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This discussion on de-cluttering first outlined how clutter (physical, mental, and digital) stifles creativity, drains a significant portion of energy, and inhibits development and productivity on a major scale (ref. http://ow.ly/PNnmy).
Continuing this conversation on de-cluttering it is dire to address a more deeper aspect of clutter and its origin. Spiritual clutter. When the spirit of a person is sick - so is the head (mental state of thinking and reasoning) as the outward show of the physical spaces confirm.
What is spiritual clutter? What are its symptoms? First, to understand this in its most transitive form, the meaning of clutter as suggested by Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Comprehensive Dictionary the meaning translates as such for purposes of this article: To fill or cover with things in disorder or scattered at random or with things that impede movement or action or reduce effectiveness.
Examining this definition especially the latter part..."with things that impede movement or action..." is suggestive that clutter restricts flow, blocks thought, and hinders progress. Now, examining the definition of "spirit" using the same resource, it suggests the following: of or relating to the moral feelings or states of the soul as distinguished from the external actions :reaching and affecting the spirit.
When compounded with the spirit of an individual clutter takes its shape to impede the creative processes and the interconnectedness of the inner self to feeling. Thus, feelings of emptiness, distractedness, disconnectedness, fatigue, listlessness all show up in outward actions. Concentrating and focusing on progressive activities are hardly shaping up. Exemplifying one of its first signs: Procrastination.
Procrastination is one of the biggest issues that is so downplayed that it is often overlooked as being spiritual dysfunctioning. Too often procrastination is viewed as being lazy, irresponsible, unconcerned and/or habitual time-waster. How many have admitted that the failure to move forward on a project (whether personal or professional) was due to procrastination? Too many. But when examined, the underlying issue to procrastination is a spiritual conflict that hampers progress. Here's an example to help clarify the point:
Mrs. X schedules a weekend to finally clean out the attic and remove the "clutter" of long ago events, family activities, old bargain store finds, outdated clothing, etc., but finds herself disgruntled within having to approach this project. Finding another reason (any reason) to keep from approaching the task is all too easy. Shoving the task aside for a moment brings temporary relief but it cannot shut out the gnawing agonizing feeling deep within. The spiritual clutter within is the culprit and this is what must be addressed.
What's in the attic Mrs. X cannot contend with? What's in the attic the reminds her of a time gone by? What memories are buried within that literally gnaw and dig at her? The attic is just symptomatic of the deeper issue, what is it? Is it dealing with the loss of a loved one? A relationship that ended? Is it confronting her childhood? Her failed marriage (if divorced)?
The problem is not in the attic - it is within her. It is dismissed as procrastination but literally, it is spiritual clutter that leads to spiritual chaos that must be quieted in order to fulfill her duties and complete the task at hand. In order to quiet chaos, the culprit that causing it must first be arrested.
People have a tendency to spiritually "bury" stuff never thinking that one day it compounds until one day it takes it toll thus, it diminishes our progress in other pertinent areas. It must be cleared. It can only be ignored for so long before its grip begins to strangle our thoughts, ideas, and impede actions.
(Photo courtesy of behance.net)
Next, let's examine another devastating effect of spiritual clutter: Alienation.
Alienation simply means withdrawing. Separating from the things, or persons, even places once held in fondness. Spiritual clutter ushers in chaos that begins to control and confuse. It becomes a "chore' to think. When this occurs individuals begin to remove others from their immediate social sphere because he/she cannot answer questions that pertain to the individuals inability to relate. To safeguard oneself from this seemingly interrogation of others the person separates from engaging; socializing.
Alienation at first presents its deceptive self as "protection" from accusations, thwarting negative perceptions of others from oneself, literally hiding from others because one may feel as though he/she is being judged by others, running from peer pressure, and so much more. But the truth about alienating oneself is that it restricts the aide of others. It pushes and prides itself on this "Can do" "Don't need anyone" mentality that further subjugates a person into their own demise. Alienation's main components by which is snares its victim(s) is guilt and shame. When a person feels as though they have no power to reach out or battle against the tide they surrender to their own feelings of powerlessness reducing that individual to weariness and hopelessness. "Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present." (John Maxwell)
Third, the deep lonely feeling of isolation take hold. Isolation means cut off; separated. Depression drives an individual moreso in this condition than any other. When a person feels isolated (cut off) from his/her feelings, from others feelings, and find it quite difficult to articulate the present condition he/she is in will oftentimes lead to devastating measures. With depression comes a lot of pain; pain that is continually dragging and beating that individual literally to death. This is why oftentimes drug and alcohol abuse occurs in this spiritual state because the individual seeks relief. The resolve to spiritual chaos is peace.
