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The One To Zen Organizing Blog

Breathe in Calm, Breathe out Clutter

  • Writer's pictureJill Katz

Mantras: An Important Organizing Tool

“What is your mantra?” I ask my new client.

Let me back up a minute.


Mantras: An Important Organizing Tool


yoga, namaste, meditation, mindfulness
Namaste

As a mindful organizer, I recognize that I am meeting my clients for the first time when they are anxious. Many of my clients are overwhelmed by clutter and are going through some sort of life transition (new baby, new job, divorce, a death). In addition, I am a stranger coming into their home, their space. So when we first sit down to talk before we officially “begin” our session, I like to offer a breathing exercise to center them in preparation for our time together.



Mantras Are Personal

Before we take a relaxed seat and begin our breathing, I ask my client, “What is your mantra? What will ground you in times of stress and overwhelm.” And they tell me:


“I am going to take it one step at a time”
“I will get through this”
“I am doing the best that I can”
“Omna’ma Shiva’ya” (“I bow to the inner self”)
“I am bigger than this moment”
“This is just a season”



"I believe one of the best ways we can focus our mind and calm our overall state of being is by noticing our breath and it’s unique rhythm...If we add a mantra to the natural, repetitive rhythm of our breath, the experience can be liberating, empowering and soothing."

My Mantra History

As a child, I went through a period when I would faint any time a doctor drew blood or gave me a shot. I became very anxious that I would faint on a daily basis. I would get up too quickly, feel a little dizzy, and have a panic attack thinking “Oh no, I’m going to pass out.”


My Mother taught me to breathe and recite a mantra to calm myself down. I would make a fist and say “I am strong” and the word would translate into a reality. I am strong. I will not faint.

Making a fist
I Am Strong!

A New Session

Fast forward to today. I ask my client to come up with a mantra, or a word or phrase to use when they get anxious.


Then I sit with my client and we practice visualization and breathing for a few minutes as my client recites a mantra to him or herself. We open our eyes, look at one another with a sense of recognition and I say, “OK, now let’s begin…”


What Is Your Mantra?

Do you have a phrase or word that you utter in times of stress? I would love to hear your mantra and your mantra experiences.

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10 Comments


Julie Bestry
Julie Bestry
Jul 13, 2021

This is a lovely approach. Very often, clients are agitated at the start of a session; you can see them masking nervousness or fear with a push-through-it-drive. So, I always like to start them off sitting, reviewing the goals they referenced in our phone consultation, and if I can get them to do it, breathing. I live in the deep South, where sometimes "mantras," "meditation," and "mindfulness" are seen in a less-than-warm light, so I have to gently step up to the line. So, unless a client has shown a willingness/comfort in this area, I "rebrand" mantras as "slogans" for them. I love the mantras you've shared, and my absolute favorite is "This is just a season." It's reflected in…

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Jul 14, 2021
Replying to

Julie,

I agree that mantras, breathing - the whole shebang- is not for everyone. I always offer it and also review our goals at the beginning so that even if we are skipping the breathing, we have a nice slow"ramping up" to the actual organizing. I also love "This is just a season." I grew up with my mom uttering the Jewish version of this, which is, "This too shall pass."

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Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
Jul 12, 2021

What a beautiful and grounded way to begin your sessions with your clients. Focusing on the breath and accessing a mantra are powerful ways to center and prepare. I love the the last one you shared- "This is just a season." It speaks to the nature of how things come, go, and are for a short period of time.


As a meditator and yoga practitioner, I find the breath practice to be most helpful for calming, centering, and soothing. While I have used mantras during some of my practices, most often, they never feel quite right. Instead, if I focus on shifting attention and noticing sounds, movement, sensations, thoughts, breath, etc. it helps me to come back to a place…

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Jul 13, 2021
Replying to

Linda,

I also practice yoga! I agree with you about breath work. I always begin with breathing and then have my client add mantras and visualization after concentrating on breathing only. I don't have them say the mantra out loud either and I try to keep my own voice calm and to a minimum.

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lucy
Jul 12, 2021

Jill, my choir director shared an awesome mantra with us at the beginning of one season which I always share with new clients - he said solemnly, "Remember, there are no choral emergencies." A great way to remind us that nerves or not, no one was going to be hurt as a result of our performances! With organizing clients, I start the session off with another strategy I learned in choir - we start each rehearsal off with "Three breaths just for you." That means as fast or as slow as you like. I breathe along with my clients and my only guidance is that they probably want to err on the side of too deep than too shallow. Just…

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Jul 12, 2021
Replying to

Thank, Lucy, for sharing your mantra experience with me. I love the "Three breaths just for you." I am sure that makes your clients feel special and nurtured. I also breathe along with my clients since I find it centers me as well.

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sara
Jul 12, 2021

Surrender, Allow, Trust - comes from a guided meditation I've used off and on over the years. It serves well in a variety of situations. Great post!

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Jul 12, 2021
Replying to

That's a good one! It's short (the way I prefer them) but it really packs a punch.

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smqorgadm
Jul 12, 2021

I am a fan of mantras. They help me stay focused. So much so, I wrote a post about the mantra sayings I loved to use when decluttering. One of my favorite mantras is, "I LOOK BEYOND MY CLUTTER TO SEE THE POSSIBILITY OF A NEW LIFE." I shared the link below of my other 18 positive mantras, saying to keep me decluttering. Feel free to check them out. https://sabrinasorganizing.com/mantra-sayings-to-keep-on-the-decluttering-path/

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Jul 12, 2021
Replying to

Thanks for sharing! Those are some very inspiring positive phrases!

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