Understanding and Conquering Clutter

by Diana DiCristina, Wind Water Harmony

Two of the fundamental principles of feng shui:
~ Everything is energy,
~ Your space reflects your life.

What does your space say about you and your life?

In your mind’s eye, enter your home through your architectural-intended front door. What do you see as if seeing your space for the first time? Go through each room, especially the bedroom and don’t forget the garage. Look under the beds, in the drawers, closets, storage areas and cupboards. Take notice of all that you see. How you feel is a reflection of the energy in your space.

When you have cleared the clutter, you will experience a calm and centered feeling, improved relationships, more money, clarity, more time and space, enhanced creativity, and living your life in harmony with the Universe.

Clutter is anything that keeps you from doing what you want to do. There are four categories of clutter: things you no longer use or love, things not organized or tidy, too many things in a small space, and anything unfinished.

Examples of clutter are mail, laundry, coats and shoes at the entry, hobbies, newspapers and magazines, recycling, collections, gifts, photos, unfinished remodeling projects, e-mail, junk drawers, clothes closet, hard drive on your computer, things on shelves, things under the sink, things in bathroom cabinets, plants, dishes, craft items, etc. You get the idea.

Why is clutter a problem? “What do I do with all my things?” you ask. Let me help you better understand clutter. No judgment allowed. If you have judgment about clutter, it will be much harder sorting through and realizing its hold on you. If your clutter controls you, you do not have freedom to make clear choices. People “shut down” where there is clutter. It totally slows you down and wastes time.

Do you think of your stuff as things you love or are they a “ball and chain”? Ask yourself, Do I love it?” If you don’t love it, someone else will. If you have something that is annoying you, be the river rather than the dam. Move it on. Someone else will be thrilled with the treasure. It is okay to have empty space. Have only the things that you love!

Identify your clutter. Ask, “Does this thing lift my energy and make me feel good? Do I love it? Does it inspire me? Is it special or just nice?” Maybe you really do love it but it brings back sad memories. Is it useful or helpful? Do I use it? Will I need to use it again?

Examine the blockages of letting go of clutter. There are only two factors we are dealing with: love and fear. Approach your clutter with love in your heart. Don’t be afraid. Believe in yourself as you sort through your things. It is safe to let go. Trust. If you find yourself keeping something “just in case,” be aware that you are keeping that thing out of fear. Letting go of your clutter is not only about looking at your stuff but also allowing yourself to look into your heart releasing the fear and trusting that the Universe will provide what you need when you need it.

There can be emotional attachments to clutter. Sentimental clutter is about who gave us the thing, not the thing. When someone dies and you have his or her belongings, go through the process of grieving before you deal with their personal affects. Things have no eternal value. You know how much you loved someone. You don’t need a thing to have that love. Cherish the memories not the thing.

When dealing with clutter, remember you do not need to have excess. You do not have to fear being with nothing. Strive to find balance. Balance in your space provides balance in your life, creating harmony.

Tune in to how something makes you feel when you see it or think about it. If it makes you feel good, find the perfect place for it. If it makes you feel bad, it’s clutter. Regardless of how much you spent on something, if it does not make you feel good, let it go.

To support your energetic intentions, wear something orange. It takes a great deal of will power to clear your clutter. Start small, perhaps with a shelf or a drawer. Remember that you must finish what you start. Otherwise, the clutter will become worse. Experience the change. Cut the energetic ties to the clutter. With a loving heart, thank the objects as you let them go.

Letting go of your clutter and conquering it is not about getting rid of “stuff” as much as it is about understanding the energetic implications. Remember, everything is energy and your space reflects your life.

Diana DiCristina of Wind Water Harmony is a successful entrepreneur specializing in spirituality, feng shui and color. She blends a kaleidoscope of professional practices and methods to help people enhance their lives by working with their environment. More information at windwaterharmony.com

Rejuvenate and Revitalize Your Body through Nutritional Cleansing

Jump-Start Your Health In The New Year!
by Diane Oldenberg

One of the most basic elements of wellness is feeling good in your own body and having the energy you desire. One of the best ways to jump-start the process of feeling good in your body and gaining energy and vibrancy is through a nutritional cleanse. The ancient process of fasting has been practiced throughout history as a tenet of good health. But nutritional cleansing is different than a fast. It does not starve the body; instead, it replenishes it with vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, herbs, adaptogens and antioxidants) to rejuvenate and revitalize the body while accelerating the removal of impurities. Fad diets, single-organ cleanses, and juice fasts rarely provide the necessary nutrients to retain muscle mass, rebuild health, promote complete cleansing, and sustain your energy.

