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Where women store the most garbage


I am going through this absolutely agonizingly delicious process, right now, of clearing out and reorganizing my office. (Impatient sigh.) Taking each book from the shelf, holding it in my hand, and deciding — do I want this thing? Will I read it again? Did I ever read it? Am I keeping it because it was a gift? Should I donate it? The whole process makes me lightheaded and queasy. I am working with an organizer, and it still smarts.

That is, until one shelf is done. And then another. And then, a whole mess of oxygen and space and light are freed up. Instead of feeling congested and pressed when I sit at my desk, I feel happy. And free. And when someone asks me for a book, I can race to the shelf and pick it up, knowing just where it is. Oh, what a feeling. No more agonizing over which pile it lives behind! I am like a gazelle when I reach for a book — no, more like a bird of prey, swooping down from a mountain, targeting my kill.

My poetry is back. I am myself again. And all I did was handle my own backlog of clutter and chaos. And I did it right on schedule. It is spring right now, after all.

Time for a little spring cleaning, anyone?

Clutter and chaos happen anywhere and everywhere in a human life.
Underwear drawers.
You name it.

But guess where we can create the most enormously ginormous backlog of garbage?

In our minds.Yah. Really. No kidding.

See, your mind is not a refrigerator. When you leave something in the fridge, and come back and get it the next day, it is still fresh and fabulous. Your mind is not like that.

If you have a communication you need to make, and you do not make it, it not only clogs up the works inside your head, but it begins to rot and fester and infect other thoughts.

When your husband forgot to pick up the dry cleaning for the 17,000th time, and you hold in your frustration, you add to the interior clutter. When your boss yells at you for no reason, and it is just not the right time to argue back or defend yourself, you toss more garbage on your inner heap. When you get stuck in traffic and miss the opening act of the concert, or burn dinner, or forget your laptop for an important presentation, you just keep stacking up heaps and heaps of garbage, inside your own mind.
Sometimes it can be historical garbage — like your first boyfriend broke your heart, so you bring your broken heart to every relationship. Sometimes it’s not even your garbage — you inherited your mom’s garbage about money because she was poor when she was a little kid.

And in our culture, we do not really get taught good ways of managing our garbage.
When people get too overloaded with unexpressed thoughts and feelings, we explode with anger. Or worse, we turn the anger in on ourselves.

But what if there was a way to do mental spring cleaning? Just like I did with my bookshelf? What if there was a way to dump all of that accumulated crap from years of unspoken communications — clean your own clock and fly free like a bird — just as I did, with my spring-cleaned office?

There is a special exercise that I teach, both in my book, Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, and in my seminars. It is one of the most popular and practical of all the tools in the great lexicon of the Womanly Arts toolbox. I would not start my day without it. If I don’t dump my crap, it could accumulate. And when it accumulates, my enjoyment of everything diminishes. Why? Well, think about it — you can’t enjoy, or even see, your clothes when they are jammed and stuffed in your closet. It is the same thing with your feelings. If you are stuffed with unprocessed, plugged-up emotions from a day before, or a lifetime before, you can’t contact your own private truth. And life gets decidedly less fun. You start making decisions out of fear, rather than joy. You do what other people want for you, because you can’t find your own voice. Your voice is so deeply buried underneath a lifetime of crap. You are reactive, not proactive. Frustration is your middle name. Confusion is your first name. And your last name is Bleh. There are options and solutions all around you, but you can’t see any of them.

Constipation of the soul is not a pleasant sensation. Especially for you — you who have so much promise; you who have so much potential; you who have a heart filled with gorgeous, raw desire. So I am going to give you the down-low on this little exercise, right here, right now, so you can do some spring cleaning that will lighten up every aspect of your surging, pounding, pulsing thoughts, and you can begin to really really fly in the direction of your deepest truth.

