Poem of the Day, April 27: Confronting Clutter, Carolyn Koehnline

Confronting Your Clutter is a collection of essays, poems, and exercises designed to decrease shame, increase inspiration, and get you unstuck. This book gently invites you to take a closer look at clutter, prepare for change, gather support, get out of your own way, learn to let go, and find new ways to navigate time.

Carolyn Koehnline, M.A., is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in private practice. She has been offering psychotherapy and clutter assistance classes, and seminars since 1992. Carolyn teaches a wide variety of workshops through Whatcom Community College. She is also a Certified Journal to the Self Instructor and core faculty at the Therapeutic Writing Institute. She regularly offers private classes teaching dynamic journal techniques. She lives in Bellingham WA with her wife, Dominique.

Confronting Clutter

“Just get rid of it.”
That’s what the books all say.
They cheerfully pronounce it with such
pluck and confidence
it makes me think it
be easy.
After all, it’s just

be able to take a weekend,
focus in,
and deal with it once and for all.

But even to look is scary
when I’ve gotten so good at blinding myself to
postponed decisions, unfinished tasks,
objects skulking around with no real home.

My clutter is a container for
thoughts I don’t want to think and
feelings I don’t want to feel.

To show up, open my eyes,
and do what needs to be done
requires that I call upon my most
valiant, courageous, heroic self.

If you call this simple, you are setting me up for failure.
If you call this simple, you are belittling the dangers of this

I am willing to show up, look with open eyes,
and do what needs to be done,
but I am not willing
to pretend that it’s

-Carolyn Koehnline

(c) in the name of the poet or assigns. Used for educational purposes and for the promotion of the poet and personal growth  of the reader.

Journal Prompt:

  • Write about your relationship with clutter–whether “the stuff” is physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.
  • Write a poem expressing your desires and fears with regard to confronting clutter.
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