Cultivating Spaciousness / What I've Learned So Far

For the past month or so, I've been practising space clearing and it has made all the difference.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, during the second half of last year, I started to experience intense anxiety - a feeling that was new to me. As I sat with it and tried to decipher what it meant, where it was coming from and what to do next, I remember thinking this isn't normal and yet I know so many people who treat it as if it is.

In those moments of anxiety, the only thing I knew for sure is that I needed space. Not space to run away but space to process what I was thinking and feeling. I needed to push my boundaries a little further out.

When I signed up for Stephanie Bennett Vogt's course on space clearing, my mother was a little confused. You're a minimalist. Your life is one suitcase. What do you need to clear? And that's pretty much the response I get from most people I tell who know me.

But clutter isn't just stuff.

It can also be emotional and psychological clutter that prevents us from experiencing our more spacious selves.

What is space clearing?

The principles of space clearing are grounded in Buddhist and shamanic traditions, in which intention and mindfulness are used to release the underlying causes of 'clutter' for good.

These causes include our unique holding patterns, our resistance and our attachments.

Using the Japanese concept of Kaizen, throughout the course, Stephanie encourages a slow approach to space clearing in which small but steady steps are taken to encourage new habits that soften our attachments to things, beliefs and outcomes. She calls this the 'slow-drip' method.

This gentle approach to cultivating spaciousness is much more sustainable than treating our anxiety as a problem to be solved. Quick-fix solutions don't go deep enough to help us untangle the root causes.

What's helped me the most until now...

  • Learning to see emotions like weather.

There is one section of the course where Stephanie compares emotions to the weather. Like the weather, our emotions pass in and out of our lives and as long as we don't over-identify with them (or personalise other people's weather), it passes. A large part of my anxiety was caused by over-identifying with my emotions and other people's weather patterns. If someone in my family was unhappy, it was something I felt I had to fix or it was somehow my fault and I would choose to feel bad about it. Of course, we can't stop ourselves from feeling, but we can label the emotion for what it is - weather - and allow it to pass without attaching ourselves or anything else to it. Most of the time I have been doing this subconsciously so becoming mindful of it has helped me reduce my anxiety.

  • Embracing it as a way of life.

Space clearing isn't a one-time event or a solution to a problem. It's a way of life and a daily practice and what I've already noticed is that the more spacious my relationship with myself becomes, the more spacious my relationship is with others.

Useful Links

Stephanie Bennett Vogt's Website

Stephanie Bennett Vogt's Courses


A Year For You

Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are

A Year to Clear: A Daily Guide to Creating Spaciousness in Your Home and Heart

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