I had a request from one of my blog subscribers, which is a rare and wonderful thing. Carol asked me if I knew of any writing on the topic of clutter and the Enneagram sensibilities. Since I didn’t, it became clear to me that this would be my next series of blogs. Thank you, Carol, for the inspiration.
Whether you know the Enneagram or not, see if you can mine some gold about yourself in this exploration. When we think of clutter, we might imagine too many things scattered about in a disorganized way. We might imagine chaos, messiness, over-accumulating or confusion.
Since I love the Chinese Five Element Theory, (which is the basis of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine) the seasons, the elements, human emotions, and every part of the human body are in a constant collaboration with each other. Nature holds the key. The ancient Chinese sages knew the value of recognizing this and identifying the excesses and deficiencies, the energetic balances and imbalances of the human being as they relate to the contextual world that we live in. Their principles embraced Nature and human nature into one whole interconnected circle of existence. My new book, My Musings, which will be released this month, has a backdrop of the Five Elements.
One season and element we might associate with clutter would be the Autumn and Metal/Air. In the Autumn the trees let go of their leaves in order to make space for new growth in the Spring. The tree does not cling or hoard. It is in balance and knows when to hold on and when to let go. Yes, the leaves do make a messy clutter in our gardens and require us to finish the process of cleaning up after them. The same principle is true around the air we breathe. We breathe in just enough oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. If we stockpile oxygen and hold our breath we cannot live. Metal/Air element does not only refer to amassing things by not letting go; it can also be about emotions, holding grudges and holding onto feelings in the form of disappointment and grief.
Another season and element that could inform our exploration of clutter would be the Spring or Wood element. This element is about organizing. When in balance the plants germinate and reorganize themselves during the Winter in order to be ready to push themselves up through the soil in the Springtime. The Wood element is about the emotion of anger which can come from a rigidity, (resulting in over-organizing) or too much flexibility (indecisiveness around what to keep and what to discard.)
Since all of us know some aspects of each Enneagram style within ourselves, (the Enneagram being a dynamic and inclusive model) I would like each of us to not over-identify with our type right now, and rather see what resonates with us about each number and their particular relationship to clutter, in this case, the number One.
If an underlying motivation for the #1 is to be perfect and create a perfect world, one might think that the One energy would insist on a clean well-organized environment. Sometimes that’s true. I knew a One whose home was sparse, impeccable and completely uncluttered. It had no color, only black and white. This is an interesting metaphor as sometimes the One sensibility sees issues in black and white, right and wrong. This home had black and white furniture, art, appliances and kitchen accessories. There was nothing superfluous, “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
AND remember deficiencies and excesses.
Sometimes it is hard for a One to choose the perfect bookcase or organizing container. So, things may lie about in wait, piled high, for their perfect home. Other Ones might have a hard time deciding what they need and don’t need because you never know if this “thing” would be just perfect someday for something, so it’s best to hold onto it. Some Ones, especially Ones with a dominant Two (the hearty lover) wing might be nostalgic and hold onto things as they recall perfect and idealized times. And I know Ones who live in completely organized chaos/clutter, with hardly a way to move because of the quantity of objects, yet they have pristine labels on every single shelf, drawer and container. And there are still other Ones who have such a high standard that they get overwhelmed trying to make everything perfect and just collapse from their own expectations.
Do any of these manifestations of clutter seem familiar to you?
Go back to the seasons and elements. Are you angry or indecisive regarding your clutter? Do you have a hard time letting go, or do you let go of too much? Think of this approach to clutter in the realms of your head, (thoughts) heart, (feelings) and body (physical world.) Next week we will dive into the #2 and its relationship to clutter.
And along those lines…
I am excited to announce that I will be the featured group presenter for a fabulous Wellness Day Live Event, CALM in the CHAOS, on September 12, in the Chicagoland area. My Experiential Presentation will introduce the Enneagram as it helps us understand ourselves and our own relationship to CALM and to CHAOS. How do our Enneagram sensibilities affect how we deal with chaos emotionally, physically, and philosophically? This event supports non-profit, women-focused charitable organizations. More details to come. Sign up NOW before space runs out!!! Here’s the link: https://elevatemke.com/elevate/calm/ Use my discount code and get 20% off your ticket. RUTHIE20