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Jul 09, 2024 | Podcast

The Magic & Science of Decluttering with Rebecca Jo-Rushdy

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About the episode:

Growing up in a Bed & Breakfast, I’ve always had an appreciation for a neat and organized space. It’s one of the reasons why I’m so excited about my conversation with Rebecca Jo-Rushdy, a KonMari® consultant who guides sensitive souls on transformational journeys by decluttering their homes, hearts, and minds into sanctuaries that spark joy and flow. As a fellow empath, Rebecca understands that the practice of decluttering your home is not about just freeing up the physical space. It’s also an emotional experience woven with our cherished memories, relationships with our loved ones, and our own evolutions as human beings. From cultivating awareness to setting goals that don’t upset your nervous system, you will walk away from this episode with newfound clarity and wisdom on creating a mindful environment that sets you up for success. 


Topics discussed:

  • Decluttering 101 and how creating a mindful home environment can help you become the best version of yourself as an empath 
  • Conscious consumption: how to stop feeding into the scarcity mindset and start spending in a way that truly brings you joy 
  • Navigating different phases of life, such as welcoming a new baby or moving, without overspending on things you don’t *actually* need
  • The art of intentionality and how to sort through sentimental possessions, especially as a highly sensitive person 
  • How to start decluttering your space without overwhelming your nervous system


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood  00:19

Hi, how are you there? I’m good. I’m sorry. I’m a couple minutes late. I was just, oh, grounded.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  00:27

Let me just rename myself as well. I did not realize, here we go. We’re all set.


Catherine A. Wood  00:33

How are you feeling, Kat, I am, I’m feeling, I’m feeling well, I’m a little stuffy, which I don’t, I don’t get sick, but I am, you know, it’s so funny. I’ve been reading. I’m, I love to read. So I’ve been reading all sorts of books about pregnancy, and they say that congestion and, like, head colds is a symptom of pregnancy.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  00:55

Yeah, absolutely. And that,


Catherine A. Wood  00:59

it kind of like blew, blew my mind. I’m like, why? Like, how I don’t get sick? It’s, like, been a couple years. Yeah,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  01:06

yeah, the congestion is so real. And you’re just like, oh, what now, you know, like, I’m already carrying a human


Catherine A. Wood  01:16

It’s funny though. Yeah, it’s, it’s interesting. Like, the things that that pregnancy causes, that you’re just you don’t expect at all,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  01:25

right? And it’s also like, your body’s just preparing yourself. It’s like, hey, you need to slow down a little bit, right? And, you know, by the time you get the third trimester, and, like, your your sleep just gets, like, all over the place. It’s like, okay, it’s preparing me for what’s to come.


Catherine A. Wood  01:39

Really, I’m really I’m really appreciating your background today. I feel like this is a different there’s some different decorational pieces or components, including a world map that I don’t remember from last time. Oh


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  01:52

yeah. Like, because usually I take my calls in the kitchen, so I just have, like, a white wall, and I’m in my husband’s office right now just to escape the noise.


Catherine A. Wood  02:00

Is that your girls? Is that, like a is that those things where you iron them on?


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  02:06

No, this is actually a Lego map. Close, yeah. It’s like, made out of like, tiny little Lego pieces. Let me just show you that’s amazing.


Catherine A. Wood  02:17

Check this out. Wow. Yeah, it and,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  02:24

you know what? It was such a because we got her for Christmas, um, and it was just such a fun activity, because they’re, they’re broken down into squares, so anyone can just, like, jump in and make a square, and then you piece it all together.


Catherine A. Wood  02:40

Yeah, that’s really, really cool. I love that,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  02:43

yeah, I know you love traveling too. So I do, yeah, yeah. And you can decide how you want, like, if you want to have, like, North America centered, you know. So you can, like, change that up as well. So they give


Catherine A. Wood  02:55

you different designs based on how you want your globe here,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  02:58

yeah, you can, like, have different layouts. I know


Catherine A. Wood  03:03

that that’s really impressive. I’ve never seen something like that before.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  03:06

Yeah, it’s a, it’s a great gift idea. Yeah, yeah, I’m so excited to chat with you today, too, yeah,


Catherine A. Wood  03:14

um, I am too. How are you? How are you arriving to our call today. I’m feeling good.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  03:22

I was playing tour guide. I have my cousin and my sister in town, and I just love them, you know. So we had a really great day. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Edinburgh before, but it is just the such a beautiful walking city. So we just once,


Catherine A. Wood  03:38

I’ve been once to Scotland, yeah, my parents and my brother and we, we only booked enbro. That’s the only leg we booked, yeah, and then we did a driving tour of the country for, I think it was like 10 days, maybe two weeks, no, I think 10 days. And we, we landed on the Isle of Skye in April, I think it was April, and we, we were very lucky to find accommodations, because we didn’t have anything booked when we arrived there. And the night before arriving in Isla sky, we ended up staying in a hostel, which was hysterical with my, yeah, with my 70 year old, 60 at the time, probably parents. And I’m like, Okay, y’all, this is, this is, this is the end of the road of us not planning ahead, because this is crazy.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  04:35

You got that adventure. But you know, I’m sure you’ll be back with your little one, because it’s so family friendly as well. Yeah, yeah, I’m


