How to Clear Our Souls

“When we throw out the physical clutter, we clear our minds. When we throw out the mental clutter, we clear our souls.” –Gail Blanke from “Throw Out Fifty Things”.

Gail Blanke explains how we tell ourselves we’re not good enough, how we compare ourselves to others and come up feeling short.She gives us personal examples of her life. An example from my life is this.

Since I read that article in the NY Times Book Review “Memoir” about how the genre of memoirs is so bloated that it “just has to stop”, I have felt inadequate. I’ve thought the project of writing my memoir was something I could carry out until I read that article. Plus, I feel that if I do write my memoir it will get lost in the thousands of others. And if someone does pick it up to read they wouldn’t learn anything from my life.

The article underlined all my doubts. It said loud and clear what I’ve worried about all along. In my post of “3 Memoirs not worth reading and one OK” readers encouraged me. You gave me hope and reasons to write mine. If the writing was superb, I should go ahead, you said. Course I don’t know if I can write superb. I only have one essay published and one children’s book that a publishing house is looking at. That’s not a  lot to build confidence on.

To throw away that piece of mental clutter I’ll have to re-negotiate with myself.

I have tons of journals. A file cabinet full in fact. I want to make that private writing public. I want to summarize those life lessons for myself if for no one else. I’m going to write my memoir for myself.  My reasons will be that I’m trying to make sense of my life. And that will bring me joy and clarity. I will grow from the writing of it.

Gail Planke wants me to affirm everyday. “I will not compare myself with others, nor them with me. I will appreciate my self and others for what I and they contribute.”

Gail Planke’s steps to help one get rid of “needless negative comparisons and dump debilitating feelings of inadequacy” are:

—Let go of the old adage “No one’s indispensable”. Everyone counts. Whatever you can contribute is valuable. Give what you can every chance you get.

— Let go of thinking that you need to know about or be good at everything. Celebrate what you do know.

— Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that to make a big difference you have to make it to the big time.

— Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s childish and pointless. You can be you and let others be whomever and whatever they are…

So I say the affirmation and have thrown out that piece of mental clutter and cleared my soul.

Do you compare yourself to others? How?

Do you have mental clutter you could throw out? What is it?

For further reading go to

http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/Simplify-Simplify-Simplify

http://Suzicate.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/-cleaning-out-the-closets-of-life/

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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12 Responses to How to Clear Our Souls

  1. nrhatch says:

    You have the right idea . . .

    “I have tons of journals. A file cabinet full in fact. I want to make that private writing public. I want to summarize those life lessons for myself if for no one else. I’m going to write my memoir for myself. My reasons will be that I’m trying to make sense of my life. And that will bring me joy and clarity. I will grow from the writing of it.”

    Write it for the joy of writing it and the clarity you gain. When you are enjoying the journey, you win. No matter what happens, you win.

    One quick fix needed: Let go of the old adage “No one’s dispensable”. Everyone counts. Whatever you can contribute is valuable. Give what you can every chance you get. ~ “No one’s indispensable”?

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  2. suzicate says:

    I have been struggling with something I want to write because I was told by a publisher at a writers conference that experience alone did not give me credential to write something like that…unless I had a ph.D in the subject or was a celebrity like Oprah that a publishing company would not risk investing in a “nobody” for sales. I ditched my book. However, I think my subject is worthy, so I am rethinking it with another approach. Have you ever read Walking In This World by Julia Cameron. I have, but failed to do the artists dates etc. I got an email from a blog that is going to do this course online, and I’m thinking about participating. I think that just commiting to three pages a day will give me accountability. Here’s the link if you are interested. http://www.journalingsaves.com/?awt_l=CXhZU&awt_m=JnXxBqaaTYa3Ip

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    • Good for you for going ahead with a project others have told you was not good enough. I looked at the link and am real excited about the prospect of that online course in journaling. I love Julia Cameron and am looking forward to the course. I hope you do it, too.

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  3. suzicate says:

    I meant to tell you thanks for the shout out but got so carried away I forgot!

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  4. pattyabr says:

    When I didn’t work full time I was more true to myself and care for my soul. But the world can take you on a ride and you forget who you are with all the demands of work, children’s needs, school demands, spouse’s needs, and on and on. It takes a lot of work and can be exhausting to keep your soul clean.

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    • It sounds like you are overwhelmed with all your responsibilities. More than ever, now is the time for balance. You need to spend some time on yourself or else you will burn out. Try to take a hot bath, go for a walk, or journal for awhile. You don’t have to do it in ‘trying to clear your soul” but it will mean a lot to your life just to find some balance.
      Thanks for visiting.

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  5. The person I most compare myself to is the woman I used to be. Extremely shy and introverted I rarely left my home. When I did I avoided looking anyone in the eye. A combination of people and events in my life had convinced me the world judged me and found me wanting, that any dreams I had were ridiculous.

    I look back at her now and love her for the inner strength she showed in getting through that and growing into who she is today. I still hear her voice on occasion, most recently when I began to doubt that my children’s book will appeal to anyone.

    The difference between Bobbi then and Bobbi now is I faced the fear and got to work on overcoming it. I guess I threw out some more mental clutter. I hope you do the same and write what speaks to you.

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  6. jannatwrites says:

    I’m glad you’re going to write the memoir for yourself – I think it will be a satisfying journey for you. I compare myself to others all the time without even thinking, and I’m usually not on the favorable end of the comparison.

    An example is my blog. I’d see that so-and-so had been blogging about the same length of time as me, but had three times as many ‘hits’ – so I came to the conclusion that my blog wasn’t as good. I adjusted my thinking and reminded myself that I wasn’t in a competition. I came back to the joy of writing and remain thankful for those that regularly visit and are moved enough to comment.

    Good luck on your memoir 🙂

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  7. clarbojahn says:

    Thank you for your comment, Janna, if it makes any difference it speaks to me right where I live. You have a way about you and your writing reflects this that speaks to our souls. I’m glad you’re able to ‘trash’ those negative comparisons about your writing cause I think your writing is stellar. Thanks for the encouragement on my memoir.

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