Here’s how it works. You can do this exercise alone or to a wall, but it is best done with a partner. You both first agree to keep what is said in the exercise confidential, so that you can be free in revealing your charge. Then, if you’re doing this exercise in person, sit facing each other, either at a café or some private place. You can also do this exercise over the phone. One of you asks the other the same question, over and over in an expressionless tone, for 10-15 minutes. The other answers. Then you switch. For example:

Person 1: What do you have on “desire”?
Person 2: I have no idea what I desire.
Person 1: Thank you. What do you have on “desire”?
Person 2: I remember when I was three, and I desired a ribbon for my hair and my mother criticized me.
Person 1: Thank you. What do you have on “desire”?
Person 2: I want a chocolate-covered pretzel right now.
Person 1: Thank you…

…And so on. Then you switch. The result of this practice is you, uncluttered. You, unplugged. You, unfettered. You, the gazelle. You, the swooping bird. You. Pure, wild, savage, wonderful, irreplaceable you.

Try this out exercise and report back in the comments below. And if you’d like to lighten another woman’s load today, please share this post.

With so much love and pleasure,
Mama Gena

P.S. Spring Mastery 2013 has sprung! If you weren’t able to join us this time around but would still like to keep up a daily practice in the Womanly Arts and a connection to the Sister Goddess community, check out our virtual playground,


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47 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Fonda April 5, 2013, 7:33 pm

    I did this exercise this morning with Sister Goddess Candas and the beast that awaited me within the process was familiar, powerful and totally pissed off. I sat with ‘her’, I observed ‘her’, Candas holds beautiful space and allowed and I just let it rip and be as ugly as she needed to get.
    No matter how uncomfortable or embarrassed I felt, I went after my freedom like a lioness protecting her cub. I beckoned, she rose up, as I sat, she dissipated, she is still unfolding 12 hours later, I will not rush her. I am grateful for grace, I am grateful for Candas and I am proud of my incredible courage.
    It is such an instantaneous process that I just did a SC on my husband, now if I had only done SC before my ‘conversation’ with him. Oh well, by the time I see him this evening, I am confident all is well.

  • Laura G. Jones | Link to Yourself April 4, 2013, 12:40 pm

    This is a great exercise. I’m going to put myself out there and make an open request for someone to join me for this exercise on my social networks. This is the perfect opportunity to put away my mask and just be with another open person. Thank you!

    • Lialia Iamaldinova May 23, 2013, 10:28 am

      Dear SG, I’d like to make this practice with you! I’m Russian, I leave in Paris

  • Karen April 2, 2013, 10:21 pm

    I Adorrrrrrreeeee Spring Cleaning! I can’t even think of not spring cleaning before spring comes, a fresh start, fresh scent, such openness, and abundance abounds, Joy and Opportunity skip into sight, and Desires begin to Overflow, Wings span and Life soars.
    Sigh–did I mention I Adore Spring Cleaning 😉

  • Heidi April 2, 2013, 10:04 pm

    What other words can also be used in this exercise in addition to “desire”?

  • SG Ti Sugarbitch April 2, 2013, 4:08 pm

    I SC at least twice a week, as a bare minimum. One of the most useful things (and the hardest to learn to give and receive) is asking the question and saying, “Thank you,” without adding in a tone of approval, surprise, compassion, etc. Creating that neutral but entirely accepting container is what gives this exercise so much of its power. Where else do we get to let it all out and know that the other person won’t steer our emotions or conversation one way or the other with her/his reactions? It’s amazing to have a clear space and it allows me to get to what I really think and feel. There’s always a moment, even in a 10-minute SC, where I hear something fly out of my mouth that I had no idea was in my head. Or when I’ll drop into my heart and find out I’m not mad at the driver who nearly ran me off the road; I’m terrified at how quickly my life could change if my sweetheart was run off the road. SCing is a cornerstone of my life and I can’t recommend it enough!

