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Excerpt from "Your Spacious Self- Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are"

It’s a Jungle—In Here!

by Stephanie Bennett Vogt

While I waited, bleary eyed and cranky, I proceeded to do what I always do while the coffee brews: I took the clean dishes out of the drainer, one at a time, and put them away.

On this particular morning, I experienced something I had never consciously observed before: In the sixty seconds that it took me to stack the last of the pots and pans, I noticed that the cobwebs in my head had cleared, and my mood was better. A lot better. The fog that I was carrying—and my spirits— had lifted.

What is this? I haven’t even had my cup of coffee!

There it was: a spacious infusion resulting from a housekeeping ritual that I’ve repeated every day for most of my adult life; an experience realized and harnessed by simply being aware.

The truth is, I experience a swell of spaciousness every time I put the dishes away or hang the laundry up to dry or fold it. I feel the shift when I gather the empty cups and glasses in my living room or on my desk at the end of the day. Or when I address an annoying toleration, like replacing a light bulb or sewing a button or fixing the squeak in the door. I’ve devoted hours to writing about how simple actions can transform the energy in our living spaces, our lives, and our world.

I notice that every time I create an experience for my students to try at home or blog about ways to cultivate a clear home and spacious life, I myself am affected by the elegant simplicity of the practices I’m writing and teaching about.

What I didn’t expect as I got deeper into my writing is that I would be responding to something more urgent: a distress call from people—women mostly—yearning to relieve the stress they feel; hungering to connect with something deeper and more meaningful.

Everywhere I go I see a longing for simplicity but a loss of where to begin; a desire for balance and nourishing self-care but no idea how to cultivate it. There is no time to juggle it all, let alone clear the things and thoughts that caused us to feel so overwhelmed in the first place! The chorus of unease that I’m hearing is a series of notes that sounds a lot like this:

• I’m overwhelmed. I have no time. I can’t see straight or hear myself think.

• I’m so envious of people who are able to get things done.

• I have no idea what I love anymore.

• Slow down? You’ve got to be kidding.

• Where do I begin?

It’s no surprise that our fast-paced lifestyles pack a wallop to the system. Technologies evolving at lightning speeds are making it possible for us to communicate as never before. We are assaulted by information all the time and have limited time to process even a fraction of it. Ironically, the very systems that are designed to simplify our lives seem to complicate them even more.

Add the noise swirling “out there” to the internal, chaotic struggles going on within, and you get fried circuits, a constant triggering of the fight or flight response, and a cascade of stress chemicals coursing through the system.

I wanted to write a book that cuts through the noise; one that could charm the part of the mind that is spinning out of control somewhere in “overwhelm La-la Land”; a book that creates the tiniest peephole of quiet, yummy spaciousness that not only expands with our awareness but can be felt—at the deepest level; a book that delivers a palpable experience of ease in one minute flat.

Your Spacious Self is that book.

Whether you are a superorganized neatnik, a hopeless clutterbug, a nonstop multitasker, a cautious beginner, an experienced professional, or a curious bystander—welcome! This book is for you.

Stephanie Bennett Vogt, MA teaches inspirational clearing programs worldwide and is the founder of SpaceClear, a consulting practice that helps homes and their occupants come into balance. Her website is www.spaceclear.com.

$18.95 Available November 2012 at all major book sellers

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