Catherine A. Wood  04:42

dying. I’m dying to bring my family to Scotland. I love Ambro. Yeah, it’ll be amazing. And my, um, my father’s side of the family is Scottish, and my husband and I, we got married a year ago October, so like a year and a half of Mary and. Um, my dad. I had, I surprised my dad with a bagpiper, and he walked me down the aisle to bagpipes. So it was fun.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  05:06

Oh my gosh, that is so sweet. It’s so special. Yeah, that’s so nice. Okay, well, shifting gears. Okay. Chat, yeah, so, um,


Catherine A. Wood  05:16

I have her talking points right here. I copied them into the chat. I’m like, so Irish Red from blowing my nose so much. Oh, so I’m, I’m really excited to just like to talk about your journey from, like, becoming, from being a shopaholic, a recovering Shopaholic, yeah, to um, having such a beautiful, transformed relationship to clutter, and how you got there, and how you help people heal their own relationships with clutter and and we’re just going to follow our curiosity and and our intuition, both mind and yours, and we’ll be responsible for time, and We’ll definitely end by the top of the hour, okay? And at the end of the call, I’ll ask you, what has supported you in becoming a prosperous Empath, and it can be anything, mindset, habit, practice, book, person, whatever. Oh, gosh,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  06:15

I know. I saw it in your in your talk, and I was like, That’s so hard, because there’s so many things, right? So yeah,


Catherine A. Wood  06:21

and then, in the beginning, I always invite everyone to share their pronouns and a little bit about your story to get us started, and I’ll record a professional intro and read your bio later, so you don’t need to bring that story, but just as a way to, like, help us land, okay? And if there’s any things that you want edited out, or, you know, potentially, my dog barks, but she’s very content, we’ll just raise our hands and just be silent for a couple seconds, and then we’ll jump back in, and my producer will know to edit that


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  07:02

out. Okay, no problem.


Catherine A. Wood  07:04

I will be putting myself on mute, as I imagine. I may be blowing my nose or, yeah, breathing through my sentences. I don’t have questions, but, yeah, but that’s it. Do you have any questions before we jump in? No,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  07:19

I’m excited, and, yeah, ready, ready to go,


Catherine A. Wood  07:22

okay, um, will you remind me what Maria Marie kondo’s book is called?


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  07:29

Yeah? It’s called a life changing Magic of Tidying Up, yeah,


Catherine A. Wood  07:33

okay, life changing, okay. I just want to write that down in case it comes up. I Yeah, okay. Um, okay, so we just jump in. Rebecca, welcome to the podcast. Thank


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  07:52

you so much, Kat. I’m so excited to be here chatting with you today.


Catherine A. Wood  07:56

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am a an extreme neat Nick, and my parents ran a bed and breakfast garland. So I, so I was, I’m, I’m just very orderly and tidy. And so having you on the show today to talk about decluttering our spaces and our minds and our energy fields, feels like just a magical conversation. So I’m really excited to jump in.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  08:28

So no, I was so excited too, you know, that’s how we connected, right? And I was like, Oh, I love it. Another person to geek out over the magic and the science of, you know, a decluttered space, a declutter physical space, and also the mental space. And it sounds like, you know, you had that foundation set up for you growing up. You know, with there’s a home for everything, right? Especially running a bed and breakfast, yeah.


Catherine A. Wood  08:52

And you know what I, I absolutely did, and it had its joys. It also had its sadnesses, which, you know, we may get into in your own line of work, but So by way of helping us kind of land today, I’d love for you to share your pronouns, and then I’d love for you to share a little bit about your story. I think we really learn about each other and our journeys through storytelling, so I’m really excited to hear a little bit of yours.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  09:23

So my pronouns are, she, her, and my story is actually a lot more complicated than people think. Like, I’ve always wished that I could just wrap it up in this neat and tidy, you know, one sentence to just be like, Oh, I’m from LA, I grew up, you know, I’m American, whatever it might be, but in reality, I am a global citizen. I was born in LA, and I grew up in Japan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York, so all over the place. And I’ve attended nine schools by the time I was 18, wow. Yeah. I. Sure, and it’s really nomadic because, you know, I think it runs in the blood, because my my parents were the same way too. You know, they’re both Chinese, but my mom was born and raised in Korea. My dad was born in Hong Kong, but was raised in Japan and Taiwan. So we were, like, all over the place. And I used to hold that as almost like a weakness, you know, like I would actually have an aversion to people asking me this simple question of, where are you from? So these are the things that along the way. It’s not just the decluttering of our physical space, but also being able to delve into our emotional space, to be able to turn wounds into wisdom, and, yeah, we’ll be diving into this as well with our conversation, because it’s through the physical that we’re able to create more confidence as well, to be able to face the things that are. You know, the things that are. It’s almost like we have a things are shoved in a closet or swept under a rug, but that’s internal, and these are the things that we’re we’ll be able to delve into further from practicing and practicing the art of letting go with gratitude.


