Here is the September 2018 edition of my Confronting Clutter newsletter. It's a look at how pretending is a skill that can be used intentionally by adults to find their way to new skills and behaviors.
This Month's Topic:
Mindful Pretending
"Mindful Pretending," © Carolyn Koehnline 2018
"Mindful Pretending," © Carolyn Koehnline 2018
The process of clearing your clutter requires some qualities—courage, persistence, and self-compassion—and some skills—the ability to make choices and to release what no longer fits or supports you.

If you feel you're lacking in any of these areas, I invite you to engage in some Mindful Pretending. I’m not talking about cheating or pathological lying. I’m talking about using your imagination as a tool to grow yourself. Sometimes pretending, combined with awareness and positive intention, can help clear away limiting beliefs that have become clutter for you. It can help you towards a fuller expression of your truest self.

Children are experts at pretending. It’s an effective way for them to try on roles and possibilities and to experiment with new personas and behaviors. In the imaginary worlds they create, as astronauts, Olympic skaters, and horses, they act bigger and braver than they are. It helps them to grow into themselves.

Adults do the same thing. As a young woman, whenever I encountered a situation that required being assertive, I borrowed the voice of my straight-forward, courageous older sister. Each time I got a new job, I acted the part of someone who knew what she was doing. And recently, when faced with the challenge of writing a book, I practiced acting like a dedicated writer until I started genuinely feeling like one.

Each time, I felt a little sheepish about “faking it.” But each time, that process allowed me to navigate, and sometimes even master what, at first, felt daunting.

There are many journal-writing processes that can give you practice in effective, Mindful Pretending. Here's one that takes about ten minutes.

Borrowing Competence:
  1. Think about one aspect of clutter-clearing, organization, or time management that is especially daunting for you.
  2. Make a list of people you know, have seen, read about, or imagined, who would be able to handle that challenge with ease.
  3. Circle one whose style appeals to you. Then imagine that you are getting an infusion of that person's skills and energy in exactly the right dose to help you meet your challenge. You are still you, but with some additional ingredients.
  4. Spend five minutes writing a description of what it feels like to successfully address what was once so challenging. If you like you can use this entrance meditation to guide you into the writing.Then read over what you wrote and write a quick statement about what you notice.
This month, on Monday evening, September 24th, I'll be offering a small group workshop called Mindful Pretending: A Journal-Writing Workshop. It's full, but let me know if you'd like to be on the waiting list. I'm also re-opening registration for my guided, self-paced online class, A Gentle Approach to Clearing Clutter. And stay tuned for news on my upcoming book, Clearing Clutter as a Sacred Act. At the very end of this newsletter I share one little poem from the book.

Sending you gentle support,

PS: Interested in reading past Confronting Clutter newsletters? They're listed here.


Mindful Pretending: A Journal-Writing Workshop

Monday, September 24, 7-9 PM, at the Natural Health Clinic in Bellingham. FULL! Let me know if you want to be on the waiting list.

Imagination isn't just about escape fantasies. Pretending isn't just for kids. Writing processes can provide doorways into the imaginal world to bring helpful information with practical applications. When you write letters to and from objects, dialogue with people you've never met, or describe something that is yet to occur, you may be concerned that you're "just making it up." You're really using a highly effective and under-used resource. Your imagination. In this small-group workshop we'll try out several versatile, accessible, journal-writing processes to explore this fertile territory.


Clutter Coaching

My coaching practice is informed by my 25 years as a psychotherapist and clutter consultant and my training and experience as a Certified Journal Therapist. It emphasizes what is emerging— navigating transitions, and helping you access your own answers. I coach by phone, Skype, through writing, or at my office in Bellingham, WA. I also coach through the self-paced course described below. You may choose to do a one-time consultation, or connect weekly, every-other-week, or monthly for a few months. For those potentially seeking ongoing coaching for a stretch of time I offer a free, 20-minute consultation to determine whether my approach will be a good fit for you. If you'd like to set that up or have questions, please reply to this email.

Registration is open for

A Gentle Approach to Clearing Clutter 
  • A Self-paced Online Course including personal written interactions with me throughout the process.
  • A guided progression of concepts and practices, which you can begin when you are ready.
  • An opportunity to practice new strategies in your own time and space.
  • Writing processes to help you integrate new ways of thinking, perceiving, and interacting with your time, energy, resources, home and belongings.
  • A combination of privacy and connection, structure and flexibility.
  • Freedom to move at your own pace.

This is the solo version of the course. You can also opt to take it with a friend. If you have a small group who would like to travel through the material together, that's an option too. And you can do that whether you all live in the same city or all over the world.

For details and registration, click here, or reply to this email. 


My Upcoming Book:

Clearing Clutter as a Sacred Act 

This is a collection of Essays, Poems, Prompts and Practices. Here's a very brief poem from the book called, When You Feel Incompetent.


Copyright © 2018 Carolyn Koehnline. All rights reserved.
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