by: Jamie Rautenberg
Like most New Yorkers, I’ve moved about once a year for the past 12 years. And with each move, I’ve been consistently astounded by how much stuff I accumulate and how it all manages to fit into 600 square feet with minimal closet space.
But, as I prepare for arguably the biggest move of my life, I realize that none of this crap ever really fit in the first place.
I’ve basically been lugging old items & past memories with me from one place to the other in a desperate attempt to create a feeling of home, without any regard for how my attachment to this stuff was affecting my health.
It wasn’t until I was bedridden and literally had to sit with everything all day that I could actually see my cluttered past surrounding me, just as it occupied the real estate in my mind keeping me from the here & now.
My home was a perfect reflection of the toxicity I felt within my body & mind.
Once I realized this, I took action immediately.
I called this initial period “The Toxic Dump”, where I replaced all toxic products right down to the clean linen-scented candles I loved so much, with natural alternatives.
Slowly, but surely, my living space got cleaner, but my body & mind had some catching up to do.
So, I went deeper and asked myself what items held toxic memories?
Then it hit me: I’ve been sleeping next to a stack of old journals in my nightstand drawer for years. These journals were my attempt to quietly make sense of the inner chaos that followed me since middle school. I used to look at them as a reminder of how far I’ve come, but the truth is that they all contained the same patterns of depressed thinking that got me in the boat I’m currently in.
In order to separate myself from that girl, I had to let her stories go.
When I got over the initial sting of tossing years of my deepest darkest feelings into the trash, along with the rest of the toxicity, I felt my first taste of freedom.
Once she was gone, I could finally start seeing me, as I am now.
After that I became I decluttering machine. If it wasn’t serving me, I dumped it, no questions asked.
As long as I continued taking inspired action, life continued gifting me with more clarity & awareness about the world around & within me.
And that’s when I knew I had to take a serious look outside my window at how this city, with its symphony of sirens, honking, & construction affects me.
The energy of New York City is quite intoxicating in every sense of the word. It filled me with excitement for years as I attempted to accomplish my goals alongside all the other ambitious New Yorkers. I received an education I never expected and will forever be grateful for every single experience.
However, I noticed the more I focused on healing, the more my energy changed and it just wasn’t a match to New York’s intense vibe. In fact, we were downright clashing. Every time I left the house, the sounds of the city sent my central nervous system into overload and seizures became a regular occurrence.
At first I tried to adjust my schedule to minimize the city’s impact on my body. I stayed local whenever possible to avoid the subway crowds, set appointments during off hours & listened to meditation music on noise canceling earbuds while I traveled. I retreated to Central Park & the Hudson River daily to connect with the beauty I love so much.
And still, my body kept speaking with symptoms. I simply couldn’t keep pace.
I had to explore the one possibility I never considered. Instead of fighting so hard to keep pace with the world around me, I knew I had to let go of the place I once felt at home, in order to find the place that is home.
For me, home is where the healing is. It’s where everything flows in harmony.
The symbiotic relationship that ideally exists between a person & their environment simply isn’t here in New York City anymore.
It’s time to let go of the familiar comfort of these tall buildings holding me in & move onto the expansive landscape of California, a place that’s been calling me for years.
I have no idea what’s to come, but I have certain faith that as long as I continue healing, I am home.
Take some inventory of your surroundings. What in your environment is not serving you & what’s one thing you can do to transform it?