Unconscious collecting

Dalmatian

Unconscious collections start innocently enough, as I learned from a couple I once worked with, who owned a Dalmatian dog called Rodney. One day, while out shopping, they came across a porcelain figurine that was the splitting image of their beloved pooch. They bought it, took it home, and installed it in pride of place at the centre of their living room mantelpiece.

Little did they know what an influence it would have. Any item placed in such a key position can affect an entire home.

By the time I met them, several years later, there were Dalmatian pictures or figurines in every room of their house. They were also on their cushion covers, their bedspreads and their tea-towels. There was a huge stone Dalmatian outside their front door and another in their back garden. Everywhere you looked there was Dalmatian imagery of some kind.

The fascinating thing was that the couple were completely oblivious to this until I walked them through their home and pointed them all out. Sheepishly they opened closets to reveal even more items – Dalmatian slippers, sweaters, and even a kooky Dalmatian hat. Their love for their dog had taken over their lives, and they didn’t even know it.

There’s more to collections than meets the eye

When someone has a collection of some kind, there are always deeper reasons for it. The items themselves are only symbolic of a frequency the person feels the need to bring into their life at that time. The mistake people make is to keep on collecting without ever getting to the bottom of what the deeper reason is.

With this couple, I asked a few questions and uncovered the fact that both came from very unstable families where they had learned, growing up, that people were not to be trusted. Dogs, yes. Humans, no. So instead of lavishing love on each other, they had taken the safer route of heaping it upon their pet.

What they hadn’t realized was that they had given Rodney so much importance that they had become slaves to his every neurotic whim. They would tiptoe around when he was asleep, so as not to wake him up, and every day was scheduled around when he needed to be fed, watered, and taken for walks. Dalmatians are notoriously high-maintenance, and unconsciously they had chosen that breed precisely for that reason. By keeping themselves busy looking after it, they were able to keep their own relationship on a safe, superficial level. It all worked perfectly well. Or did it?

The truth of the matter

The tears started to flow at this point of our conversation, as they realized how much they truly loved each other and were both afraid to show it.

I heard from them several months later that they had made the momentous decision to take a vacation without their dog (something they had never done before). He was put in a local boarding kennel for two weeks, and off they went.

They admitted that simply spending time with each other was one of the most challenging things either of them had ever done, and they missed Rodney terribly. However, it got easier as the days passed and they gradually opened.

When they returned home, they cleared all but their five most favourite Dalmatian ornaments from their home, and began to put their own lives and relationship first, rather than focusing so much on their dog.  They were amazed to discover that Rodney responded to this by calming down considerably and requiring a lot less time and attention than before.

Related article
Why do people collect things?

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017


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Clear Your Paper and Digital Clutter

Home office

Online course starting October 1, 2017

Paper clutter is one of the most challenging types there is because it’s so dense. You can sort through and tidy a small drawer full of general clutter in 20 minutes, but a pile of paper that occupies the same amount of space can take days, weeks, or even longer to work through.

A completely different approach is required for paper clutter clearing, which is why I run a separate online course for this, together with paper’s digital equivalents.

What the course covers

The course covers anything that is made of paper, including books, newspapers, magazines, clippings, photos, notes, cards, course notes, documents, and so on, as well as their digital equivalents, such as email, ebooks, eclippings and digital photos.

As our lives move more and more online, digital clutter is multiplying at an exponential rate. It may not take up the same physical space that physical paper does, but it certainly does take up “head space”, which can have an equally overwhelming effect.

Using methods developed over many years of working with clients online and in their homes, I will show you how to conquer each type to bring more order to your life.

How the course is structured

The course starts on October 1, 2017 and runs for 30 days, with a new step being posted every three days. This means that if life gets busy, you will still be able to keep up, and whichever world time zone you live in, you will be able to participate with ease.

