by Miriam Knight July 14, 2015
How to clear possessions, thoughts, and obstacles to your ideal life
Therapist John Benz is no stranger to self-help programs, having attended Weight Watchers meetings since age five. When Benz observed a connection between emotions his clients felt related to their possessions, and discovered that people who took steps to remove their disempowering possessions made the most progress toward attaining their goals, he took a closer look at the art of clearing.
While the concept of clearing is not entirely new--and feng shui practitioners have been advising for years that we pay closer attention to the objects around us and how they are arranged at work and at home--few people explain just how powerful the process of clearing out disempowering items can truly be.
The concept of clearing is simple. Honestly assess how you feel and what comes to mind when you systematically view each item in your home, and toss out everything that doesn't contribute to feeling happy and good about yourself.
Benz appreciates that such a simple idea can sound almost crazy, but points out that "... if the memories associated with their possessions reinforced that identity, that's exactly what they thought and what ultimately became true."
For those of us aware of recent research in fields of embodied cognition and the placebo effect, it's not such a stretch to recognize the immense and well-documented power of associating who we think we are with what we are doing, and cues from our surroundings. How we feel about our coffee table, bookshelves, clocks, vases, and dinnerware are therefore tremendously influential in how well we stick to our diet, master new skills, and achieve our dreams of living healthier, happier, more prosperous lives.
One of the things I like best about "Do the Clearing" is the down-to-Earth way this book shares experiences people have had in clearing rooms in their house, and immediately noticing obvious improvements in their lives. My other favorite thing about this book is how it emphasizes the importance of making the power question part of your life, long after your first clearing is done.
I love how Benz points out that people become accustomed to feeling deflated, low-energy, and uninspired, often without recognizing the contributing factors of how everything in sight is energetically influencing them. Benz appreciates that many people may initially think that clearing their possessions sounds crazy. He then points out the importance of the power question--does the item in question make you feel powerful? If yes, it stays. If no, it goes. Benz explains, "If you are feeling powerless, swept along by the current, then remember that possessions have power." He continues, "Use what's around you to your advantage. Clear what isn't powerful, and create a current that steers you toward the life you want."
While the idea of clearing is simple, and the seven steps straightforward and easy to do, much of the value of this book comes from the wonderful pointers and tips for overcoming potential pitfalls along the way of clearing out possessions, and then clearing out residual thoughts. Some of these potential pitfalls include involving other people in your clearing process, as outside support can be tricky. You might feel tempted, for example, to give things to neighbors, relatives or friends--yet this is mostly likely not in your best interest. The idea here is to remove obstacles to feeling powerless--not to see reminders of powerlessness from time to time.
At this point, you're likely wondering how well the ideas in this book actually work for me. As is so often the case in my life, days before hearing about this book, I'd synchronistically felt inspired to do what it prescribes. I'd cleared out some items in my kitchen that had little to do with me, and immediately noticed feeling an unexpected surge of positive energy. While I've yet to do a complete clearing, I am now making the power question a regular part of my life.
I highly recommend "Do the Clearing" for everyone!