How many yaks have you shaved lately without even knowing it?

Cartoon yak

You know what it’s like. You start the day with good intentions but get side-tracked and don’t end up doing any of the things you planned to do.

Sometimes this happens because you are too easily distractible, in which case you need to learn to make a To Do List, prioritize everything on it in order of decreasing importance, and make sure you at least get the essential tasks done. This will give you a satisfying sense of achievement at the end of the day.

Sometimes it happens because there are unexpected calls on your attention. This is bound to occur occasionally, but if it happens too often you may need to learn to say no from time to time so that you can prioritize your own needs. There are genuine exceptions, of course, but people who always put others first are usually avoiding something in their own life that they don’t want to deal with.

What this article is about is another type of side-tracking that most people don’t recognize because they don’t have a name for it. And yet I’m sure after I explain it, you’ll realize it happens to you a lot.

It’s called yak shaving, and is defined as any series of unrelated tasks that have to be completed before you can do the job you first set out to do.

How yak shaving happens

The key word in this definition is “unrelated”. Everyone understands that when they set out to do a task, there may be a series of related things that need to be done. For example, if you want to renew your passport, you need to have your photo taken, fill in the forms, and post the documents to the relevant office or perhaps make a trip to the office in person. Step 1 is followed by Step 2, which is then followed by Step 3. It’s a linear progression, with each step logically following on from the last.

Yak shaving is not like this at all. How this scenario might look when yak shaving is involved is that you need to get a new passport, but in order to do that you first need to get a new photo taken, but in order to do that you need to get a haircut, and in order to do that you first need to get your car repaired so that you can drive to town to get it done. And so instead of applying for your passport, you spend the entire day getting your car fixed and feeling frustrated because you never got started on the job you first set out to do. That’s yak shaving!

Made famous by author and blogger, Seth Godin, the example he gives on his blog is about the process of wanting to wax his car, but to do this he first has to buy a new hose, but to do that he first needs to borrow his neighbour’s E-Zpass to cross a toll bridge to get to Home Depot, and to do that he first needs to restuff the mooshi pillow his son borrowed from the neighbour. Hence ending up at the zoo shaving a yak!

Yak shaving strategies

Hopefully your own examples are not as obscure as this, but they certainly can be. The reason why it’s important to stop, catch yourself in the act, and realize you are yak shaving is because this immediately takes you out of feeling like a victim of circumstances and helps to reduce the feelings of frustration that can arise.

Better still, now that you are wise to it, you can spot that it is about to happen, have a little chuckle to yourself about it, and either decide to continue with good-natured enthusiasm or leave that particular yak unshaven for now and find another way to accomplish your goal (in my example, perhaps get a friend to give you a lift, or catch a bus or taxi instead).

A good sense of humour is definitely an asset when it comes to yak shaving, which is why I have chosen a cute cartoon yak for the picture that accompanies this blog. Next time this happens to you, bring this image to mind, smile, and make a conscious decision to shave it or not. Be aware too, that entire herds of yaks can emerge when there’s clutter clearing to be done, so be particularly alert for them at those times.

Related articles
Mastering the art of yak shaving

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017

Posted in Lifestyle & awareness | Read 1 comment

Facial clutter clearing

Before and after beard photos

Clutter takes many forms.

A man once wrote to me to say, ‘After reading your book on decluttering, I decided to shave off my beard of ten years. Would you consider this a form of decluttering the body?’

Absolutely! Some men grow beards for religious or other deliberately chosen personal reasons, but my general perception is that most use them to hide behind. It makes them feel less emotionally vulnerable.

I wrote to ask him if he agreed with this. Did he feel more exposed after shaving his beard off?

He replied, ‘I had to think for a while in order to answer your question. Concerning the “hiding” aspect, I would agree with you in my case. I had just shaved it off the day I first emailed you. I find your observation quite intriguing.

‘After considering my emotional vulnerability, I would say, yes, I am experiencing a little more of it. I grew the beard after a failed promotion at work and continued to work at that company for four years. It was not until my wife and I read your decluttering book that I considered even changing my face to the world.

‘Since our last communication, I have cleared out the attic, recommenced a heretofore unfinished home improvement project, and most importantly, have sorted through and discarded old working papers from my previous employer! How’s that for progress!’

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017

Posted in Clutter clearing | Read 4 comments...»

