As I mentioned in last week’s blog on Clutter Meets the Enneagram #1 energy, I invited you to set aside your identified core type and just see if you recognize any of these issues around clutter in yourself and, of course, in others that you know. If you don’t know the Enneagram YET, I am also using The Chinese Five Elements as a referencing point, so you can just learn from that which is very knowable and not so compartmentalized into type. Each Enneagram sensibility has to work on balance in all five of the Five Elements.
If you missed last week’s blog, I will do a very brief explanation of Five Elements. If you are reading this on my site just scroll down to past blogs. If you are seeing this essay elsewhere, go to my blog, Dive Deep Fly High https://ruthienergy.com/why-the-clutter-1/ to read bout the Number One.
I love the Chinese Five Element Theory, which is the basis of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Nature holds the key. The seasons, the elements, human emotions, and every part of the human body are revealing themselves symbiotically. The ancient Chinese sages knew the value of recognizing this and identifying the excesses and deficiencies as these layers of reality relate to each other. Nature and human nature come together into one whole interconnected circle of existence.
As we move from our exploration of Enneagram type One to type Two, we move into matters of the heart. Since I am a core type Two, this post will be very personal. Working with type Twos as a therapist and coach for over two decades, I have found that many concerns around clutter, emotionally and physically, arise in our work together.
If one of the primary motivations of a Two is to love and be loved, we often hold onto thoughts and feelings related to this preoccupation. Messy mind, cluttered with ruminations about whether we are liked or not liked, did something wrong relationally, deflect onto people who we feel wronged us, or obsess about how we are perceived in general, can all feel as chaotic to us as any cluttered environment. This is the environment within.
Remember about excesses and deficiencies in The Five Elements. And remember that clutter manifests in our minds and hearts as well as our physical world.
The season of Harvest Time (late summer, just before Autumn) which is the Earth element, is associated with rumination. The Earth element is about nourishing ourselves and feeling nourished; that is what the great Mother Earth provides for us. If we haven’t done good self-care – like resting, meditating, creating, and processing our feelings with a therapist or friend and getting clean – the earth element will be in excess or it will be deficient. We may then become depressed, overwhelmed or angry, our emotions shut down or exaggerated. We become out of balance.
Here is an example of this in myself. If my outer world is messy, not aesthetically pleasing, and disorganized, I feel that messiness amplified within me. It triggers all the ways I feel “unclean” and “ugly” within myself. I may go a little nuts if the people I am living with actually like clutter or are at least comfortable with it. The Two in me tends to over-accommodate around those I am in relationship with, until I eventually exhibit some resentment or blow up around my over-adaptation. I may become a martyr, always cleaning up after others, secretly upset. I may just sit in the mess, fuming within, because I think that’s how I need to love, by just tolerating.
Remember, it is all about balance.
Another way that clutter can manifest in the Two world view is through an imbalance in the Metal/Air element, the season of Autumn. This element is about holding on and letting go, hoarding or giving away. The trees let go of their leaves with ease at just the right time, knowing there will be more new growth to come. They do not have a view of scarcity.
What are things the Two energy might want to cling to? Or conversely, what kinds of things may Twos let go of too easily?
Once again, I will speak for myself and the clients that I have worked with over these many years definitely inform this exploration, as well. When out of balance, I can let go of my dreams too easily and get distracted by the dreams of others and how to help them manifest those desires. The opposite of clutter is emptiness; they are two sides to the same coin. I can let go of things I want very quickly just to witness others around me feeling pleased. That is lovely sometimes, as long as the sacrifice does not bring forth future resentment in myself. I am much better about expressing my desires directly and have grown into much more balance in this arena.
The other side of this coin is physical clutter. What do I hold onto in the physical world way too long?
I hold onto things that affirm my sense of worth. I have a cabinet filled with letters of appreciation and gratitude. Occasionally when I am feeling down, I will open the cabinet and read a few. Maybe they bring tears to my eyes.
When I was working on learning to receive graciously, the Universe tested me and I have such an abundance of gifts from so many; my home is full of meaningful art and presents. There are people who come to my home and feel the love that I feel by displaying these gifts. And there are others who feel my home has too much stuff. It is very hard for me to let go of a gift that was given to me out of love, a gift that sees me.
When I developed my Four energy in order to balance my Two-ishness, I dove into my creativity and made lots of art, and allowed myself to let it be exhibited. This makes my inner little girl Two very happy!! To some this might seem like clutter or clinging. But when kids come to my home, they are delighted with all the things to look at and touch. Clutter is in the eyes of the beholder.
There comes a time, when I am ready to let go of memorabilia and things and I purge. I hold onto lots of old photographs for example and little by little I am letting those go.
Twice a year I go through my clothes, and the generous Two in me wants to give lots away to charity. Clothes do not hold a nostalgia for me unless given to me by someone I love dearly. I also will go through my files from years of teaching and send the old learning content to the recycling bin. I am onto something else now, so why hold on? This has become even more frequent with computers storing my content. And as I have grown to humbly accept my competence, I don’t need to “hold on” reminding myself how “great” I was or am. That knowledge has been internalized in a balanced way.
And last I saved many of the video tapes that I had from the twenty plus years as a working actor. Below is a link to them that I recently edited to honor that part of myself. All those dusty old tapes have been trashed, thank goodness!!
It is a relief to bring my Earth and Metal/Air elements into balance and to discern what is clutter that is fixated on my secret lack of self-worth or is a form of compensating, and what is just good ole self-love. No matter what your Enneagram number, reflect on whether any of these things resonate with you and how to bring your own clutter issues into balance by acknowledging the underlying reasons to “hold on.”
I am glad I held onto these videos, clutter or not.