The course content will be tailored to the participants taking it. It will consist entirely of text posts, with the option to upload photos, and you will be able to log on at any time of the day or night to read and make posts.  As a general guideline, I suggest spending half an hour each day reading the message board to get motivation and insights, and as much additional time as you can actioning each of the steps.

You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you need to ask to help you apply the technique to your own personal situation, and will have the wonderful camaraderie and support of the rest of the group, which makes the whole process enjoyable and fun.

Fun? Yes, paper clutter clearing can be fun! This is one of the greatest surprises to people who take my courses. Come and join us and see!

Related links
Clear Your Paper & Digital Clutter online course
Testimonials from previous participants
About online courses

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017


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Why do people collect things?

Antique radios

Most people collect something at some time in their life. Children are especially prone to it, but some continue it into adult life and pursue collecting as a hobby or even a profession, like the antique radios pictured here.

If you had pots of money, what would you collect?

An astonishing number of celebrities use their wealth to invest in collections. Demi Moore, for example, has an entire house devoted to her collection of over 2000 vintage dolls. She doesn’t live in the house. It’s just for her dolls, said to be valued at $2.25 million.

Celine Dion, meanwhile, has over 3000 pairs of shoes.
Jay Leno has 130 classic cars, housed in an enormous custom-built garage.
Tom Hanks has a splendid collection of antique typewriters.
Angelina Jolie collects knives.
Dolly Parton is mad about butterflies.
Claudia Schiffer collects dried insects.
Johnnie Depp collects animal skeletons.
Penelope Cruz is said to have collected over 500 types of coat-hangers.
Rod Stewart has a huge model train set up in the basement of his Beverley Hills mansion.
Ben Stiller collects Star Trek paraphernalia.
Leonardo Dicaprio has an impressive collection of action figures.
Rosie O’Donnell has a Happy Meal toy collection.
Nicole Kidman collects Judea coins from Mesopotamia.
Kiefer Sutherland collects Gibson guitars.

The list goes on and on. If you doubt me, this video showcases them all, and more.

Collections of this type are usually beautifully displayed and painstakingly categorized. A great deal of time and effort is invested in searching for items to add, and there is also the extensive cost of purchasing, insuring and maintaining them.

What lies at the heart of collecting

I would love to sit each celebrity down and ask them: How did it start? What was the first item you acquired, and how did it make you feel? In fact, I often ask these questions of less famous folk who have amassed collections of various types.

What I have discovered, in all cases, is that there is an initial acquisition that sparks the interest of the person to find more. In my book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, I explain that when someone feels moved to collect a particular type of thing, what they are in fact doing is responding to an intuitive yearning to gather a particular type of essence that is important for their personal development.

It’s a specific frequency they need to bring into themselves at that time, and this is entirely valid. But life is constantly changing and moving, and it’s actually only necessary to collect that essence for as long as it takes to spiritually integrate it into the person’s life. When that’s done, they can move their focus to something new.

So, if you have a collection of some kind, I encourage you to take a fresh look at it from this perspective. Why are you so attracted to the type of item you collect? What part of you does it resonate with? What feelings does it evoke? And, most importantly, how can you consciously integrate the essence of it and move on?

In case you’re wondering, some celebrities do progress. Nicolas Cage used to collect comic books but eventually sold them all, and Janet Jackson stopped acquiring pig figurines when her collection got out of hand. But the others? As far as I know, they continue to accumulate more of the same.

Related article
Unconscious collecting

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017


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Do you walk your dog, or does it walk you?

Dog pulling on leash

Cesar Millan, of Dog Whisperer fame, has searched through film footage and photos of decades of US presidents walking their dogs, and has discovered an astonishing fact: They all trail behind their dogs.

He has observed that presidential dogs take the lead when alighting from Air Force One, when entering the White House, or when being walked by a president on the White House lawn. Not one of them knows how to control their dog so that it walks behind them instead of tugging on the leash and surging ahead.

