Are you experiencing a block in productivity, creativity, or getting traction in achieving your goal? Often we have physical signs all around us (clutter) of unresolved inner issues in our thinking.
Clearing the clutter in your physical space will go a long way toward clearing the clutter in your mind and relationships. ~ Peter Walsh
Clutter is a physical manifestation of stuck energy. The word clutter is derived from clotter, which means to coagulate. The log-jam in your thinking is transferred into coagulated quanta in your physical world.
Clutter is representative of indecision. Once you make the decision to make decisions and take action you can free the log-jam and unclog your thinking and your outer world; this begins with breaking down your current thinking, unthinking, and practicing new thoughts.
If you want to change your world, start with this simple exercise:
Unthinking starts with getting to the root of the clutter. It’s not as simple as looking at the trash in your car and saying to yourself, “I’m lazy and it’s just easy to leave the trash in my car.” It’s about the underlying feeling about your messy desk, house, or car.
When you walk into your office and can’t find a thing, how does it make you feel? When you offer a friend from work a ride home and you must move a mountain of trash from the front seat before they can get in, as you make excuses, how do you feel?
If you are like most, clutter doesn’t feel good, the stuck energy makes you feel like you are up to your knees in tar. So how do you break loose from the tar? Let’s focus on understanding the feeling.
Is the feeling in your gut embarrassment, disappointment, or frustration when you focus on the feeling surrounding your clutter? Let’s choose embarrassment. What is the thought that you have prescribed to that feeling?
One of my clients stated, “I feel out of control when my desk is a mess.”
I explained to him that his thought, “I feel out of control,” behind his feeling of embarrassment over his messy desk is simply a sentence in his mind that he has the power to change.
His sentence to himself, “I feel out of control when my desk is a mess,” just needed to be rewritten. His current thinking required re-thinking to come up with a better sentence, so that we could change his thinking, his energy, and his resulting actions.
After some exploration we came up with something to give him back some control. His new sentence became two very strong statements. “I have the ability to re-organize my desk so that I can find what I need. By re-organizing and cleaning my desk, I will have the ability to change the feeling that I have every time I open my office door.”
The strength in the new statements (new thinking) changed the energy for my client so that he was able to de-clutter his desk, throwing away items that he no longer needed and creating a space for everything that deserved a special place.
Now, what if he didn’t believe these new sentences? Simple, they would keep him stuck. Editing thinking requires that we re-write the thought into something that can be accepted by the brain. It “feels” believable. Finding the right wording is important to make if “feel” believable so that you will own the new thought and take action to support it.
Often we don’t realize that our thoughts are just sentences that can be rewritten at any time, re-writing the trajectory of our current path. We have far more control than we realize. By become our own thoughts editor we are able to change how we feel and the associated energy. By correcting our thinking and energy, we can unclog what has us stuck. We gain traction through the actions from our new productive thinking.
You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose! ~ Dr. Seuss
All power is in the awareness of your power. Look around you- what is it that you see or are not seeing that you would like to see? How do you feel about that? Let’s get this rethinking started.
“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” ~ Abraham Lincoln.
The mind is an amazing system, designed to be highly efficient. The phrase “practice makes perfect” is directly linked to the power of our mind to be as efficient as possible. To illustrate this, think of when you learned to drive a car or ride a bike. At first, you had to think about every move that you made. After some time and lots of practice, what once involved a ton of conscious thinking became natural. This is extremely evident after arriving at home and not even remembering the drive!
Although our natural efficiency-focused mind is a blessing, (you don’t have to think to breath or the myriad of other bodily functions or automatic tasks throughout the day ) it can also create conflict for us, especially when we are in auto-pilot in areas we’d like different results.
Think about all the things that you can do at one time. For example, simultaneously my heart is beating, my blood is pumping, breathing, thinking of what to write, typing, and watching what is going on around me. There are so many auto-processes happening at once in our bodies – it is a highly efficient machine! What happens however when your brain learns things too efficiently that don’t serve you?
Habits, anything that you do over an over, or things that bring you comfort or pleasure can be learned and accepted by the mind rather quickly.
The reason that things that bring pleasure and comfort are so readily accepted by your mind is that our brains identify pain and discomfort with something that should be avoided. We are meant to be whole and free from disease and injury. Our bodies have natural healing mechanisms, your immune system for one, that goes to work to attack invaders and anything that contradicts wellness. If eating fatty foods that taste yummy bring you comfort, your mind will quickly accept that this is good. You have cravings in part because of chemicals from sugar or fats, but in great part from the pleasure they bring and the acceptance and desire within our minds to not feel pain.
Habits form because you practice them. Overeating, procrastination, smoking, lying, sloppiness, these are all practiced acts. If it’s easy for your mind to learn, the quicker and deeper the habit sets in. If you have to make yourself get up an hour early to go to the gym, that takes much greater effort than sleeping in. Hitting the snooze is an easy habit to form. The brain loves easy! The less work it needs to do to accomplish a task – job done! Efficient!