Catherine A. Wood  11:20

So I’m really struck by your story, because if you grew up as a world citizen, yeah, and I know that you identify as a recovering Shopaholic, so I’m just imagining even just the practicality of, how do you be a world citizen with a penchant for shopping. Like, how do you how do you live and move abroad, between countries with so much stuff? Yeah,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  11:48

you just, you know, you get used to it. But also, on the other hand, because even though I grew up as a shopaholic, it was always tidy, so it wasn’t an issue, right? Like, okay, yes, maybe financially, it was an issue. But from because, you know, sometimes you go into people’s homes, you can see it’s very visual that it is a problem. It’s overtaking their life. I think for me, it was being able to let go. I I was a shopaholic, but I had always been able to clear the clutter. So when I read Mario condos book about, Gosh, 10 years ago now, so the life changing magic of tidying up when I came across that book, I was actually heavily pregnant at that time, and when I read the book, I was like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been tiding wrong my entire life, and that was the shift. So the philosophy itself is to focus on what you want to keep, and when we’re able to touch those items and really reflect on, you know, why did I purchase this? What kind of frame of mind was I in? Was I feeling pressured by society or other people, right? Like, so when we’re able to really have that moment of stillness, or like, oh, this doesn’t spark joy, but we go deeper into the why, then we can actually let it go with gratitude. It’s like, oh, you know what? Like, that was an impulse purchase, or, Oh, I felt pressured from the salesperson.


Catherine A. Wood  13:26

How are you doing it? Yeah,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  13:29

and then, and you’re, you’re actually like, hey, you know what? Thank you so much. I now know that I don’t have to feel obliged to buy this thing that my friends are selling, right? And so that’s where we’re able to link it as well. And that’s where the behavioral patterns changes, and those changes come about. So yeah, and then so when I was able to reflect, because, you know, for me, it was filling that void, the void that could never, that bottomless void that could have never be filled, you know, because I was addicted to the dopamine of shopping, and I was so deeply unhappy with myself. I just was always trying to and I lived in at that, you know, I lived in megacities where it’s basically a giant shopping mall. It’s everywhere as well. So being able to reflect on it. And then also, on a practical note, when you have a full mental audit of what you own, then it just makes it easier to make conscious decisions. You know, you might go into the shop and be like, Oh, that’s like, a really cool t shirt. And then you’re like, hang on. Actually, I have 2t shirts similar. But I’ll keep this in mind for next time. So it’s not feeding into the scarcity of like, Oh, I’m not allowed to buy anything. It’s more like, oh, I have enough. So it really feeds into this notion of defining what’s enough for you. So that’s really how the method. Changed my life. And if it was very, very gentle, it didn’t feel like I was losing out on anything because of the way you go through your items as well you you do so with a lot of reverence and respect and and then that’s where you’re like, oh, I have more than enough. And you feel that satisfaction.


Catherine A. Wood  15:23

So I’m, I’m wondering, you know, I am an avid reader, and I’ve also read the life changing Magic of Tidying Up. And I don’t know if I, I don’t know if I necessarily had a similar transformation like you did, because I’ve, I’ve always kind of been a minimalist at heart. I’ve always really valued having less and loving what I have. And I guess I’m curious about the kind of like your journey with reading the book, having this epiphany and then making this really big life transformation. Because I think many of us read personal development books or leadership books or self leadership books, and so was it the book alone that kind of caused this light bulb moment for you, or were there other, perhaps moments of of change or hardship that really kind of caused it to be like, okay, now’s the time. This is it.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  16:31

Yeah, you know, I and this is also why I’ve also pivoted to work with the highly sensitive community as well. Because what I realized is that it’s a beautiful practice to be able to cultivate confidence, to be able to define what truly lights you up, and to be able to practice saying no without the shame and guilt that we’re often burdened with. So it might seem really basic, you know, you’re just practicing on your own belongings. You know, like, does this spark joy? Does a spark joy? But the more we go into it is actually, you know, it’s, it’s carving out and strengthening those neural pathways. Because a lot of times, how many of us say yes to the things that we really want to say no to and no to the things that we really need help on? Right? So by practicing honor belongings. And this is also why it’s so gentle, because by the time, I don’t know if you remember, but there’s five categories in total with the method. So we start with clothing, books, paper. Komono means miscellaneous and Japanese, and then the last category is sentimental items. Because, you know, this is also why a lot of people struggle with decluttering because we go into the high intensity categories. It’s like, oh, I’m going to do my kitchen right? Oh, I’m going to do this drawer of doom, but actually, or I’m going to go into my photo Memory Box, like it’s, that’s a recipe for, you know, failure, essentially. So when we go through the sequence, you’re, essentially building up your muscle. And then, so by the time we get to those high intensity, you know, those either, whether it’s memories or the physical objects as well, you know, it’s like, it’s, it’s charged with a lot of energy, right? Then we’re able to, recommend, we’re like, okay, yeah, I see where, oh, I’m still carrying those wounds around with me. I’m still carrying those negative memories around with me. And then the practice is through gratitude. We always let it go with gratitude, because gratitude is what softens the edges. So with my journey, because it is a journey. It’s not just like, oh, once you’re done, you’re done, it creates that foundation to set us up for, you know, to be able to maintain and make manage all of our belongings, you know, through the days to come. And as humans, we are constantly evolving. So we actually call it a joy checking. So I’m constantly Joy checking. Still, I’m not the same person as I was 10 years ago when I started this journey, right? And when the harder conversations do come up, then we have, we’re well versed in practicing just sitting with the emotions. You’re like, Oh, this feels a little bit sticky inside of me, or this is actually activating me and being able to go a little bit deeper into it. So in our case, about a year after I started my Komari journey, my husband, you know, we had this, we had this discussion like I, I it was very confronting. I’ve always thought that I was going to raise my children in Hong Kong, which where we were living at that time, just because that’s where I spent a bulk of my childhood, even though we moved around so much. But I was like, okay, like, this is the path to follow. You know, it’s just unconscious. You’re not even thinking about it. You’re like, this is the path to follow. My husband did not enjoy living there, and it was always a point of contention, and so when he when we finally talked about. About a year after a Komari started Komari, I had I was able to, yeah, hold that space and then really look at it introspectively. It’s like, hang on. Am I following Is this a path that is true to my family, or am I just following someone else’s journey? And then so with that, we took the plunge. We Komari, the city that we lived in, and then we took a family gap year for an entire year with no destination, with no final destination in mind.


