Do you want to know if I have a disorder?

Let me give you a hint: I love furry things. Whatever and I’d give it a home.

Breathing, blood circulation, furry babies.

Any fur baby would do, however my best friend is a dog.

In fact, it is clear to me that my life would not be complete without a dog, something I have had since I moved in alone at 19, many eons ago.

The moment I said “goodbye” to my childhood home and headed across the country to my new “adult” life, a dog was always by my side.

It started with Tinker, an adorable miniature Dobie. He went everywhere with me as my constant companion. Back then, it was a time of great loneliness, 3,000 miles from everything I knew: Tinker made sure I felt loved.

Over the years, I have had many furry and feathered loved ones.

A litter of Sheltie puppies at the same time I gave birth to my daughter. What was I thinking? A grumpy inseparable we thought was male, until he started laying eggs. A beautiful Burmese cat that we nickname “bitch from hell” because no person or animal dares to mess with her.

And, at one point, we had three cats, three dogs, and two rabbits.

Good thing I now live in a row house with just a deck, or I would also have a herd of goats roaming the backyard!

Oh, didn’t I mention my passion for goats?

But let me get to the point.

What does this have to do with your disorder? And, how does my “pet” disorder relate to the areas I may be experiencing?

My experience says a lot about why “animals” became my mess, what I collected, kept and wanted more, even when there were too many of them.

Even when it was inconvenient, expensive, and added stress to my already busy life.

I did not realize that I was filling a loneliness, a void. An emotional memory of that time in my life with Tinker, where I felt desperately alone, with no friends or family nearby.

The stage was set for years of trying to fill that void with more animals.

The awareness that this was my mess came to me more recently, when I began my journey towards minimalism.

A journey driven by the desire for a way of life that focuses on living with less: fewer things, obligations, debts, hustle and bustle. And fewer pets.

To get rid of all the superfluous things so that I can focus on what really matters!

And, although I have fewer pets than at any other time in my life, it doesn’t take away my constant yearning to fill my home, my heart, and my life with more of them.

But, now I know more, it doesn’t make me any happier. It does not make life easier.

It doesn’t fill that void.

Only disorder fills that void.

Could it be time for you to dive deeper into what’s behind your clutter? There is a reason you have it. A deeper reason that has filled the clutter: it prevents you from seeing the real truth behind it.

What do you need to order? What truth must you embrace to do it?

And in the meantime, when I see an adorable stray puppy or kitten in need of a home …

I take a deep breath and say …

“Om, Joan … Om”.

Aspire. Exhale. Let it roll.

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