Cover for the St. Louis
POST-DISPATCH LIFESTYLE magazine
My name is Stephanie and I am a packrat.
There, I said it.
Yes, squirreled away in the dark recesses of my house I still have boxes of things I haven’t seen or used in over twenty years. I have food in the freezer that is over six months old. I have postage stamps issued during the 1984 Olympics when it cost 13 cents to send a letter first class. I have a cigar box full of those tiny keys you get when you buy a new suitcase—each pair neatly secured with a twist-tie.
I hang onto more bubble-wrap and cardboard boxes than I need “just in case.” I have computer “diskettes” with God-knows-what dating back to the early 90’s (without the technology to open them even if I wanted to see what was on them). Stacked neatly in the corner of my desk drawer is a year’s worth of price tags for clothes I’ve bought …and washed… and worn...
Most people who know me as the space clearing expert, a healer of homes, a teacher, author, and devoted messenger of hope to the clutter-weary… are surprised when I tell them I am not clutter-free.
Your home may be free of all excess, or be super organized and neat-as-a-pin, but if you live in a body that thinks thousands of thoughts a day (not all positive), feels pain and loss and fear from time to time, gets out of balance, or loses itself in the worries of the moment, I hate to break it to you: you’re not clutter-free either.
The fact is, most humans suffer one way or another from a condition called “holding on.” Me, I was born with squirrel tendencies based on a deep fear that there is not enough to go around. Softening the hardwiring of my past is my Hero’s Journey—my spiritual pathway that involves consciously clearing one suitcase key, postage stamp, and freezer-burned-lump-that-passes-as-food, at a time.
But this is good. The past decade has taught me that we can soften our grip of attachment—slowly and gently—by first naming and feeling the object of our stress and distress. We can release the charge that these issues or patterns hold by taking them less personally and seriously. We can change our relationship with any thing by clearing it, or just moving it from the floor to the drawer. Yes, even a single paper clip has the potential to change our lives.
I’ve learned that by shedding light on the places we resist in ourselves, we can bring our home, and our world, back into balance—one thing, pile, and thought at a time. It’s a journey of a lifetime that we can, if we choose, even enjoy!
Happy spring clearing!
Stephanie Bennett Vogt
Your Spacious... Brain?
Spaciousness. It is the subject of my book. It is the heart of my teaching. But what does it mean exactly? How do you measure or quantify something which can best be defined as a “state of being” that you cultivate, experience, and feel; something which cannot be understood, or dissected, or “grocked” with the rational mind?
Last week I stumbled upon a remarkable presentation given by a brain scientist. It is about as close as I’ve come to a scientific explanation of this amazing quality of spaciousness inherent in all of us.
“My Stroke of Insight” is an extraordinary 20-minute talk given by neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor who “had the opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened—as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding—she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story of recovery and awareness––of how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.” [TED.com]
As Dr. Bolte Taylor tells her audience: “How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out?”
You’ll love this online presentation whether you’re scientifically challenged like me, or not. Dr. Bolte Taylor’s easy-going, visual, and dynamic speaking style meets you where you are.
To view this free movie online, click here [ Recorded February 2008 in Monterey, California. Duration: 18:44 ]. It may take up to 30 seconds to download, but it’s worth it!
To read the transcript, click here.
More Praise for Your Spacious Self
It’s a big treat to open my email box and find letters from folks describing how my book (or talk, or workshop) has touched them and is making a big difference in their lives…
An enthusiastic reader wrote me this:
“…I'm looking forward to continuing the physical clearing stuff, which my husband is actually being inspired to participate in as well - thank you!! Most amazing though is the change with an ongoing issue with my mom and other strong-willed women in my life. I tried the "Unplugging" suggestion, and immediately felt a difference in my attitude toward her and them (we'll see what happens when I actually have to interact with her, but I'm hopeful). THANK YOU! Your work is amazing, thank you so much for sharing it, and it'll be me who's responsible for the increase in your royalties
:-) :-) :-) —KP, Pawtucket, RI
A participant of workshop (I offered five years ago!) emailed this from out of the blue:
Just wanted to let you know the impact that you've had on my life. As a life-long hoarder of things, you helped me to change - initially I noticed that I was able to keep my house neater, but the biggest change was how I began to throw things away. I still think of you on a daily basis as I joyfully toss things away! I really wish I could take another class with you... since I’m so far away now I can't - but I’m going to try to do so in a manner —I’m in a group with a few other women, and we are all going to read your book and discuss at our next meeting. So who knew—you have satellite classes in IL!! :-) —AC, Chicago, IL
Note: I wrote my book in part to give readers all the tools they need to cultivate spaciousness and create their own clearing “workshop” no matter where they live. The six-stage Clearing Circle is perfect for existing book groups, women’s or men’s groups, or just friends and family members who are inspired to go on a little clearing side-trip or adventure!
To learn more about Clearing Circles, click here.
To read a few excerpts of Your Spacious Self, click here.
I love hearing from you. Keep your letters coming!
Free 30-day Email Series Update
If you signed up months ago to receive my free 30-day email series and wonder what the heck happened…worry not. You have not been forgotten and I appreciate your patience.
The Series has taken way longer to launch because it is linked to a much larger online project currently under construction. Though I can’t say for sure when the project will be finished, I can say that the messages themselves are ready to go, and you will receive them, I promise!
If you haven’t yet signed up and would like to receive my free 30-day messages designed to help you cultivate spaciousness and clarity in your home and life, click here.
On the Road
I’ve given a number of talks and workshops this year in the US and in Mexico; in many cases to standing room-only audiences. Everywhere I go—bookstores and women’s circles, conferences and Feng Shui schools—I’m bowled over by the enthusiasm and appreciation I’ve received.
I love teaching what I know to be true about the clearing journey: that it can be simple and hopeful. It is a message that seems to be touching a deep chord in many people. For all these opportunities, I am deeply grateful.
To learn more about my teaching and consulting practice, click here.
Read a Profile of me published by Thoughtleading.com.
Web Site: www.spaceclear.com
Clearing a path to your true nature—
one step, drawer, or moment at a time.
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