Catherine A. Wood  20:34

Wow, that sounds a magical Yeah. So


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  20:37

with if it weren’t for the fact that you know, we had been practicing the Komari method like, I don’t think I would have had that courage.


Catherine A. Wood  20:49

That’s beautiful, and this was so I’m just thinking about your journey, and maybe I’m so fascinated in your journey, because it started when you were pregnant, which I’m pregnant now, yeah, and, you know, I’m in the thick of baby registries and what I need versus what I want versus what everyone has, and how the heck do I figure out the answers to those different questions when I don’t even know? Yeah, so, so you took a gap year right at the beginning of your when you started your business, when you were perhaps recently a new mom, is that, yeah, trajectory,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  21:28

we, we took a gap year. So by the time we started the gap year, I had my second child, okay, got it, yeah. So it’s like, you know, we had the conversation, and then it was the preparation, right of like, leaving the country and, you know, like, leaving jobs, all of that. So our kids were not even, not even one and under three, amazing, like, eight months. The youngest one was eight months when we started. Yeah, wow, yeah. My eldest was, like, not even three years old yet,


Catherine A. Wood  22:01

and you had just started your business recently. I


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  22:06

didn’t even start Komari at that time. Yeah, yeah. I had another business at that time. But, you know, like, because even with the Komari journey, like, I’ve been practicing Komari for over a decade now, but professionally for years.


Catherine A. Wood  22:22

So can we, can we talk? And maybe this is just for me, but it could also be for our listeners who are pregnant or expecting. How do you camari motherhood?


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  22:33

Oh, that is such a good question in terms of making it work for you. Yeah,


Catherine A. Wood  22:39

in terms of being mindful about Gosh, just focusing on what we need, not bringing additional clutter into the home from a place of fear or anxiety or social pressure.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  22:58

And that’s a huge one, because we have to remember that the marketing preys on our fears and insecurities. And what better segment of humans to target than new parents? Because we have, like, no idea what’s going on. So, like, even in the practical sense, right, whenever I have clients who are new parents. I always tell them, you know how they have this checklist of like essentials. I always like look at it with a grain of salt, because you have to be able to reflect back on your lifestyle. Let’s say, for example, if you’re going to be washing clothes every day, every other day, you’re not going to need to have that volume. So you get to decide, what is that enough? What is that number of, you know, the pieces of items of clothing that you’ll need, versus someone else, like, if another family, they’re only doing their laundry every two weeks, then they’re going to need a lot more of onesies and blankets and whatnot, right? So, and it’s just really, it always goes back to reflecting on your ideal lifestyle. What is your ideal family lifestyle? What is your ideal motherhood Of course, with a bit of the flexibility, because, you know, expectations are the thief of joy as well. So being able to just look deeply into how do I want to raise my children, you know, and not get so bogged down by the stuff. And another reminder is also depending on where you live, more often than not, you can get everything within, like, a day or two. Now, no, so if there’s something that you don’t have, that’s fine, you know. Like, just get it as you need, right? So then we don’t have to have that pressure of like, oh, I need all of the gear, you know. Yeah,


Catherine A. Wood  24:55

I really appreciate you said this the last time we chatted and I. Really appreciate the reinforcement that marketing preys on anxiety and fear. And I think for those of us who are expecting, and particularly those of us who are going to be first time moms, I know for me, like I I’m not anxious, like I don’t, I don’t suffer from anxiety, but I’ve done a lot of work to not suffer from anxiety. You know, more than a decade of work, and I read some of these forums and blogs, and there’s so much anxiety among the first time mom community, and particularly for those of us who are, who’ve who who are an advanced, advanced maternal age, you know, already benefited from a whole career before jumping into parenthood, and maybe have struggled with fertility. So I can really appreciate that reminder that we have to, we have to really bring that, knowing that awareness of how we’re being targeted, oh,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  26:06