  • Shubha Flor April 2, 2013, 3:04 pm

    Mama! Spring cleaning is what has been the missing magical tool from my life! Before I used to be afraid to speak what I felt because I did not want to vibrate negative thoughts about others, I was afraid of some karmic backlash. I was also just plain flat out terrified to speak about what I really thought and felt. Yet, I realized that actually those toxic thoughts were fermenting in my being and draining my entire life force, and it was more harmful not to speak them. I have come to realize that spring cleaning is actually a sacred energy where we can extract the demon of those thoughts and release them to be transmutated into Beauty and Healing. It has revolutionary opened a sacred portal into liberation and is helping me penetrate the richest depths of my soul. It is the safest and most transparent sacred healing space I have ever encountered! It allows us sisters to be for Real and figure out what is really going on in our Yoni Universe. I also feel honored to be able to hold such sacred space for my fellow sisters. Spring cleaning is teaching me about the Power of Listening. For Listening is a Receptive Act and as women receptivity allow us to be open to all the Abundance and Blessings of the Divine. When we know how to receive for ourselves, then we can truly give to others with meaning.

  • S.G. little jo April 2, 2013, 2:01 pm

    On top of the inspiring post I love the pic! Mama You look so HOT in yr lacey stockings and I love as well the look in the eyes of the lady in the first rank with the striped T-shirt and a mini-skirt as well… I think this is announcing Spring much more than any swallow could, as we use to say in French 🙂

    Happy Eastern all my Sister Goddesses, and may we reach the stars for that’s what we’re made for…

  • T. L. Cooper April 2, 2013, 1:46 pm

    This post hit a nerve this morning… The past 12-18 months have felt like a big spring cleaning in my life. Physical baggage, emotional baggage, mental baggage, spiritual baggage has all been opened, sorted, discarded, resolved, and yet, apparently, some of it just got repacked in new boxes…
    I often opt to release my baggage through meditation and/or writing poetry, but sometimes I just don’t do as thorough a job as I think I’ve done…
    Still, I’m very proud of the work I have done to release my clutter and clear the chaos while allowing myself the glory of being imperfect!!

  • Grace April 2, 2013, 1:10 pm

    It became clear to me over a decade ago that my mind accumulated so much, so fast, and had so many images and associated feelings of unrest that I drove myself nuts! Fortunately I began self-inquiry, which spring cleaning fits into beautifully. It is now my profession to offer inquiry facilitation to people all over the world. Honestly, my work ultimately brings me to myself over and over, as I recognize the minds that come to work with me (they are just like my own but with different flavors). My primary form of inquiry is The Work of Byron Katie but simply answering questions, just like your wonderful one “what do you have on___?” is soooo powerful. It slows everything down. And creates a beautiful form of intimacy and freedom. A truly spiritual, ecstatic experience.
    Much love and thanks Mama Gena!

    • Hil April 2, 2013, 4:44 pm

      Byron Katie is definitely a Sister Goddess, even if she has never heard of Mama Gena!

  • angela holmes April 2, 2013, 12:39 pm

    I love this topic!
    I practice a form of Qi Gong healing that addresses how the mind actually hides garbage in sneaky places – specifically our belly organs. And as women, we have that lovely EXTRA luscious organ known as our womb to hold EVEN more garbage.

    In invite sister goddesses to practice the ancient form of Earth Qi Gong breath. It is so simple and it gives me GREAT pleasure when I do it!

    * Visualize that you are surrounded in golden light.
    *Breathe the light in through all your skin, especially your finger tips, toe tips and nostrils.
    * FILL UP with this golden light and REALLY let it come to the belly button (our ancient connection to the Divine Momma)
    *Exhale OUT through the mouth, visualizing the exhale as looking like smokey, icky exhaust. That is the garbage of all kinds.
    *Keep repeating process until you are ready to stop.
    (P.S. this works REALLY well for physical pain as well as grief)

    • Heidi April 2, 2013, 9:49 pm

      Wow Angela!
      Your comment about the womb resonated with me in an astonishing way!
      I’m 36 and have experienced amenhorrhea (my period just stopped) at the age of 30. My doctors haven’t figured it out yet, but I haven’t given up.
      Now this has me wondering if it’s ‘my garbage’ that has blocked my cycle.
      I will definitely start doing the Earth Qi Gong breath you mention, and look up more online about this type of healing.
      Love to eveyone here!