Congratulations, if you repeatedly have negative thoughts, insecurities, and fears, you may have a habit to break. Don’t worry, many of us do. I say congratulations because exercising control over your thinking will help you take back your amazing power within.
The conditioning of our minds through environmental influences such as family, friends, work, and school over the course of our lives leaves us with quite a bit of unproductive thinking – but the good news is – you have the power to change that!
We are what we repeated think about because this will lead to what we repeatedly do. Again, efficiency!
What do you want your brain to be efficient at? Negative thinking or positive thinking? Wouldn’t you rather automatically make good food choices, dating choices, choices that get you ahead, or ones that you regret and beat yourself up over?
If you allow your thoughts to run around unsupervised in your brain, on auto-pilot, it is the equivalent of a toddler running around the house with kitchen knives- dangerous. Supervising your thoughts and choosing to eliminate the ones that harm you is the first step to retraining your brain.
Retraining your brain takes repetition and perseverance. Your breakthrough will usually follow the greatest displeasure. When repeating your new habit and new thoughts, keep this in mind - the more you feel like giving up, the closer you are to a breakthrough into your new thinking. A breakthrough is a moment in time when the impossible becomes the possible.
It doesn’t matter how your day, your week, your month, your year, or your life started, right now is the time to decide how you want to be, what thoughts you want to have, what believes that you want to hold, and what actions you want to become automatic.
Decide to think today in a way that will better serve your tomorrow. You can choose, on purpose, to not focus on not feeling well, your boring job, or your miserable relationship. Instead practice thoughts that you can accept as a new belief (the key is that you feed thoughts into your brain that you believe). For example, if your job is boring or you are upset because you have been passed over for a job, focus on the task (yep, the boring one) that you have mastered. The new thought becomes, “I’m a master at my job. I am a valuable employee.” This thought will help you to see your positive skills and traits as you put together a resume for a new position. If you don’t feel like you can get ahead, your new thought is, “I’m not a quitter. I know that my breakthrough will only come if I keep trying.”
Practice throughout your day, every day, replacement thoughts for the ones that do not serve you.
You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. Ride the tides on purpose and effectively. Today, right now, you are in control. You get to choose what you will be incredibly efficient at – choose the thoughts that will make you feel who you are- incredible.
People often say, “That made me feel terrible,” or “He or she made me feel terrible.” I’m here to say that it is impossible for anyone or anything to make you feel anything, unless you choose to feel that way.
Feelings are based on thoughts. Think of your thoughts like sentences in the brain. When you feel a certain way, it is because you have developed a descriptive sentence – “He made me feel terrible.” In reality, you chose to feel terrible by telling yourself that what someone else did was prescriptive of how you were to feel. This is like giving away your power to someone else.
Don’t delegate your power over how you feel. Assume your rightful ownership. How you feel and the sentences that you write are up to you.
Someone does something mean, selfish, or unkind, but that doesn’t make you feel anything. It is the thought behind what they have said or done that you assign meaning to. It is this thought that will drive your actions and your behavior.
“But you don’t understand how bad they treated me.”
It doesn’t matter. This is simply a circumstance. A circumstance is what exists or is perceived, but it is not the end all be all – your thoughts are.
Your thoughts are the beginning which determine your end result, so why not choose thoughts that serve you better?
“They were so rude.”
Okay, so that was the circumstance. Your thoughts determine how you feel and your actions will follow. If you believe that someone was rude, how do you act? Do you treat them kindly or do you snap back in defense? If you chose the latter, why? Will it change how you feel? Not likely. It’s very likely that you will go on angry and irritated, replaying the scene in your mind; but does it get you anywhere?
Motivational speaker and author Wayne Dyer would use the illustration of an orange. During a presentation he would hold up an orange and say, “If I squeeze this orange, what would come out?” He recalls a little girl, matter-of-factly stating, “Orange juice. Duh!”
He would then explain that what comes out is what’s inside, yes, orange juice. We wouldn’t expect grape juice or apple juice from an orange. Only what is inside can come out. Our emotions drive our actions based on the thoughts that we are having. If we choose to harbor ill feelings and anger, what’s inside? Ill feelings and anger – what comes out? Ill feelings and anger.
Look, you can’t change other people. That’s their job. You can’t stop an alcoholic from drinking unless that person makes the choice and has that thought, just as you can’t stop rudeness unless that person decides to think differently – their juice is just coming out! Are your words going to magically change their juice?
We try so hard to control what we can’t control, when what we can control is where true power and peace reside!
We choose to feel terrible based on others, when truly we can choose to not be fazed. We can choose to learn from the experience. If a person cuts you off on the freeway, what is you getting upset going to do? The circumstance of them cutting you off does not automatically make you do or feel anything, unless you choose for it to do so.
“But I think it automatically,” you say?
Then it’s time to supervise your thoughts and actually think on purpose and not by default or on auto-pilot if you want to get to thoughts that serve you better - Better juice starts with better fruit.
Instead of getting angry when someone cuts you off, recognize how you instantly feel – you might feel angry – acknowledge that feeling and develop a new sentence in your brain. I don’t like when people cut me off, I’m not going to drive like that. See how you shifted the power to something that you can do something about? This takes practice because of well-worn neuro-pathways in the brain, but through repetitively thinking productive thoughts, on purpose, you can retrain your brain to think better.