yeah, 100% you know. And it’s, it’s everywhere, right? Like, that’s why they want all of your data as well, like, even in the hospital, right? Because all the companies are working with the hospital so that you’re the baby, you you’re like, all registered in the database so that it’s, it’s Targeted Advertisement as well. So yeah, just understanding it. And then I think you know, when we also have the knowledge of what do we what we own already, it makes it easier to make conscious decisions of what you want to bring into the house. So even as a as the child gets older as well, this is a beautiful practice to bring in because it’s, it’s developing their self awareness. So even for my nine year old, I mean, she’s 10 now, but when she was nine, you know, because we Joy check through the clothing and books and it sounds scary, but it’s not because it, it really doesn’t take much time, because you’re already, you’re filtering what’s coming into your house. So when you’re doing the joy checking, it’s it’s really effortless. Um, so, and it’s a really great way to connect with your child, too. So my child, she was like, nine at that time, and she said to me, she was like, she had her click point. I always call it the click point, you know, like, so with clients, they’ll say, I have more than enough, you know? They’re like, Oh, right. And then she also had it. She was like, Oh, I have more than enough toys. I don’t need any toys. So for it, and it’s, it’s from their own accord. So that’s where the empowerment comes from. Because nobody is telling you that you can’t buy this or you can’t own this, right? So when you make these conscious decisions from yourself, you feel that contentment and satisfaction. So it’s not the parents saying like, Oh no, you can’t buy any of this. And this is also where we bring it into conversations, you know, in our day to day life, like, of course, when we go into shops, children are going to be like, oh, like, I really want that toy. And then we can, rather than just saying, No, we can have a dialog around it. It’s like, oh, remember, you had something similar. You let it go last time, or we bought it, and then you maybe didn’t play with it too much, right? So, or even we can have a conversations around sustainability. It’s like, oh, like, you know, we, let’s, let’s try not to buy things that have excessive plastic packaging. Maybe we can buy it through a second hand platform. So this is also a really wonderful way to just nurture the parent child relationship as well. So it’s not like, oh, Obey my command, right? Which is, yeah, which happens as well, but you’re armed with knowledge. Oh,


Catherine A. Wood  28:50

I love this. This is so timely and relevant. Yeah, can you, can we just talk about joy checking for a moment? Yeah? So for those of us who would love to So, so my husband and I are going to be moving, yeah, congratulations, near future. So this is very relevant for us. So as we really look at kind of joy checking our possessions, and we have a lot of possessions in storage right now, so how do we, how do we how do we approach Joy checking our stuff, our clutter?


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  29:27

You know, this is also why I am so passionate about teaching this to the highly sensitive community, because it is just so it’s so nourishing, right? Because most of the time, what do we think of when we’re like, Oh, I got a Declutter. I got a tidy. You know, most of the time people are like, there’s an aversion to it. There might be a little bit panic as well. But the way that we approach it first of all is through the categories, right? So you’re breaking it down into manageable pieces, and then so we start with clothing component. But even within clothing. Clothing. You can even break it down further into subcategories. Let’s say, like, I’m just going to check my shoes today. I’m just going to check my swimsuits today, right? And then this actually calms our brain, because you’re only looking at the swimsuits or the shoes. You’re able to see the lay of the land. And then we go into, this is the key point we go into, what do we want to keep? Because most of the time with the negativity bias in our brains, we go straight into what do I want to get rid of? So this is also why the philosophy helps us to to focus on the positive. You know, it is a it is a brain training exercise as well. So when we’re able to be like, Okay, these are my favorite, you know, like, no question about it, full body, yes. Love this. These swimsuits. And then when you look at the other items, then you just know, it’s also a way to strengthen your intuition as well. You just know, you’re like, oh, there’s a little bit of resistance with these pieces. And then you can sit still with it. Sometimes it might be, oh, I spent a lot of money on it, or, oh, you know, it’s just a size too small. That was an impulse purchase, or whatever it might be. And then the practice is, we, we use gratitude to let those go. It’s like, thank you so much. You know, like I now know that I don’t have to squeeze myself into this, you know, it doesn’t feel good on my body. Or I now know that I don’t need to make these impulse purchases, all right, and that’s what we carry away with us. So those are the lessons that we learn, and then we can let go of those, the physical objects we’re still hanging on to, the wisdom that it has taught us. So when we start with that, when we start with what we want to keep, it actually calms us. We feel that abundance as well. You’re like, oh, I have all of these. And you might be like, hey, you know what? I need to upgrade this. Or, Oh, I have a gap in my closet, you know? And so this is where the conscious cons consumption comes in. So it becomes joyful, you know? We’re actually adding extra joy into purchasing mindfully, yeah, so this is, this is what makes it fun. It’s also a trip down memory lane, right? Because you’ll go through things in storage too, and you’re like, oh, that meant a lot to me back then. And you know, it doesn’t represent who I am now or who I’m becoming. I’m ready to let go of it. I don’t need the physical item.


Catherine A. Wood  32:38

I’d love to jump back a moment, because, yeah, you’ve talked about, like, the learning that, oh, you know, I, I this was an impulse buy, and I can appreciate that this item doesn’t fit me anymore, and I can let it go. And as someone who’s currently bigger than I intend to be in the next year, and having, you know, I’m a very intentional shopper, and I have lots of items that I love and don’t fit in, but also didn’t fit in right before pregnancy either. So I guess my question is, if they still spark joy, but they’re not practical because they don’t currently fit your current shape and form, then what? Oh, yeah.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  33:32

So I love doing this with, you know, I don’t want to say exclusively women, because I’ve also worked with men who’s like, weight fluctuates a lot as well. So what we do is, you know, for your closet, keep it to what, what’s current, right? Because this also helps to preserve mental bandwidth. Because when you go into a closet, they’re like, oh, this doesn’t really fit. Oh, this one, I’m not sure if it you know, like it actually is leaking energy from you. So we keep the closet, the main closet, to current and then the things that we want to keep, you know, so like, post pregnancy, we call them goals, right? Because it’s also, yeah, it’s also to make sure that we have a healthy relationship. You know, you’re not, you’re not trying to force yourself to become a size. But rather, it’s like, I want to be the healthiest version of myself. So it doesn’t become, you know, because especially for women, you know, we’re like, our bodies are weaponized, right? Like, this is what we’re shown, and this is what we grow up with. So rather than feeling like, oh, I need to be this size, it’s like, no, I’m going to be the healthiest version of myself. I can see myself wearing this when I reach those goals. And so it becomes like we’re keeping things with confidence, rather than keeping it out of shame.