The start of a new year is often times when people feel the desire to recommit to a healthier lifestyle, whether the goal is simply to lose weight, to increase physical fitness and athletic endurance, or to get healthier in general. There is no quick fix. Living a healthy lifestyle takes commitment and dedication. Making nutritional cleansing part of your healthy lifestyle is a great tool. Jump-starting your New Year with a cleanse could be a wonderful way to get started on your path to healthy living!

Why cleanse? Our bodies are exposed to many everyday toxins that find their way into our system. Environmental pollution, artificial colors and flavoring agents, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and insecticides, mercury, waste, growth hormones and antibiotics in our food supply, chemicals in cleaning supplies and personal toiletry items, stain repellants and flame retardants on our carpets and furniture—all of these pollutants get into our bodies on a daily basis. Stress also increases the body’s burden. Our bodies store the extra waste in fat cells, making the body less efficient, slowing down metabolism, often resulting in lack of energy, dull skin, sluggishness, excess pounds and inches. If we never give our bodies a break and “clean out the filters” so to speak, the body never has the luxury of really digging into the much-needed heavier work of processing and releasing stored toxins, and extra fat and waste that have accumulated over time. We clean or change the filters regularly in our cars, our furnaces, air conditioners, vacuums, dryers and vents, why not in our bodies? When the body is overburdened with too many toxins, it simply cannot function at top efficiency. Eventually, we will feel sluggish, fatigued, have difficulty concentrating, retain excess weight and may become ill.

There is no miracle cure, product, or food. Our bodies are the real miracle. They are designed to cleanse and purify themselves and our wonderful organs do just that – our lungs, liver, skin, kidneys and colon, to name a few. When you cleanse, you give your body a break from its workload so that the body’s innate wisdom can do its job and tend to some of the old stored-up junk.

When cleansing, many people choose to eliminate specific things from their diets, including sugar, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, gluten and animal products. Many of these items can cause inflammation, digestive issues and/or addictions. Great additions to the body during a cleanse are plenty of purified water, fresh whole foods (locally grown, organic choices are best), a complete Nutritional Cleansing system, as well as getting plenty of rest and relaxation. A full-body massage, a hot bath, colon hydrotherapy, detoxifying saunas, and body wraps can also aid the body in releasing toxins and reaching a balanced state of relaxation. Also, try to use only natural, non-chemical cleaning and laundry supplies, as well as personal products. The fewer toxins you expose yourself to, the less your body will have to try to eliminate. Make sure to get regular aerobic exercise and try adding yoga, Pilates, tai chi or qigong to your routine.

A cleansed and revitalized body is stronger, resists illness better, is leaner, more efficient and performs at a higher level than one that is filled with impurities. Many people who regularly cleanse notice an ability to reach and maintain their ideal weight. All adults who live with stress, pollution, and incomplete nutrition should cleanse at least a few times a year. Anyone who is interested in improving the quality of their lives by regaining lost energy, losing excess weight, improving athletic performance, or creating a healthier life should cleanse. Nutritional cleansing is a great way to not only lighten the toxic load off of our bodies, but it can have a significant lightening effect on our moods, our outlook and our sense of spiritual connectedness. It’s all about mind, body and spirit. I would encourage you to consider a nutritional cleanse to jump-start your health and wellness in the New Year, and to make it a part of your everyday, healthy lifestyle.

For help in getting started with nutritional cleansing, please contact the author at d_oldenberg@yahoo.com. To read more about nutritional cleansing, check out: www.PositivelyFit.isagenix.com.