Why sugar in your diet is like clutter in your home

Sugar cubes

There’s a wonderful story in the opening paragraphs of William Dufty’s bestselling book, Sugar Blues, where he describes his first encounter with Gloria Swanson, the biggest Hollywood star of the 1920s, who he met at a lunchtime press conference held in a building on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

I unwrapped my sandwich, sprung the lid off my coffee jug, picked up a sugar cube. I was unpeeling it when I heard her commanding whisper: ‘That stuff is poison,’ she hissed. ‘I won’t have it in my house, let alone my body…’

I dropped the sugar cube. I notice the space in front of Miss Swanson was bare of clutter. She wasn’t having any of our picnic. She had brought her own – a piece of tree-ripened, unsprayed something. She offered me some. I had never tasted anything better in my life. I told her so.

‘It haunted me for days,’ he wrote. ‘Whenever I reached for those sugar tongs, I would draw back and think of her injunction.’

He’d been addicted to sugar since he was a child so dropping the habit wasn’t easy. But he did it. Within five months he had dropped all his excess weight, from 205 pounds (93 Kg) down to 135 pounds (61 Kg), and all his chronic health problems melted away too. In his own words, ‘I ended up with a new body, a new head, a new life.’ He also eventually ended up with a new wife, marrying the illustrious Gloria Swanson some years later.

Giving up sugar

I first read William Dufty’s book in 1987 and immediately gave up sugar myself. Reading the book has that effect. It wakes you up to how we’ve all been duped into thinking that sugar is a harmless treat, when in fact it’s a toxic substance that is a major factor in obesity, tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses, and which pours massive profits into the coffers of multinational corporations who don’t give a hoot about our health. Any time sugar starts straying back into my diet, I read the book again, and I’m back to zero sugar in a matter of days.

At first, it takes a fair amount of willpower to give up sugar, but after the addiction has gone, which most people find takes only 2-4 weeks, living sugar-free settles into a balanced way of life. When I see something sweet on a supermarket shelf now, I sometimes fondly remember the taste. But then I remember the agenda of the giant sugar industry behind it and the after-effects I would feel in my body if I ate it, and I happily walk away.

The truth about sugar

What most people don’t realize about sugar is that it has a very dark history. Its cultivation lay at the heart of the development of the slave trade, and the lucrative income from sugar taxes was the main reason governments turned a blind eye to the issue for so long. Nowadays, the blind eye is being turned to the issue of everyone’s health.

The fact is that sugar has no nutritional content. In fact, it actively leaches vitamins and minerals from the body. In an emergency situation, you will live longer if you eat nothing rather than eating sugar.

A woman who came to one of my workshops gave a memorable testimony to this. She told how she had been in a Nazi concentration camp and wisely didn’t eat the sugar cubes or candy bars that were handed out by well-meaning American rescuers. She survived. Those who ate them died in agony very quickly.

Another story I often heard when I lived in Bali concerned some nursing mothers, whose milk had dried up because they had no food to eat during a period of hardship. They hit upon the idea of feeding their babies sugar water and sadly, all their babies died. The babies who were fed plain water were emaciated, but most of them lived.

Hidden sugar

Sugar is now in so many foods, disguised in the form of corn syrup, rice syrup, molasses, barley malt, maltodextrin, and just about everything ending in -ose (fructose, glucose, sucrose, sucralose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, and so on). Even so-called healthy forms of sugar such as honey, maple syrup, agave, brown sugar, coconut sugar and fruit juice concentrate affect the body in the same way. Honey, for example, has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, so does not cause blood sugar levels to spike as quickly, but it has a lot more calories and affects our organs just as much as other sugars do.

If you check the labels on packets, you’ll find sugar is in foods you might not have suspected, such as bread, soups, sauces, salad dressings, health bars, yoghurts, baked beans and most breakfast cereals. Sushi, on average, contains a tablespoon of sugar for each cup of rice, and sugar is commonly injected into processed meats. The list goes on and on.  Even natural fruit is so much sweeter now than it used to be that we need to limit its consumption. Many nutritionists recommend only one or two pieces of fruit a week. And, of course, high levels of sugar are in all fruit juices, soft drinks, energy drinks, and alcohol.

To learn more about hidden sugar, there’s a very informative film featuring Hugh Jackman and Stephen Fry called That Sugar Film. Written, directed by, and starring Damon Gameau, it documents what happens when he starts eating so-called healthy foods that are laden with sugar after being sugar-free for three years. Here’s a preview of what it reveals:

I ate 40 tablespoons of sugar a day. This is what happened.

