The human mind: It’s the best drama machine around. It’s portable. It runs day and night, even, and especially, when we’re not aware of it or paying attention. It is infinitely expandable and requires only imagination to operate. It cranks out some of the best stories around. Just feed it a few tidbits of hearsay, half-truths, some emotional charge, some childhood memories (the more traumatic, the better), and voilà, you’re cooking, baby — with fire!
What you generate and experience depends entirely on what you feed your mind. Give the mind a story about terrorism in the country you’re about to visit on vacation, and you’ve just generated a beautiful garden of fearsome delights complete with the image of being robbed at gunpoint as you’re stepping away from an ATM. Feed it more stories of earthquakes, poverty, and a recent airline crash, and you’re probably dialing the number of your travel agent to cancel the trip, muttering incessantly under your breath: I ain’t going nowhere!
Stress Hormones Triggering a "Fear Fall"
Factor in the effects of stress hormones cascading through your central nervous system, and “fearful” becomes more like a “fear fall.” Once those chemicals get triggered in the brain, it can take some time to bring yourself back into balance.
If so little can create so much in the playground of the mind, what could happen if we exercised some self-restraint and changed its daily diet! What if we consciously reframed a negative attitude or belief just once a day? What if we allowed our feelings — of pain, grief, or fear — to be just feelings, without acting on them or feeding them with more of the same? What if we could just witness an eruption without taking it personally — or seriously? If more of us practiced not identifying with just one little drama once a day, how might that change us and, dare I say, our world?
What Story Are You Telling Yourself About Your Life?
One thing I can say for sure: There is no tool or device required to create the joyous, spacious, clutter-free life you yearn for that doesn’t already come built in to this amazing package we call the human body and this elastic generator we call the human mind!
As bestselling author Byron Katie says, our problems are not the cause of our suffering, but rather the thinking about our problems causes us pain. When we can recognize that all our physical and emotional clutter began first as a thought that we’ve latched on to, we can begin to dismantle it the same way it came: by releasing the charge and reframing the thought the moment it arises. You can begin now by watching the stories you spin and asking yourself if they are true or not.
Mental Clutter Defined
Mental clutter is the incessant chatter generated by the small mind, or monkey mind. This is the domain of the resident ego, barking orders to assure its eternal comfort and safety.
Some faces of mental clutter:
- auto-pilot fears: “I should,” “I can’t,” “I couldn’t,” “I shouldn’t”
- negative stories you tell yourself; limiting beliefs; self-blame
- guilty conscience
- “poor me,” feeling victim
- overthinking, overanalyzing, overrationalizing
- motor-mouth chatter, posturing, incessant blathering, yammering, harping
Mental Chatter/Clutter Clearing Practice
This is another opportunity to tune in to some of the “static and noise” you might be carrying.
TUNING IN TO MENTAL CHATTER:
In your journal, begin by making a list of at least five limiting beliefs — for example, any thought or behavior that rattles, jangles, stirs, enrages, defeats, or saddens you on a routine basis.
Your list could look like this:
- I can’t have (do, be) that.
- Nobody gets me.
- I can’t let go.
- What a waste my life is.
- I get nothing accomplished.
- I’ll never get there.
After you’ve compiled your list, notice if you feel a surge of heat, greater thirst, increased heart rate, a momentary pang. Do nothing but allow yourself to feel any weather that is stirred. Don’t forget to . . . stop and feel.
Use the statements below to shine light on the stories you tell yourself. For greater effect (i.e., awareness and emotional release), focus on one story at a time and repeat the process for each one.
One of the stories I tell myself that doesn’t serve me anymore is ______
This story makes me feel ______
I know that this story is not true [no longer serves me] because ______
It is safe to let go of this story because [psst, notice the part of you that does not feel so safe] _______
What is true about me (and I would like to tell myself instead) is _______
©2012 by Stephanie Bennett Vogt, MA. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Hierophant Publishing.
Dist. by Red Wheel/Weiser, Inc. www.redwheelweiser.com
Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are
by Stephanie Bennett Vogt.
Stephanie Bennett Vogt, shows you how to clear your home, quiet the mind, and restore your spirit, in ways that feel good and last a lifetime.
About the Author
Stephanie Bennett Vogt, MA, is the author of the award-winning and re-released Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are, and a contributing author of Pearls of Wisdom with Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff, et. al. and The Thought That Changed My Life Forever with Bernie Siegal, et. al. As New England’s leading space clearing expert she brings over thirty-five years of experience to SpaceClear, the teaching and consulting practice she founded in 1996 helping homes and their occupants come into balance. Stephanie teaches her inspirational clearing programs at centers worldwide. Visit her at www.spaceclear.com