Catherine A. Wood  34:58

I mean, I think that makes. So total sense like keeping things with intentionality and purpose, not from a place of shame or make wrong or guilt, yeah, yeah. And I love, I love sorry. I love the piece about keeping your closet current, yeah, because then it’s not only allowing you to focus on what you have right now, what works for you right now, but it’s also allowing you to make that mental space to really I mean, I would imagine, to take advantage, to enjoy what you have more,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  35:38

and it optimizes your time and energy as well, because every time we’re trying to look for something and you can’t find it, your cortisol levels are rising. So just from the moment, I mean, and these are things that are absolutely within our control, right? Like things that happen, like, you know, if there’s traffic or, you know, something happens with the family, you know, meltdowns, those aren’t within our control, but there are so many things like making sure that your space, your physical space, support you it that is within our control, and our space should never be a source of stress. It’s a sanctuary for us empaths to charge up in.


Catherine A. Wood  36:22

Oh, I love this conversation. As you were speaking, I was thinking of one of my dear friends is a personal stylist, and I was reading her newsletter recently, and she recommended that if you have items that you don’t know whether they spark joy or not, to just turn, start turning the hangers around once you’ve I don’t know if it’s once you’ve worn an outfit. I think it’s once you’ve worn an outfit. And then at the end of the season, or the year, or whatever your quarterly Joy check season is to just notice, you know, which are the items that you’ve actually touched and and worn or used in which art,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  37:04

yeah, and it’s really about keeping it with confidence, right? Because I, previous to, I’m in Edinburgh in Scotland right now, um, prior to living here, I was in Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, and it was like tropical, so I wasn’t wearing my winter stuff, like, barely touched it, but it was, you know, where it is, right? And it’s, it’s the intentionality you’re like, and also just imagining yourself you’re like, Okay, if I do go to a cold weather place, then, is this something that I want to be wearing? I also use this exercise during the pandemic with all my evening wear, like, because obviously we weren’t going to events at that time. I and I, I just looked at them. I just had, like, a really, a hard and intentional Look at that. I was like, Okay, if I were to be invited to a wedding, would I actually want to wear this? Yeah. And then the answer was, I was like, no, no. And that also, I also started thinking. I was like, Okay, I probably will want to just rent something, like, it’s my, my mindset has also shifted into, it’s not about ownership, you know, like, I don’t want to just keep something that I’m only going to wear, like, once or twice as well, and then just being grateful. It’s like, oh, things have times have changed. Like, there’s so many of these platforms as well, right? So it’s like a, you know, one of my clients actually said to me, she was like, Oh, joy checking is like having a date with yourself to check in with where you’re at now and where you’re heading.


Catherine A. Wood  38:32

Yeah, I really, I really appreciate that. I mean, as you were talking, I was even just thinking about some of the clothes that I have, and I think for me, clothes hold a lot of sentiment, sentimentality, because I have often used clothes or buying special items as moments of significance or celebration. You know, I’ve had a tradition since I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, that every year on my birthday, I buy myself a special item from anthropology. So, you know, I was in the score in 22,006 to 2008 so now I have over 15 years of like, special significant items, yeah, several of which don’t fit me anymore or are outdated, and those are so hard to let go of because of all the memories attached to them.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  39:26

Yeah, can, and that’s another question, especially when it comes to sentimental so we’re gonna, we’re gonna come across sentimental items in every single category, right from clothing all the way down to the sentimental but um, it’s, it’s also just asking yourself, can the memory live on without the memento? Yeah, and you know what? Sometimes we’re just simply not ready, and that’s okay. So for me as a comrade consultant, like people, I think sometimes people get the misconception. They’re like, Oh, Rebecca, like, you know the spouse? Might be like, Oh, Rebecca coming? Is she going to make me throw things? I was like, No, that’s not the method at all. It’s just holding space, right? So it’s almost like, I kind of compare myself to like a personal trainer. So people can make these decisions in a safe space and be able to hear their thoughts and come to the conclusion. It’s like, oh, you know what, like? I know that I have a little bit of resistance towards this item, but I’m not ready yet. And that’s okay, because it’s really all about cultivating the emotional readiness. So you might come across these, you know, you might go and look at these anthropology items, and you’ll be like, oh, you know what, like, maybe, maybe by the next Joy check, I know that the time is coming soon. You just know it inside of your heart, right? Yeah, but there’s, there’s no force. There’s no force, because it’s the the practice of the letting go, it becomes effortless, and it comes from a place of joy. It comes from a place of empowerment. So that’s what the practice is, a letting go practice. We aren’t taught how to let go totally.