  • Sloopy212 April 2, 2013, 11:08 am

    I agree LuxLaurie- it’s why I use EFT tapping and a kickass technique of belief change that comes from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Both work fast, do the trick and don’t require someone else. But I gotta say that having cheerleaders on your side as in Mastery ain’t too shabby and is very very powerful….

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 11:39 am

      yes, there is nothing quite like the feeling of being witnessed by a sister goddess

  • Luxurious Laurie April 2, 2013, 10:37 am

    SCing works well for many, but not everyone. Dumping charge is important, though. I have always done it naturally… and a little differently…Abraham-Hicks calls the process “going general”. It can be done by yourself , and there are no awkward starts and stops to your train of thought, as there are with a partner interrupting you by asking “what do you have on…” every few moments, which I always found disruptive and irritating to me when I was trying to dump charge.

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 11:31 am

      thanks for sharing your process, laurie. anytime a woman makes a conscious decision to dump her charge in a healthy way, it’s a revolutionary act

    • S.G. little jo April 2, 2013, 3:10 pm

      and in which way would thinking about crap help you dumping it? This is totally opposite to the Law of Attraction which says not to put negative thoughts out there coz it brings more of it – it works on the positive side as well, of course…

      • Nish April 3, 2013, 6:12 pm

        If you don’t think about it, it stays… And attracts, without you knowing it. Think about it only to release it.

      • Nish April 3, 2013, 6:16 pm

        If you don’t think about it, it stays… And attracts, without you knowing it. Think about it only to release it.
        EFT works in much the same way. Instead of dealing with it over and over again in your mind, let it out. Don’t focus on it though, or make it into a mantra.just leave it at the curb. 🙂

  • Rosetta April 2, 2013, 10:17 am

    I first read about this in Mama Gena’s book, but I’ve always been confused about the process. What does “What do you have on . . .” mean? Does it mean, “What are you holding onto about . . .”? I’d really love to try this tool, but wish the question was in clearer language so I could understand exactly what Mama Gena is suggesting that we do : )

    • Luxurious Laurie April 2, 2013, 10:39 am

      Agreed. Perhaps my response below will make sense 🙂

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 11:23 am

      hey rosetta, “what do you have on…” is another way of asking “what comes to mind” on a particular topic, with the purpose of dumping intense emotions or charge, so you can stay connected to yourself and fully available to live your joy and pleasure right now.

    • S.G. little jo April 2, 2013, 3:04 pm

      glad you asked this one, I’m struggling as well…

  • Juli April 2, 2013, 9:39 am

    This is the type of Mama Gena blog I have been missing for quite a while now. This is a super-juicy, soul-stirring topic. I do daily Spring Cleaning in my journal. I try to set aside some uninterrupted time each day and just go to town. Some times I start writing with the discussion format you mentioned above (listing the alternating questions and responses), but most times I just vent and vent and vent. My stress levels and insomnia have improved in leaps and bounds. Thanks, Mama G!

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 11:05 am

      glad you enjoyed the post, juli!

  • Jeanie April 2, 2013, 8:47 am

    I started to noticed mind clutter when I’d have the same conversation with myself day after day. That prompted me into action to clear it! (Honestly I got bored of the repetitive talk). I’ve noticed I’ve started clearing book shelves, computer files, etc. Today I finally took my messy PC desktop and cleaned that sucker up. It’s amazing how good it feels!

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 10:31 am

      happy spring cleaning, jeanie!