Somethings are worthy of treasuring for the rest of our lives, while other things belong in the dumpster. Get rid of it! Ecclesiastes 3:6 says, "A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;..." Why continue beating a dead horse? Harboring old regrets, self-defeating emotional behaviors, REGRET, unforgiveness, self-hatred, neglect, spiritual depravity, anger all summed up together equates to spiritual clutter that shackles the growth, movement, and progress of anyone that refuses to rid him/herself of this garbage. The Apostle Paul summed it up in Hebrews 12:1-
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. . . . "
(Photo courtesy of Alwaysimages.com)
You have the power within you to free yourself of the spiritual clutter that keeps you from living the abundant life you were meant to live. Seek the aide of others you trust to help you rid yourself of the compounded antagonizing weight that has you bound. Quit looking behind you - whatever happened, happened. Put your face toward the (Son) and believe that the power He granted you and me is real, is mightiest of all powers, and it's FREE!
Do it! Get rid of the clutter and....RUN! Keep Cleaning!
As the summer months rolled in I began thinking of ways to carry less, do more with less, and rid myself of all the heaping piles of "stuff" all around me. Everywhere there was a pile, not only physically, but digitally, mentally, and also spiritually.
Just the thought of having to find a picture on my phone, or find the contact information of a videographer became a dreaded chore. It was awful. I remember saying to myself, "Why am I digging through all of this stuff? Where did it come from?! And WHY is my phone so slow!!!!"
Needless to say, it was the clutter. Clutter. You know that pile of "stuff" that has so much meaning to you (because no one else has any use for it) that if something happened to it, you would incur a setback of several months. But hey, if it's that important, why is it in a pile! It's because it has taken the shape of your mind; Everything stacking up on top of you. And guess what else? It's draining you of thought, activity, and creativity. It's time to take action.
First and foremost, when dealing with clutter (especially in the office) a system of organization has to take precedence. What needs to be stored and can those documents be stored digitally? What's important that requires daily handling? What got shifted to your desk but should have went elsewhere? A system helps you prioritize what goes and what stays.
Photo: Courtesy of wethechange.com
In being very honest, when considering what is usually found on desks can be found digitally, even signed copies of documents. Scan it. Throw it. If you have to keep that hard copy for future audits or so forth, then conveniently place in storage boxes, date, seal, and send to storage. Get rid of it.
Second, dealing with mental clutter. I remember once I had a horrible time resting at night So much so that I almost worked myself into cardiac arrest. My physician gave me this great advice: He said, "Ms. Coleman, before going to bed at night, take a pen and paper and write everything you must do on the following day down on paper. Keep it in the drawer of your nightstand. As you're trying to fall into sleep and you're alerted because you remembered something - you can say to yourself, it's written down, I won't forget it. The brain remembers what is written." He was right. After a few weeks of that - I wasn't writing anything. I was sleeping!
It's imperative to clear the mind. When the mind is bogged down it leaves a drained, worn, always tired feeling and that can lead to depression. Feeling oppressed is never a good thing. Mental clutter can lead to other forms of illness if not properly addressed. Get rid of the clutter!
(Photo: Courtesy KD McMillan.com)
It comes a time when one has to do the SMH (Shake My Head) thing at his or herself when it comes to Inboxes. Really? Really. I have a girlfriend who will remain nameless (she's named after a month - In Spring) whose Inbox on last count, registered 7,412 emails. I looked at her. I walked away. Never! Sigh....
Why would anyone allow this happen? Please note: I have just as many emails, however, they are labeled, categorized, and in folders. Thank you #Goggle! But, it isn't just the unending pile of emails but what of that Contact List that you have no clue as to who a third of the people are in your Contacts folder.
It's time to send that summer email that reads, "Hi, Do I Know You?" in the Subject line. How can you go on to clearer and sharper thinking, communicating, and strategic planning when you cannot make it out of your Inbox. It is a known fact, that many emails are sent erroneously because the sender got confused with email delivery. What's going to whom? Oops, thank goodness for the "recall" functionality of MS Outlook! A clear waste of productivity.
Organization matters. It helps you become a better YOU. Clear the clutter people. Get rid of it - NOW!
The Consultant Lives
P.S. Next post - Spiritual Clutter and It's Demise! Stay tuned!