Catherine A. Wood  41:07

Yeah, I want to, I want to dig in here a little more, because you’ve mentioned this. I this theme around resistance, right? It’s not a, this is not a process of resisting. It’s a process of letting go. And many people resist getting organized and declutter cluttering, and many people really struggle with it. And so in your experience, why is that like, why do we struggle getting organized or decluttering like, what? What is? What do you notice that that has to do with?


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  41:43

Oh, I, you know it more often than not, we have to delve into our lineage, our background, you know, like, for you and Mia, we grew up in, like, pretty tidy households, right? So we have that to model from. But for a lot of people, they’ve never been taught. They’ve lived in, you know, especially I know a lot of people, they live in situations that are tending to be on, like hoarding, you know, like really can’t let go. And this is where we take the moment to really honor our ancestors and the previous generations for what they have been through. Because that’s where the scarcity mindsets those that’s where the seeds are sown, because they’ve been through really traumatic events, from like wartime to famine to, you know, great depression, where resources were so scarce, and then that gets fed down the lineage. So when we’re able to bring that awareness, then that’s when we can actually do the work to break the cycle, right? And so, you know, even things like the scarcity mindset would be like, oh, you know, you see a really good deal at Target. You know, it’s like, you know, buy three for the price of two, even though you only one. But it it speaks to us, because we’re like, oh, I want to get the best deal possible. So when we’re able to recognize these, it’s like, oh, wait, hang on, like, do I actually need three of these? You know? Or someone who’s who’s living alone, but they end up getting, like, the economy sides of things. It’s like, that might seem like a good deal, but it isn’t because you’re it’s gonna probably go two ways. It’s probably gonna expire before you can use it all up. Okay, so like when we’re able to recognize where it’s coming from, and then again, having that audit of how we wanna live our life, and also the inventory that’s a key. That’s a key piece of the knowledge that we need. Because that’s another thing that I see all the time, which is a lot of repeat purchases. People can’t find the things in their home, so they go and buy it again. Yeah, and that’s lost money and time.


Catherine A. Wood  44:03

So taking that another step further, yeah. How do you, how do you notice that that clutter impacts your clients lives? Or what are the what are the consequences of living in a cluttered environment? Oh,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  44:21

yeah, like, so many like, I mean, aside from just the financial, is the emotional, because seeing clutter, and this is from a Stanford studies seeing clutter increases anxiety and decreases productivity, right? And that it our cortisol levels are rising, so especially if you have, let’s say family members as well. You know, you’re more prone to being reactive simply from the environment that we’re in. And as highly sensitive souls, it’s going to impact us a lot more, because we’re a lot more porous, right? And we absorb more too. Um. And, yeah, it leads to arguments. We’re not able to, you know, be the best versions of ourselves, and we waste a lot of time. The main thing is the time element, because you’re wasting time looking for things. We’re also, you know, if, if someone is asking you, like, oh, where is this? You don’t know where it is. Your cortisol levels are rising. You’re you’re being pulled away from whatever task that you’re doing, too. So it has that domino effect. It might not seem like a big deal, but it that’s actually what causes the domino effect.


Catherine A. Wood  45:38

I mean, I think that makes perfect sense, and it’s making me think of a book about money mindset. So I love reading money mindset, too, and one of my favorites is called The Millionaire Next Door.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  45:52

Are you familiar with it? I’ve heard of it, but I’ll check it out. Okay,


Catherine A. Wood  45:56

so it’s written by a PhD economist who has since passed? Stanley is his last name, yeah. And he talks about how he does so he researches a millionaires in the US, and from a data perspective, what the stats have to say about the typical millionaire in the US and what the research shows is that most of the millionaires in in living in our everyday lives, our everyday communities, are the next day, Jane’s and Joe’s, like the ones you would least expect to be millionaires because they’re not trying to keep Up with the Joneses. Absolutely, they’re not living in the upper middle class neighborhoods and feeling the need or the pressure to drive the luxury cars they’re keeping their cars for decades. Yeah, yeah. And I think it really goes hand in hand with so much of your saying that they don’t experience that societal pressure, yeah, to keep up or to to maintain appearances. Yeah, they’re really clear in their values and their own intentions around how and where and when they want to spend their money, yes, and you know what their money Exactly. And actually this is the knowing of who you want to be, right? And then this also circles back into the topic of motherhood too, because we’re not trying to keep up with appearances. I


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  47:31

mean, so many people told us, they’re like, why are you guys going on a gap year? The children are not going to remember. They thought we’re absolutely crazy. And we’re like, No, we’re just going to listen to our inner knowing that this is the path for us. You know, if we had decided, you know, if other people, because we do live in such a noisy world as well, but if we put so much emphasis and like importance and put all of that on a pedestal, we’re, we’re always going to be, you know, like just basically staying afloat because you’re not you’re not grounded in what truly brings you joy, and it’s going to look different for each and every one of us. So this is really the practice, right, like, but how can you know unless you do the work,


Catherine A. Wood  48:18

and I really appreciate that connection, that what brings us joy, and specifically for those of us who are high sensory and empathic, is a connection with our environment, right? We are so highly attuned to our environments, and whether that is, you know, a beautiful natural space, or being a citizen of the world, or living in a minimalistic environment that allows you to really feel at peace in your, you know, your physical space, we feel less propensity, less urge, to fill it with stuff.


