Sunday, November 15, 2009

Clutter Free Day Report

The first Berkeley, California Clutter Free Day was held on Saturday, November 7 from 10 AM until 5 PM at the Lutheran Church of the Cross on University Ave, right down the street from UC Berkeley.  The event marked the 3rd anniversary of the Berkeley Tuesday morning CLA meeting and was a resounding success on all accounts, from number of attendees, to information shared, to fellowship extended.  There are currently 7 San Francisco Bay Area meetings within a 140 mile range.  Around 60 people attended arriving from near and far including Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Concord, Costa Mesa, Danville, Davis, El Cerrito, Fremont, Long Beach, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Martinez, Menlo Park, Moraga, Oakland, Palo Alto, Rancho Cordova, Richmond, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.

The theme for the day was using the Tools of Recovery in CLA.  All attendees were treated to presentations by the CLA WSO chair, Kathy, speaking about What CLA Offers and Susie, from CLA phone meetings, talking about taking action to use the CLA tools.  Berkeley CLA members presented individual sessions that attendees could choose, including a newcomer's meeting and daily action with Cindy; Clutter, kids, and parenting with Ingrid: Where did all this stuff come from, with Joan; Working steps 1 through 3 with Wendy; and Forgiving Yourself with Uzuri.  Highlights of the day were Uzuri's welcome singing, as well as her rendition of Q's lyrics from the 2008 LA CFD.  People were still laughing all day after attending Joan's session, where she shared things from her home as examples of her creativity and rational for keeping things too valuable to let go of.

The day culminated with an open microphone where people could share with everyone.  Some things shared were:  

“I’m a single mom who uses the tool of a sense of humor and laughter.  I am with my people at a CLA meeting.  I know I am not judged or criticized.  Thank you all.  I urge you to attend meetings.”

“My favorite session was on forgiveness.  I liked looking around that circle of people and seeing myself a bit in everyone.”

“I am so grateful to the people I heard from today.  Even though we have unique stories there are always similarities.  I learned how to really connect via the phone meetings that I didn’t fully understand before.  Celebrate! I learned to let go and trust.  Good connections with people here today.”

“I didn’t expect to laugh so much today.  Joan’s workshop was freeing by the laughter of identification.  I was able to relax & let things make connections in my mind that I hadn’t notice before in my idiosyncrasies.  Maybe Joan would take that on the stage!  Her workshop really lifted me after challenges trying to get here.”

“When I found the Berkeley group, I really thought I was at the end of my rope.  Oh, I can’t do that.  My friend went with me to my first meeting.  I found people like me who understood!  Like oh the closet, the office, filled from the floor to the ceiling. I had to move out of my home of 17 years.  Those CLA women helped me clean and sort through my stuff.  I was frightened to let them in.  But it was such a wonderful, beautiful thing that they did.  To help me clean and sort and box.  They asked me, “Do you want to keep this or do you think you can let it go?”  Every time I let it go, they cheered.  And I got hooked on the cheers.  CLA is a wonderful place of love & caring.  Each of you understand what this is about.  We are all working together to get to that other place.  I thank CLA, the fellowship, the members that allowed me to do my work today.  For letting me be myself today.  This is wonderful!  Thank you.”

The day ended with a discussion of forming a Bay Area CLA intergroup, doing another Clutter Free Day, and Sharon agreeing to be the service person for an intergroup conference call.

Before they left, people passed in the plastic name tag holders and evaluations.  Across the board, every single person said that the day “exceeded their expectations” with some sessions being “exceptional”.  Written comments included
“Today was fabulous – I’m no longer alone with my shame, guilt and paralysis.  I understand what "together we can" means now.”
“I came here today for motivation and inspiration – important enough to clear my cluttered calendar.  I found what I’ve been looking for and plan to be a participant in this group and hope to help and be helped.”

Everyone was moved when they joined hands to recite the closing prayer, (which had not been used previously at Berkeley CLA meetings)

God, grant me the Serenity of an organized life with leisure time,

The Courage to change my habits to ensure these joys, and

The Wisdom to be flexible.

And God grant me patience for the changes that take time,

Appreciation for all that I have,

Tolerance for those with different struggles,

And the Strength to get up and try again,

One moment, one hour, one day at a time.

The Berkeley CLA wishes to thank everyone who attended, especially those that came up from LA to support the event, share their experience, strength and hope, and everyone who did service, including support from previous CFDs.

Berkeley Clutterers Anonymous

You are cordially invited to join us in person!
North Berkeley Clutterers Anonymous Meeting

Monday evening 7:15-8:30 PM

Tuesday morning
10:00 AM sharp until 11:15 AM

Epworth United Methodist Church
1953 Hopkins Street
Berkeley, Ca 94707

Directions to Epworth:
Epworth United Methodist Church is located at 1953 Hopkins Street at Napa Avenue, near the south portal of the Solano Avenue tunnel.

By Public Transit:

AC Transit local routes 43, 9, and 7 stop at the corner of Hopkins and Sutter (Shattuck Avenue), near the south portal of the Solano Avenue tunnel. (Route FS provides TransBay service, weekday commute hours only.)

From there, it's a one-block downhill walk to the church. Route
15 stops at the corner of Hopkins and The Alameda (MLK Jr. Way), near the North Berkeley Branch Library. Walk uphill on Hopkins past Milvia - the church will be on your left.

Transfer to the 43, 9, and 7 buses at the Berkeley BART station. (Route 9 no longer stops at North Berkeley BART.)

On Your Bike:

The northern end of the Milvia Street Bicycle Boulevard intersects Hopkins Street, just a block from the church.

From Major Highways:

From the Eastshore Freeway (I-80) take the Gilman Street exit and continue eastward until Gilman intersects with Hopkins. Turn left and proceed uphill on Hopkins. You'll pass Monterey Foods, MLK Middle School, and the North Berkeley Branch Library on the way.

From Highway 24, take the Tunnel Road exit, and proceed west on Ashby Avenue to Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. Turn right on MLK, drive north for about two miles, then right again on Hopkins.

First Tuesday of the Month: Business Meeting
Second Tuesday: Speaker Meeting
Third, Fourth, Fifth Tuesdays:
CLA Literature

Our blog at exists to achieve the goal of the 5th Traditon: "Each group has but one primary purpose; to carry its message to the person who still suffers."

We have a Google Group for email discussions!
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Google Group

Isolation and shame are two major factors from which many clutterers suffer. Sometimes it takes a long time to really see improvements in our physical clutter and our thinking. We welcome you! You are taking a bold step forward and you are not alone! Remember: Progress, not perfection! The information posted here, the tools, readings, phone meetings and resources support us all in our process to recovering from cluttering.