98: Purifying Our Living Spaces with Michael Spencer

“It’s really about approaching ourselves with love and compassion and approaching the stuff with love and compassion. It’s not the enemy. There’s nothing wrong with the stuff, it’s just getting real with ourselves and going ‘Do I want to keep carrying this? Is it time?’”  In a culture that simultaneously prioritizes materialism and organization, our accumulated belongings can become unmanageable.   As she confronted stagnant energy in the form of her own clutter, Michael Spencer unearthed a new, soulful approach to the flourishing minimalism movement. Using her background as a mental health counselor, Michael developed and founded Let’s Purify, an online service dedicated to purifying our living spaces, personal energy, and the planet. Let’s Purify helps people release attachment to accumulated belongings and experience greater freedom.    In this podcast, Dr. Viado and Michael Spencer discuss: 
  • The five components of home energy purification  
  • The difference between “purging” and energy purification 
  • Confronting sentimental objects and objects we feel we should be sentimental about  
  • Getting honest with ourselves about attachments to our objects  
Time Stamps:   3:40 – What is home energy purification?  10:53 – Reframing how we view our accumulated belongings   17:15 – The neuroscience of mindfulness during this process  21:38 – How did Michael develop the idea of of home purification?   26:10 – Confronting objects with conflicted attachments  28:03 – Navigating home purification in shared spaces  31:05 – Transforming sentimental objects   34:41 – About Let’s Purify, Michael Spencer’s podcast   36:20 – Home purification during the holiday season    Quotes:  3:50 “Home energy purification…what I consider to be a spiritual practice because it’s a very intuitive, felt sense experience of getting to really understand our attachments to our accumulated belongings, why it’s challenging to let them go and just having a sense of how we feel in our spaces and around our things…knowing where we’re heading is really important to help people to stay connected and not just close those doors and say ‘Forget it, I’m not doing.’ The next area is grounding a mindfulness, so bringing our mindfulness skills, maybe a little guided meditation into this experience because a lot of times the reason that we avoid these spaces are because it does bring up a lot of strong emotions. It may just be sheer overwhelm because of the volume of stuff that has accumulated. It can also be shame or embarrassment about having, some folks it’s really challenging knowing that behind this door whether it’s a guest bedroom or closet or a different storage space, there’s a big mess. And you know, the rest of their life may look organized so it’s about the shadow work and I really like to encourage people to use their grounding skills and I teach them if they feel like they don’t have them already, to be able to stay put. To be able to breathe into the body and to be able to handle the emotions as they come in those waves so that they can actually move through decluttering, sorting through, letting go so that’s a really big piece of it, it’s helping people stay present for the process.”     9:20 “This work can be kind of daring, you know, we’re going into these dark places of avoidance and denial, a lot of times…I’ve talked with people where it’s been two decades, three decades since they’ve faced this stuff. Maybe they had a life event and there are objects associated with that event that went down to the corner of the basement and that’s where they’ve been and what I think is important for us to recognize is that just because that’s hidden away in the basement, doesn’t mean it’s not present in our energy fields and so we are carrying that whether we’re conscious or not.”    10:53 “It’s really about approaching ourselves with love and compassion and approaching the stuff with love and compassion. It’s not the enemy. There’s nothing wrong with the stuff, it’s just getting real with ourselves and going ‘Do I want to keep carrying this? Is it time?’ So it does get to be a very gentle process that is done at whatever rate is good for a person.”     13:52 “If someone says ‘I can’t even go into this room without feeling overwhelmed because there’s so much stuff or because of the emotions,’ I might suggest…a whole process of just knocking on the door so that changes the vibrations of the room itself because of the sound vibrations that happen and it’s also sending a message to the subconscious like ‘Okay, I’m going to be coming in there soon’ so maybe you knock on the door for three days just to bring awareness, bring presence and you’re doing something.”    19:45 “It’s so easy to go ‘Oh I don’t know what to do with that’…and so those are things that can cause us to just stop and I feel like, the more prepared we are, the easier it is to address the deeper mental, emotional, spiritual aspects that go along with this so we don’t give ourselves those outs.”  23:02 “The more clear I was becoming in my physical experience, in my body, and in my emotions, I started looking around my home space and noticing where some stagnant energy had accumulated in the form of accumulated belongings that I had just kind of been dragging around with me somewhat unconsciously…I was tired of that process and tired of not being able to address whatever it was in these boxes and I quite spontaneously had this inspiration to do it differently. I’ve done a lot of mindfulness work and meditation both in my counseling practice…and in my own personal life…and it was something about like ‘Why don’t I bring some of those skills to this?’”  31:05 “It can be really interesting to come across something that we have a sentimental connection with that we don’t necessarily want sitting in a box anymore if we recognize ‘Oh, I’ve got this connection,’ so I guess there are two things. One: If there’s something sentimental that you don’t feel ambivalent about, it’s like ‘This is sentimental and I want to keep it,’ then my gosh, keep it, celebrate it and can it be and does the person want it to be transformed into something. I mean, a classic example is like ‘Oh, I’ve got all these old concert t-shirts.’ Do you pay someone or do you do yourself to make those into a quilt or a tapestry? So they can be celebrated and not just moldering away in a bag in the attic or in the back of a drawer. So getting creative about these things that we have a sentimental attachment to so that maybe they can be honored in some way in the home and they can be seen and explored…It’s also okay to still keep things. It’s okay to say ‘I have a sentimental attachment to this, I don’t want to transform it into art for my home, I just want it to be in the attic.’ Great! And so it is. You can do that. This is a very empowering process where you can choose what you want to do with your stuff.”