In the UK, multiple tooth extractions resulting from extreme tooth decay are now the main reason why children are admitted to hospital, and according to Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, the cost of treating obesity has risen to more than the national spending on the police, fire and judiciary combined. The situation is completely out of control. Jamie Oliver’s successful campaign for a UK tax on sugar drinks was a step in the right direction but a drop in the ocean of educational change that’s needed.

Why we like sugar

To appreciate why so many people are hooked on sugar, it’s necessary to understand that it is not just chemically addictive. It also affects us at a subtle body level. The sugar rush we are all familiar with is not as intense as the high that comes from taking drugs such as heroin or cocaine, but it has some similarities. We crave sugar because it creates a thrill that can be felt in the blood stream and brain within minutes, and mimics some of the natural feelings of well-being that accompany high spiritual states of consciousness. However, as with drugs, it’s a false high that is always followed by a crash, making us want to consume more to experience the thrill again.

You may be interested to know that this roller-coaster effect is one of the main reasons why it’s a prerequisite for the professional space clearing practitioners I train that they eliminate sugar from their diet. If their blood sugar is constantly surging up and down, it will seriously skew their perception, and they will not be able to accurately feel, interpret and work with energies in buildings. And if they rely on false highs to get them through the day, they will not be able to access the high-level spiritual platform from which an authentic space clearing ceremony is conducted. Excessive sweetness in the blood also puts them more at risk for picking up entities in the buildings they clear because it’s very common for entities to be attracted to sugar.

How to quit sugar

As the title of this article suggests, sugar is a form of clutter in the body, and the key to quitting it is the same as for clearing clutter. It begins with a fundamental change of standpoint.

In the same way that many people become motivated to clear out the junk in their home when they realize it’s a liability rather than an asset, so it becomes very much easier to reduce your sugar intake or eliminate it completely when you see how you’ve been conned into wanting it. You may have grown up with it, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep consuming it. You may like it, but your taste buds can be re-educated. You may think you need it, but when you get past the craving, you won’t feel that way anymore.

The bottom line is, if your life isn’t sweet enough, eating sugar won’t fix that. In fact, it will eventually add to your woes in the form of brain fog, lethargy or health issues in one form or another.

In our impatient, fast-paced, quick-fix, instant gratification world, it’s easy to see why so many people seek the easily available satisfaction of sugar. But in the same way that sugar offers only empty calories, so the main psychological ailment of modern times is an empty and meaningless life. There are other factors involved, of course, but there’s a clear connection between the two.

Related articles
Swedish mum’s battle against sugar goes viral

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017

Posted in Lifestyle & awareness | Read 7 comments...»

The trouble with ticking clocks


A ticking clock in your home can affect you in ways you may not realize.

Feeling that time is running out

One of the primary effects of living with a ticking clock is that you are likely to feel that time is limited or running out for you. This is because the constant background ticking noise provides a continual reminder that time is passing. Your conscious mind soon learns to tune it out but your subconscious continues to hear every tick.

I’ve found this to be the case with every client I’ve ever worked with for who has a ticking clock in a prominent location in their home, and there is scientific evidence for it too.

In one study by researchers at Florida State University, people were asked to fill out questionnaires about their ideal partner and what age they would like to get married and have children. It was found that, when there was a ticking clock in the room, women opted for getting married and having babies at an earlier age. Those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were the most affected, but I have found that anyone who has a ticking clock in their home is subject to feeling there is generally not enough time. Remove the clock or replace it with a silent one and the belief will usually melt away.

Feeling that life is repetitive and boring

Another effect of a ticking clock is that the monotonous, repetitive sound can cause you to feel that your existence is nothing more than a series of cycles, repeated day after day, week after week, year after year.

Some people say that they find the ticking noise comforting and enjoy having a safe, predictable life, but as Benjamin Franklin once put it, ‘Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75’. There is so much more possible in life than doing the same things over and over again.

A ticking clock may affect your body rhythms

The human body has many different rhythms. We each have a unique heartbeat that is so distinctive that technology is now being developed to use it as the most secure password system ever invented. There is also the rhythm of our breath, our brainwave frequencies, and our personal sleep-wake cycle. Most cells in the body have their own circadian rhythm.

