Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lesson #30: Clean House = Clean Heart

There was a time in my life when I held on to mental grudges and emotional vendettas with a tight fist.  I didn't want anyone to "get away" with hurting me, and I did not forgive or forget anyone who had said or done something "wrong." Not coincidentally, my living space was in a state of cluttered disarray.  I had piles of things I did not need all around, dust gathering on old possessions, and every wall space covered.  I believed that if I threw away collections, clothes, or old sentimental items that I would be losing a part of myself. And thank God, I was right.

Around age eighteen, when I eventually did start cleaning out old closets and letting go of material possessions, I found that I could also let go of old parts of me that didn't fit anymore.  If I could release the parts of childhood Damon that had seen himself as an injured victim, then I could physically and emotionally begin to make room for a newer and more adult version.  This Damon would grow, start to take more responsibility for his experience, and would be more open to learning new lessons.

Often times people clutter and hoard as an unconscious way to protect themselves from a perceived sense of anxiety or loss.  The drawback is that clutter also prevents potential joy from entering your world.  If your home is full then there is literally no room for anything new.  Your heart and mind work in the exact same way.  Disorder in your house and traffic in your mind serve no purpose other than to make you rigid, stifled, and closed down to new opportunities.

My house at this moment is not the neatest place in the world, but it is overall clean with minimal furniture and minimal decoration.  Keeping my living area in order allows me to stay centered, focused, embracing of the present, and excited about the future.  It provides me with a space of positivity and possibility that is reflective of how I feel about aging at this time.  I am willing to let go of the physical and emotional clutter that stagnates me and holds me back from all the adventures and experiences that life has to offer.   What do you need to clear out to make this possible for you?

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City. He specializes in issues related to addiction, ageism, bullying, caretaking fatigue, grief and loss, gay/lesbian issues, stress management, depression, as well as couples in non-traditional arrangements. He is the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." To have him speak with your group, or to schedule a counseling visit, call 347-227-7707, or email at


Kosh said...

Great post. Reminds me of something else I read recently:

God can't hand you anything new
until you let go of what you're holding.


Kevin said...

Thank you for such a wonderful post. I enjoyed every bit of it.childrens furniture