We can make conscious decisions, better decisions, if we monitor our thoughts and take control and ownership of how we feel at any moment. Wouldn’t it feel better to feel in control and how you want? Only you can make this happen.
Have you been struggling with the same old issues at work, home, or in your relationship?
Nothing goes away until you learn the lesson that you were meant to learn.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “going around the same ol’ mountain?” Life can be somewhat like the movie Groundhog’s Day, and like Bill Murray in the movie, until you learn what you need to learn, you will be stuck in repeat. Day in and day out, “I’ve got you babe.” Well, “You’ve got you babe.”
Why is it that we get stuck in the repeat cycle? Because sometimes the lessons are re-introduced in another way so that we might have a new perspective and different thinking. It’s like taking a re-test where the questions are re-phrased or the multiple-choice answers are in a different order.
Getting stuck in life’s lesson can be frustrating. You may find yourself asking, “How do I keep ending up here?”
Quite simply, the thinking that got you there in the first place didn’t change.
Until you realize what in your thinking is remaining the same, you will keep waking up to the same ol’ tune.
How do you get out of Groundhog’s Day?
First, let’s determine what is happening. What is the repeat? Are you broke? Depressed? Self-sabotage? You can never seem to get to the next step?
Whatever the circumstance, let’s agree that right now is where your power is. Right now you can choose to get to the bottom of this and break the repeat cycle.
No matter where you have been or what you have gone through, that was then, this is now. Even if right now you are penniless because of what happened then, right now you are penniless with a new outlook. Let’s hand you back the reigns on life’s ride, the power is yours to steer your future.
Whatever your circumstance, you feel a certain way about that circumstance. Say you have been ill and you feel beat down. You remember when you could conquer the world, and now you feel like a defeated lump.
Okay, so you feel that way. That is a choice to feel that way. What’s I’d like to ask is, “How is that serving you?”
If you don’t like the feeling that you are having, let’s dish up a new one. Let’s stay with the sick example, because we could easily replace sick overweight, procrastination, and any number of things.
Let’s explore this feeling of being beat down from having been sick or being in the process of overcoming an illness or condition. Let’s face it, not feeling well sucks, but if you are going to beat this thing, you need to change your thinking.
Like anything in life, you will have some good days and some bad days, but those are defined by the thoughts that you prescribe to them. If you are a recovering alcoholic or coming back from a debilitating illness or accident, your thinking is what will change everything for you.
I’m not talking about just thinking positive thoughts, although they don’t hurt. I’m talking about your choice of feelings.
If you feel discouraged, what is the thought behind that feeling? Instead of focusing on what you used to be or have, let’s instead have you focus on what you are doing. “I am overcoming. I am healing. I am working toward being whole again. I am working on getting healthy.”
‘I am’ is powerful. It’s powerful because it is in the present tense and it is right now. It’s not focusing on what “I was” or what “I used to,” it’s here and now and it’s where you have great power.
When you are sick you feel anything but powerful. When you lose your job, you feel anything but powerful. When you sabotaged your diet, once again, you feel anything but powerful. Stop spinning around chasing your tail. Heads is up.
I great illustration of being stuck in spin and exercising heads up is like that of a bodysurfer being caught underneath an ocean wave. If you have ever experienced this, you know just how terrifying it can be to be trapped in the swirling wave, unsure of which way is up and which is down. To get out, you have to get your head up above the wave. You have to find the light and get your head above the water.
When we allow ourselves to feel trapped in our circumstances, our thinking becomes like the swirling wave. We can’t think outside of the swirl.
When we realize that our circumstance is something outside of our control, but we can control how we feel in that circumstance by changing our thoughts about the circumstance, we see a light and our head pops up.
Hope is a light and it is ALWAYS in your control and power to have hope because it’s a feeling attached to a thought. Nobody can change your thinking. Nobody can make you feel anything. That is your choice. People can do things, but you control your thoughts.
Going around the same ol’ mountain can change when you decide to change it. Once you determine how you feel about where you are, and you explore the thought driving this feeling, you can ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”
Again, with our sickness example, “What can I learn from this?” It may be as simple as, what makes you feel better? When you get more rest? When you eat certain foods?
You can change how you think about your illness if you shift your thinking to a learning mindset. “I know when I do this, I feel better. I choose to do this. I am going to keep finding new ways to feel better and better.”
“When I cheat on my diet, I feel like crud.” Pretty self-defeating thinking, wouldn’t you say? Instead, I love the way I feel when I see my pants getting looser. I feel powerful knowing that I am a beautiful being that can change my thinking and change my life. I don’t need to keep going around this mountain.”
Once we learn to break the shackles of thinking the same way, Groundhog’s Day becomes a thing of the past.
You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.
Jolene holds Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and is a certified master success coach. Jolene's writing is continually inspired by the challenges that her clients are facing. She finds constant inspiration in the world around her and is profoundly honored to be living her purpose helping others turn impossible into possible.