  • Fiona April 2, 2013, 8:08 am

    How many others re getting the feeling that we are about to change in a big way.
    Clean up, re start and become more of who we are. Detox is such a great term that we can use for all areas of our lives, Food, Relationships, Environment, and what we will no longer accept.
    I deeply value and accept myself should be the mantra on everyone’s lips, but until we feel and experience what it is like to stand up for ourselves we have no idea how freeing it is…..
    Fiona…. The Body Renewer and Detox Diva

  • Fiona April 2, 2013, 8:02 am

    Oh yes the time is right indeed. This is a great time, I run detox and renew your body programs and love the fact that when you clean up one area of your life another becomes immediately available to clean up as well. I myself have stored a lot of CRAP inside despite my twice a year physical detox and cleanse programs in Spring and Autumn. But I have now opened up to the fact that I have not stood up for myself. I don’t answer back when someone is rude to me, I have absorbed it and harmonised and been a NICE girl, or when a partner has abused me with bad language and in appropriate black mail and actions, I have stayed calm, serene and harmonized. Well enough !! Just last week I learnt that I had the power to answer back and be insulting too if I had to be, this was with an ex partner. It was so freeing. I recommend it to everyone.
    Today as I was waiting for my car to be serviced. I was sitting in the waiting area, writing my next news letter and a man came in promptly turned up the volume on the TV and then started reading. Myself and another woman sat still and said nothing, then the volume was disturbing my concentration, so I said in French ( because I live in France and still struggle with the language, so there was another reason that I have not stood up for myself ) “Excuse me are you listening to that?” . “Yes” he said, so I replied: “Well I see that your reading so please turn it down”, and left it at that, He then turned it down. I was so proud of myself.
    At 48 I am now beginning to unload the crap that others are putting on me. No wonder I became a Detox Diva and teach others to detox. Now I can teach them to set their own boundaries in what we feel is acceptable behavior, and let go or the CRAP we have held on to physically and emotionally… Woo Hoo.
    Thanks Mama Gena for the Bragg opportunity… Fiona, in France.

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 10:30 am

      well bragged, fiona! did you catch my “nice girls” blog?

    • S.G. little jo April 2, 2013, 2:58 pm

      omg what you just wrote shows how heavily we women have been mistreated to end up being proud of daring ask a man to behave after having tried for decennies to bottled it up, pretending to stay ‘zen’ and swallowing the crap to be a ‘nice’ girl… Time for a good Pleasure Revolution I reckon! Courage, ma Soeur-Deesse, on y arrivera!

  • elide beltram April 2, 2013, 7:29 am

    In the spring I miss walking in nature and not smelling smoke coming from the fields. The unused twigs, branches and debris were burned in a pile….a symbol of our own debris. A famous Swiss poet wrote about spring :…
    .we burn things,
    un-needed things
    that the soul does not need
    where the ashes will create richness
    for the upcoming season “…..

  • KiKi L'Italien April 2, 2013, 7:29 am

    I must admit that I have been afraid of the exercise of Spring Cleaning – I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m afraid of what I might say…of what the truth might be. Maybe I have a problem with trusting someone else to hold space sacred for me. Maybe I’m just shy. Whatever the reason, the idea of it makes me uncomfortable. And yet, I know I need to do it at some point…that Spring Cleaning is a tool I should use. Thanks for the reminder on this tool – it might just be the thing to push me into action. As a Mastery Student, I’m on a journey to learn what I can and Spring Cleaning could be a tool that serves me well in this journey of self discovery and inquiry into pleasure.

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 10:26 am

      your timing is perfect and elegant, kiki, keep me posted…

    • Gypsy April 2, 2013, 11:18 am

      KiKi, I totally relate. I was so afraid to do it with another person at first so I did it with myself by typing it out. I actually typed out “Thank you. What have you got on ________?” each and every time. It worked well to get me going and to get me over the hump of fear that kept me from wanting to divulge my spring cleaning garbage to another soul.

      • Laura G. Jones | Link to Yourself April 4, 2013, 12:37 pm

        Gypsy, what a great idea! I unfortunately don’t have anyone to do this with at the moment, but I’m going to try it myself by typing it out first and then gather up my courage and put an open question out there for someone to skype with 🙂 thank you!

