De-cluttering life

Messes, messes, oh the messes.  Remembering what it was like when we had several young homeschooled children, I remember being baffled about the extent of the messes.  It wasn’t like that in my house growing up.  Oh right, we’re homeschooling!  On top of regular toys, we have educational toys and workbooks and videos and art supplies, etc.  And we’re home all day using them!  This became a real source of stress for me and for the children when I was angry and upset about their messes.  

I read a brilliant idea in a parenting book (I think it was “Parenting With Love and Logic” but I could be wrong) called “Gunny Bag”.  Gunny Bag in my case was a pillowcase with a scowly face drawn on it.  The purpose of Gunny Bag was to sneak into their rooms (via Mom) and collect everything that was lying about on the floor that shouldn’t be there.  Those things could be retrieved from the jaws of Gunny Bag by doing chores for Mom or by paying $ to get them back.  

Is this your life?

I’m not sure how much it really helped with keeping rooms cleaner, but it did teach them what they valued.  And as a mother, I learned what sorts of things each child valued and what things they could easily let go of.  That helped me know what sorts of purchases were valuable and what would end up being a waste of money.  I’m not sure what they learned or if it was just a fun game for them, but I do know that with 4 adult children now, they’ve all demonstrated the ability to discern between things they value and want to keep and what they can let go of.  They don’t agonize about getting rid of things that aren’t serving them anymore (like their mom and dad sometimes do).

But I realize I’m getting better at that because of my LifeLine training; because in LifeLine living, we learn to let go of old limiting beliefs and patterns that we once treasured, valued, and needed and replace them with a tidier way of living.  We replace anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, etc. into acceptance, understanding, patience, love, joy, peace, etc.  Sometimes we recognize the old patterns for the garbage that they are, like the dried up markers, headless Barbies, and games with missing pieces.  We also recognize what used to have value but is no longer serving us like old and frayed toothbrushes, outgrown toys, partnerless socks, and well-worn but now holy shoes.

So let’s do a Gunny Bag for the mind exercise together!  Think of an automatic, emotional response that you recognize as garbage (modeled for you as a child so it became yours but you don’t want it) or as something that used to have value for you but is now getting in the way of your progress (in life or in relationships).  Either way, we’ve learned and grown from these patterns and so we can say:

“Thank you subconscious for the gifts of _____________________ (your pattern), but I no longer need it.  I now have the tools, strategies, and support to think, feel, and act with love.  I am _________________(your replacement pattern).  Infinite love and gratitude.”  Then let your heart’s intention guide you into your daily living with that new pattern.  It’s work, yes.  But sometimes bringing out Gunny Bag is just what we need to bring awareness to our feelings and behaviors and determine their value in our lives.  And those , my friends, are messes worth cleaning up.

Love and light to you,


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