External rhythms can affect these. It is well established that depriving a person of sunlight can disrupt their sleep cycle, and certain types of music can lower blood pressure and heart rate.

study conducted by Shoko Yamane and Naohiro Matsumura in 2015 in Japan showed that having a slow ticking clock in a room has an entrainment effect that slows a person’s performance. There are likely to be many other effects that have not yet been monitored.


A ticking clock in any part of your home will affect you but the worst place to have one is on your bedside table, or anywhere in your bedroom. You will be exposed to the sound during all the hours of sleep.

And it’s so unnecessary. Just google “silent clock” and you will discover a whole range of noise-free clocks that are readily available.

Most wall clocks are battery operated these days, so it’s just a matter of finding one that goes with your decor. If you use an alarm clock, be sure to choose one that runs on batteries rather than mains electricity, for the reasons explained in the article about clock radios listed below.

Related articles
Why the best place for a clock radio is in your bin, not on your bedside table
How WiFi can affect your sleep

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017

Posted in Feng Shui | Read 3 comments...»

Why cordless phones are not cool

Cordless phone

Most people would not want a cell phone mast located in their garden or anywhere near their home. But very few realize that using a cordless phone exposes them to a similar or even higher level of microwave radiation. It’s like having a cell phone mast right inside your home.

How cordless phones work

Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) phones emit the same type of pulsed microwave frequencies into your head as a regular cell phone (that’s why your ear gets so hot when you use one). But unlike cell phones, which poll for signals intermittently, most  cordless phones are designed to poll for signals at full strength 24/7, whether you actively use the phone to make a call or not.

Worse still, if you don’t have a cordless phone yourself but your neighbour does, the effect can be almost the same because microwaves travel straight through walls.

Health problems

Very often when I do consultations in the homes of clients who report a range of health problems or difficulty sleeping, it can be traced to the cordless phones they are using. Sometimes all that’s needed is for them to replace their cordless phones with a good, old-fashioned non-electric corded phones, which emit no microwave or electromagnetic radiation at all. The change is pretty much instantaneous.

For others, especially anyone experiencing poor quality of sleep, rapid or irregular heart rhythms, chest pains, or high or low blood pressure, there may be a need to also reduce their exposure to other forms of microwave radiation too. This means only turning on and using their cell phone phone when absolutely necessary (ie. a real emergency, not just for convenience), and using wired broadband rather than WiFi.

For some, this may feel like too much of a lifestyle change, or too much of an expense, but it costs nothing to give it a go for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference. Most people are amazed how much better they feel, and some report they are able (after taking advice from their doctor) to reduce or stop taking prescribed medications they previously expected to be on for the rest of their life.

How to check your cordless phone

The best way to check your cordless phone is to use a special meter designed for the job. I recommend the Acoustimeter or Acousticom 2, both of which will tell you if microwave levels are within tolerable ranges or not. If you have a standard cordless phone, the readings are likely to be at the top end or off the scale completely.

You can also get a rough idea of the problem by using a portable radio on AM setting. Turn the dial to slightly off station at the lower end of the AM frequencies, so that all you can hear is static. Then slowly bring the radio close to the phone when it is resting in its base station. If the static becomes louder as you move the radio nearer to the phone, then you have the type of DECT phone that is always on.


To reduce your exposure, move your cordless phone as far away as possible from anywhere you spend extended periods of time during the day, and turn it off at the mains during the night while you sleep. Or, if you feel you absolutely must have a cordless phone, invest in one of the new ones that has an Eco-DECT setting and does not emit radiation when the phone is docked in its base. Some new models also have reduced level radiation when in use. However you will need to read the small print before buying, because some so-called ECO phones do not have either of these functions.

Eco-DECT phones have been available in Germany for some time, and can now be purchased in many other countries around the world (look for the Siemens Gigaset brand, which you can buy from in the UK). I’m not recommending them, you understand. They are just much less of a health risk than the old-style DECT phones that so many people have lurking in their homes. The best solution by far is to switch to a regular corded landline.

And what to do if you don’t have a cordless phone but your neighbour does? Click on the link below to find a solution for that.

Related articles
How to shield your home from neighbourhood WiFi

More information
DECT cordless phones (and WiFi) causes heart irregularities
Low radiation DECT cordless phones

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017

Posted in Healthy home | Read 1 comment


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