Breathing to Beat the Blues: Yoga and Depression

by Sandra Helpsmeet

Depression is a condition with which we are all familiar on some level. If we have not been depressed ourselves, we likely know someone who has. Estimates of the occurrence of depression range from 5 to 25 percent of the population. While on a physical level, depression can be identified by the dysfunction of hormones and neural chemical reactions in our bodies, the causes appear to be many. Genes, lifestyle, diet, stress, trauma, grief, and attitude may all contribute. A certain amount of mild depression is a normal reaction to the ordinary losses of life, but a serious depression can bring one’s life to a standstill or even lead to suicide. When the effects of the depression are serious, they need to be taken seriously and professional help sought.

When one is under the influence of depression, one’s body often feels heavy and slow, while one’s mind races, often going over the same territory again and again. Interest in the ordinary things of one’s life gets lost. Often physical symptoms appear, such as headache or digestive troubles. The depression may be lethargic or anxious.

One of the hallmarks of yoga, intelligently applied, is that it tends to bring balance, so in the face of the the inertia and dullness that often characterize depression, yoga would try to bring movement, a shift of focus, and breath. In the case of a lethargic type of depression, the movement may have to start slowly and proceed gradually, while in an anxious depression, the movement may help dissipate the anxious energy. Once appropriate movement is happening, conscious work with the breath can help calm and refocus the mind. Moving the body mindfully and working with the breath in an appropriate way lead to greater self-awareness, which can help the person learn more about how to ease the depression and perhaps lead to greater understanding of the depression’s roots.

While the ‘formula’ is fairly simple, it is not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation. Both the nature of depression and the needs of an individual often result in a personally tailored program working a lot better than a generic class. Going to a yoga class regularly, and/or regularly doing a home practice may do the trick. And maybe not. If you have the motivation to go to class and/or practice, try it and see if it helps. If not, or if going to a class seems overwhelming, you may want to seek the help of a yoga therapist who is experienced in working with depression to get you started. In addition to yoga’s poses, mindful attention, and breathing exercises, the greater awareness yoga encourages may help one change habits that foster depression. Substances such as alcohol, caffeine, and sugar affect mood, and for some, this may contribute significantly to depression. Some people are sensitive to certain foods or chemicals. As you practice yoga, your ability to notice the effect of these things on yourself will grow. A yoga practice can also help normalize sleep and ease any physical symptoms that are part of the depression.

One of the best things about a yoga practice for depression is that people generally start to feel the positive effects right away. In studies that have measured the after-class effects as well as the after-study effects, subjects have reported an increase in positive symptoms for both. After each practice, you are likely to feel a little better, and that is likely to build and accumulate over time. Once you are familiar with how yoga helps you, it is also portable and adjustable for whatever life situation you may find yourself in.

For more in-depth information about yoga for depression, you might want to read Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga by Amy Weintraub.

Here are two examples of simple techniques that might be part of a program for depression. In any case they are unlikely to be hurtful to anyone.

Mountain Pose
Stand with your feet under your hip joints and parallel to each other. Even your weight over your feet, and press your feet into the floor. Keep your feet pressing the floor throughout. Let an exhalation come out like a long sigh, and as you inhale, bring your arms out to the sides in a large sweeping motion, taking them up over your head, palms facing each other, as high as is comfortable for you. Pause as a breath goes by. With the next exhalation, sweep your arms down to your sides. Pause again and let a breath go by. (Are your feet still pressing?) Repeat 5 times.

Bee Breath
Sit on a chair or the floor on the front edge of your sitbones (not on your tailbone) with your back tall. Or lie on your back on the floor with a folded blanket under your head so that your neck is comfortable and your knees up, feet on the floor. As an exhalation comes around, make a humming sound so that you sound like bees humming over the flowers. Hum all the way to the end of the out breath, but not so long that you strain. Then stop humming and watch the inhalation happen. With the next exhalation, hum again. You can hum at any pitch, or change your pitch. Feel the vibrations in your head. Continue for a few minutes. After you stop, take a moment to notice.

Sandra Helpsmeet, RYT500, LMFT, is owner of The Yoga Center of Eau Claire and a psychotherapist at SouthWoods Counseling Clinic. She teaches classes and private lessons at the Yoga Center.