In his book, Be The Pack Leader, Millan says ‘I got a lot of applause during one seminar when I suggested that everybody write letters to Congress and suggest that before anyone gets sworn in as president, he or she has to learn how to walk a powerful dog. Maybe even a pack of dogs! It would be a test they’d all have to pass. All world leaders of all countries should be able to do it. If that actually happened, then all of our human pack leaders would have to practice calm-assertive energy, because that’s the only energy that dogs naturally follow. I believe we’d have a lot more balanced people running the world if they based their leadership on calm-assertive energy.’

Taking control of your life

Millan also explains in his book,’My goal for you is that you use the power of calm-assertive energy to become the pack leader in every area of your life, and open up to you a new dimension of living that you never before realized was possible.’ His readily admits his teachings are more about rehabilitating humans than training their dogs.

I’d like to meet this man some day because I have a similar belief about the effect of taking control of the clutter in your life. When you consciously own the space of your home, it opens up new possibilities you would never have dreamt of before.

The difference in technique is that instead of using calm-assertive energy to train a dog, you use it to centre yourself and order your home. Clutter clearing is the process of taking control of your life, one item at a time, and then periodically reviewing your home to make sure your personal possessions continue to match and support who you are and who you wish to become.

The analogies don’t stop there, either, because the behaviour of a person’s dog very much reflects what is out of balance in them. ‘Our dogs are our mirrors,’ says Milan. ‘Have you looked in yours lately?’

Similarly, everything in your home is a reflection of yourself. In my book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, I explain, ‘One of the quickest ways to get a fresh perspective on your life is to take a good long look at everything in your home as if you didn’t know the person who lives there. Better still, take photos of each room and look at the photos instead, which will give you more objectivity. What would you conclude about the person who lives in this home? Are they the kind of person you want to know? Are they the kind of person you want to be like? It then becomes much more obvious what you want to keep and what needs to go.’

When your home is out of control, with clutter and mess everywhere, some aspects of your life are sure to be out of control too. Sort out your home, and your life will work better. And training your dog, if you have one, will help a lot too!

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017


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How Zero Procrastination can change your life

To Do list

Can a To Do list be a form of clutter in your life? You bet your sweet pineapple it can!

Mental clutter

The most obvious form of clutter is the physical stuff lying around your home. But the mental clutter of things not done can be just as much of a problem. Both kinds will hold you back and prevent you from being all that you can be.

The longer you put off doing things, the more they drain your energy, and the harder it becomes to bring yourself up-to-date. A mountain of tasks awaiting your attention doesn’t exactly inspire you to jump out of bed in the morning and polish them off.

Or does it?

The bottom-up approach

Every To Do system I’ve ever come across approaches the problem by helping you to put systems in place to dig yourself out of the pit you find yourself in.

Yes, that can work, but it’s a thankless task and requires a huge investment of willpower to keep going, day after day.

I’m not denying the value of systems or willpower. Both are great assets to have. But this is a bottom-up approach that depletes your adrenals and doesn’t create much fulfilment. You get stuff done, but are left feeling at the end of your life, what was the point of all that?

The top-down approach

What if I told you there’s another way? A way that will show you how you to make every item on your To Do list something you’ll happily want to complete, rather than it being a chore?

When people first take my Fast Track Clutter Clearing online course, they don’t believe me when I tell them that they will soon look forward to clutter clearing as a treat. But the techniques I teach them do just that. Physical clutter clearing becomes a joy.

I do the same in my Zero Procrastination course, but with regard to mental clutter. It’s a matter of changing standpoint and a few other snags that hold people back. Your relationship with To Do lists will never be the same again.

Still procrastinating?

Are you ready to turn your life around or are you still thinking of waiting a while before taking the plunge? Take the procrastinating wombat part of you totally by surprise. The next course starts on September 5, and you can sign up for it here.

Related links
Testimonials from Zero Procrastination course participants
Testimonials from Fast Track Clutter Clearing course participants

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2017


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Perth, WA 6069, Australia

Tel: +61 (0)8 9297 6043
email: info@karenkingston.com
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