown, in the West, to be a culture of acquisition. Material items are often regarded as status and online shopping open 24 hours 7 days a week allows us to purchase at will. There’s nothing wrong with owning things-even a lot of things, however, when acquisition happens in a non-mindful state, we are simply filling a void. The stuff we bring into our homes is already wooing us in the deep places that aren’t fulfilled. Often times we surround ourselves with possessions to protect ourselves from intense emotions. Clutter and non-mindful purchases allow is to cover up what we don’t want to feel. Our stuff is directly linked and quantify our accomplishments. This is a psychological relationship: the void that might exist inside of us, something deeply unfulfilled, reaches out for attention because it wants to be loved. Yet, we are unarmed and unequipped to love the dark parts of ourselves, so we buy. Not enough for our deep void, so we buy more, and overbuy. Then we don’t know how to deal with our mess, so we buy again. The process can be endless if we don’t address what’s calling out for attention. When an attribute no longer serves its original, intended purpose, it becomes a stressor. Unfortunately, in our attempt to self-sooth the parts of us that are unattended to, we create stress.
Our clutter is a broken intimacy. It is a display of our fantasy self, our dismantled relationships and dissolved aspirations. It’s psychologically all the stuff we’ve pushed aside because it was too heavy or we were ill-equipped to deal with. When we bring something into our home without a plan for how it will mindfully fit in with our daily visual life, it is detrimental. We live in the energy we walk past every day—if we are walking past dismantled, unattended to objects, we will forget to attend to our most important needs. The love affair starts with the void and ends up in your home. The solution is simple: be attuned to your own needs and voids/dark spaces and mindfully choose items for your space instead of being caught in a zombie-like scroll of consumer possibilities.
There is a trauma to our clutter, a broken relationship. There is a need to “keep the stuff” that arises out of poverty thinking and the false notion that someone or something might abandon us, and we will be left with nothing. We feel this scarcity fear deep down in a place that says…”no don’t leave me here.” In reality, we probably aren’t going to be left with nothing, but our previous experiences lead us to strongly believe the possibility. If we can interrupt that pattern with mindful self-talk and self-love, we can prevent the emotion drowning clutter in our spaces. Feng Shui is the gentle realignment of the small voice that leans in to support you rather than hide.