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  48:59

Yes, yeah. And that’s, that’s what we need to delve into. It’s like, you know, the connection between what’s driving our actions? Is it coming from a place of fear, or is it coming from a place of joy and love, right? So even, like, what, let’s say, let’s use the luxury items. For example, I always say to my clients, I’m like, you know, are you keeping it because you feel like you need to impress other people, or are you keeping it because you really love the craftsmanship, right? Like there’s you can absolutely keep it, but it has to come with that intentionality.


Catherine A. Wood  49:35

So for those of our listeners who are listening and you know, maybe are still earlier on in their journey around struggling with clutter and feel this urge to start tidying up, start joying their lives. What does the journey to heal our relationships with clutter look like? How do people. Well, how can people start?


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  50:01

Oh, it starts from being gentle with ourselves and said in really carving out the time we have to, we have to commit ourselves. And actually, that’s the first rule of Komari. Step number one is commit, committing. And that’s the way it is with anyone, right? Because thinking, wishing and wanting that’s not the same as doing. So it starts from committing yourself and really visualizing what your ideal life looks like, and and then it’s, Hey, let’s make it manageable, right? Like, like how I was mentioning earlier about you can divide it by the subcategories as well, because, you know, some of us might have chronic health conditions, then your speed is going to look different. So it’s just being really gentle, bringing that awareness and and that’s where, that’s where we start, because when we infuse and we can hone into the joy of letting go that’s going to fuel us and we also do release like dopamine, right as well from doing so,


Catherine A. Wood  51:10

yeah, I love I love that you started there with being gentle with ourselves, because I think a lot of the work that there is for us to do is to integrate our learnings and our insights, which often is the consequence of welcoming them, right, of allowing them, of embracing and accepting them, not forcing ourselves and muscling through and continuing to judge and shame and put ourselves down. And so I hear how the journey of being gentle with ourselves could be like a like a loving embrace or an extending hand,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  51:49

definitely. And it’s in this that’s where the self awareness is cultivated, too. Because, you know, for example, Kat, you’re pregnant too. So you might have like, Oh, I feel like revved up. I want to do some joy checking. But then you might be like, oh, you know what? Like, I’m feeling physically really tired right now. So it’s also being able to give ourselves that grace too, to meet ourselves wherever we are at because it’s so easy for our minds to, you know, it gets it takes over. Yeah, I’m guilty of it as well. But I do love like once you’re once the foundation is set, you can use this as a self care practice, because especially, especially as people who are high sensory too sometimes like being in front of the computer for too long, in front of screens, it can drain us. So I find that just by being able to reset rooms do a little joy check, it might look like, oh, I have a five minute break. I’m going to joy check my T shirts, something like that. So by using our hands, we’re also activating a different part of our brain, and it becomes a form of rest. So then our homes will support us divinely. Like, even more, yeah?


Catherine A. Wood  53:07

Well, I have loved our conversation. I’ve been noticing a theme recently that almost many, if not all of my recent podcast episodes, they’ve all felt like they were perfect for me, like Perfect, yeah, perfect conversations for me, given the the journey and the time of life that I’m in so I have no doubt this is going to be meaningful and a value for our listeners. And I’d love to close with a question that I asked all my guests, which is, what, what has supported you in becoming the prosperous Empath that you are?


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  53:43

I think so. I follow. This is something that my husband has coined. Remember to take your meds, which is medicine, meditation, exercise, diet slash decluttering. I threw in the decluttering. I have to So diet slash decluttering and sleep. So remember to take your meds, you know. So yoga, meditation has been a really big part of my life. And also, I know you love reading as well. So some of the books that there’s just so many to name, but I love, I love the Go Giver by Bob Burr. And then I also bought that book. It’s so small, and I actually bought that from one of my comrade clients. So I love the books category, because I always get the best recommendations. But yeah, I read that, and I was like, oh so amazing. And then the other book is the choice by Dr Edith Egger. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Yeah, those were, those were great. You know, it was just that reminder of befriending our mind, right? And to be able to to be able to serve and give generously. It, it all comes back to taking care of ourselves. Yeah?


Catherine A. Wood  55:01

Thank you so much, Rebecca, this has been just like truly delightful and so thought provoking. Oh,


Rebecca Jo-Rushdy  55:08

thank you, Kat. I loved our conversation, and thank you so much for inviting me to be on your podcast. Thank.


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Navigating Neurodivergence: Energy Hacks for Empaths with Regina Carey

Regina Carey joins me on The Prosperous Empath® this week for a truly heart-centered conversation about neurodivergence and how it is often interconnected with being an empath and/or HSP. Regina is a special ed teacher turned Executive Coach who has spent the last three decades educating, empowering, and advocating for those who feel stuck, yet long to take that next great leap. Recently, she returned from an adventurous trip to Machu Picchu and shares her experience of how saying yes to physical challenges has helped her balance intense emotions as an empath. But something I deeply appreciate about this conversation are Regina’s insights on neurodivergence, especially ADHD, and the importance of managing energy and advocating for oneself. Regina reflects on her upbringing and the influence of the women in her life, emphasizing the need to break patterns of burnout and dis-ease to live authentically. This episode is for anyone who is neurodivergent (or loves someone who is) and is seeking energetic balance in their life. Tune in for actionable steps on thriving more as an ambitious empath.

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