  • elide beltram April 2, 2013, 7:20 am

    One of the reason why I must live where there are four seasons is because my body changes and gets renewed when my metabolism chances naturally (the blood gets thinner in the spring etc). I come from the old world where the change of a season meant a humangous work for everybody. For the housewife it took weeks, she had to remove all the winter cloths and replace them for summer cloths because of the limited space, she had to remove heavy curtains that kept the home warmer for lighter curtains, she had to put the heavy feather quilt to storage for lighter bedding etc. Grandma was busy knitting shorter socks so that Billy could replace the knee woolen socks with shorter ones. In the barn, room was made for the newcomers, the baby calves… in the stable the same….farmer’s tools were cleaned, fixed, sharpened and oiled and stored away. All this busyness was celebrated with new lighter food, lighter wine, the windows now sparkling clean, open for fresh air and we could hear the arrival of the swallows. The radio would also fill the air with matching tunes, symphonies to remind us of the change.
    Spring cleaning was hated by kids but now I adore it. Let it be natural and above all be in touch with memories of your past during this emotional and natural trespass, let it sustain you so that spring cleaning is not just an act but a deep three dimensional endeavor that nourishes you for years to come.

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 10:24 am

      thank you for finding the romance in spring cleaning, elide

    • Laura G. Jones | Link to Yourself April 4, 2013, 12:35 pm

      Elide, how wonderful! This reminded me of my own childhood in Europe. I will most definitely go and spring clean this weekend 🙂

  • Delicious Diva Denis April 2, 2013, 7:15 am

    Mama Gena, what a wonderful tool. As a 2013 Mastery student I MUST brag that your numerous calls to declutter have transformed me . No it’s not just creating space. For me it has removed: negative binding belief systems, childhood preceptions that have been misconstruded and twisted, past precieved and recieved njury and insult, self degrading bullshit chatter of a lifetime, dirt and toxins, good intension of my parents that haveboxed me in unintentionally with THEIR baggage, anger and pent up negative emotions that I did not know resided within me.

    This one single tools has removes the tightly pack debris of past life and present life situations, beliefs and chatter to ALLOW MY DIAMOND BRIGHT SPIRIT TO SHINE BRIGHT.

    And trust me when I say that’s just a tiny aspect of MASTERY. It goes way way beyond my wildest imaginings. Spring Cleaning seems to be the constant practise that is the golden thread that seamlessly binds all of Mama Gena’s lessons and tools together.

    MUCH GRATITUDE for this endless practice of Spring Cleaning.

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 10:21 am

      go, denis! keep polishing that diamond spirit of yours with the womanly arts and tools

  • Deirdre Abrami April 2, 2013, 6:23 am

    Thank you for this inspirational push to de-clutter my office and stuff…as I was sitting in my office saying to myself, “when am I ever going to get to the filing and organizing done?” Your motivational email arrived at the perfect time to give me the push I truly needed!

    Thank you for being truly authentic and helping so many women like myself.

    Have an inspiring day!
    Sister Goddess Deirdre

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 10:15 am

      thanks deirdre, glad this found you in perfect timing

  • Erica April 2, 2013, 6:19 am

    I struggled with wrapping my mind around the process of spring cleaning. It was easy for me to clean out my office and panty drawer but when it came to cleaning out my mind, that was a different story. It wasn’t until my sisterfriend, Erika ( whose currently taking Mastery), started doing it during her Bootcamp experience that spring cleaning became real to me. Every Thursday evening, Erika and I spring clean and it’s amazing. There are physical and emotional benefits to Spring Cleaning that I could not fathom. For example, my skin is clearer, I sleep better, and I no longer get frustrated by other people’s clutter. If you struggle with Spring Cleaning, definitely enlist the help of a friend, because once you do it, you feel so emancipated and every woman deserves to feel free.

    • Mama Gena April 2, 2013, 10:10 am

      beautifully said, thank you erica!

    • S.G. little jo April 2, 2013, 2:12 pm

      wow I definetly should give it a go…