Wellness clearing: unlock the door to change
Abracadabrah! The magic words. Say them, and ‘poof’, magic happens. Or so the fairy tales and affirmation gurus tell us. Most of us understand that clearing clutter, getting rid of excess, and creating more space in our homes and offices is good for opening channels of energy. We understand this even when we resist. When we do get into a cleaning, decluttering frenzy, we feel better. However, some of us may be aware that no matter how much cleaning, de-cluttering, and purging of files, closets, garages, and attics we do, if we do not get to the root cause of the clutter, we are not removing the obstacles that block our energy. What is the key to removing the blocks to change in our lives?
Clearing excess materials, possessions, papers, objects, products, memorabilia, and other “stuff and junk” is the first step in activating a pattern of change. Nothing much will happen, however, if we don’t get to the heart of what is holding you and your energy captive. Our possessions and ‘stuff’ is a direct reflection of who we are, what we’ve done, where we’ve been, and who we have been with. It is what we did in the past, and it and the physical energy of all that stuff, stays with us. The energy connects us to the memories and emotions connected to the past. As long as we hold onto it, we are tied to that part of the past. Some of us love to hold onto good memories, and positive reminders of the past. That kind of energy can be nourishing, if we don’t become trapped and bound to it.
My cousin and I both taught for many years. When we each left teaching, we each brought with us boxes and boxes of papers and books we were just sure we were going to need again someday. Years later, those same boxes are sitting gathering dust and taking up space in our closets, basements, and attics. Most of us can relate to this experience. Over the holidays, I did a major purge of paper files and books in my home office, and I found just within the last year, I had accumulated far too much paper. In the last year, I completed two books and wrote numerous other articles, and wrote a number of guides for meditations and yoga classes. This is one kind of clutter that may be fairly easy to identify; it may not always be so easy to let go of. The reason being, a big part of our identity is tied to the work we have done, and letting go of it means that we have to let go of some of the good that was connected to that identity as well as whatever it was that led to us moving on.
Relationships and family connections also come with their own sorts of clutter and baggage (literally; I have some other people’s suitcases in my closet). When relationships end, either by death, divorce, or lack of interest, we may tend to hold onto parts of the relationship in order to keep from losing that piece of the past that was good or that was familiar and comfortable. Even when, and sometimes especially when, there has been some contention or ambivalence in a relationship with a parent, relative, or former partner, we may still hold onto pieces that we subconsciously hope will help us heal or make up for the pieces of the relationship that didn’t ever work, or connect.
Relationship memorabilia is difficult to get rid of, and we often feel ashamed or guilty for wanting to let go. Many of us have a hard time letting go or admitting that we did the best we could given the circumstances, and we can either carry the guilt and shame around with us for the rest of our lives, or we can make a conscious choice to identify the energy bandits, make peace with ourselves and the past, and release the objects that keep us connected to the energy of the past. One friend of mine, a woman in her late-80s recently shared with me that she still got upset about how her father treated her when she was a small girl. It got so bad sometimes that it kept her awake at night. When I looked at her house, filled with memorabilia, furniture, objects, photographs of her past, it was not surprising to me that it was difficult for her to let go of the past. In order for her to let go of the pain of the past, she would have to make some concerted effort to release her own energy from events that happened decades ago.
Hopefully, we can recognize the energy traps in our own lives, so that we do not drag our past around with us. Part of the process of spiritual and physical development and growth is to learn from the lessons of the past, to face and address the areas where we have been wounded or traumatized, and then find ways to create new experiences, and release the focus on the past. To begin a well-being clearing, start by spending some quiet time in meditation. Meditation is a time when as we attempt to quiet our minds and bodies, to find an inner stillness, we notice thoughts and feelings rising into our consciousness. When we are mindful with our meditation, much of what we have failed to release comes to the surface. Once we can identify those areas, we can begin to clear, cleanse, and energize ourselves to heal and grow. Start by walking around your home, and notice where your mind wanders and connects you to that which has not been taken care of. I can do this from where I sit, as I am painfully aware of the little nooks and crannies where stuff has gathered, waiting for attention, burial and release.
A well-being clearing can include clearing the spaces where you need energy to be flowing for a healthy life:
Clear the entryway (inside and out).
Clear and organize the bedroom. Make this a beautiful, restful retreat.
Clear the area where you spend the most time.
Clear the kitchen where you nourish and feed yourself, your family, and guests.
Clear anything or any space that is causing you irritation. Your irritation may be a drawer, a corner, a room, or something about the way you have organized things.
Clear and rid your home of anything you hate or are ambivalent about. It you don’t love it, let it go.
Ambivalence is often connected to something about how you acquired a piece. Notice, and be courageous in letting it go. I have a good friend who is always giving people gifts. She gives away things that are valuable and things that are not, but her act of giving, releases her of getting attached, and blesses herself and her friends with her generosity. Even if something is valuable or was given to you by a good friend or relative, you can let go of it. Your connection to the person is not in the object; the connection is with the person’s spirit. Just because something is valuable does not mean you like or need it. Be brave.
Clear items that connect you to pain, loss, failure, failed relationships. And I would add, clear items that connect you with past successes as well. The more connected you are to the symbols/material representation of the past, the less you are connected to the essence of the experience. Letting go does not mean you every forget; it simply means you don’t cling to something that is no longer in your present.
Clear out anything you don’t use (clothes, appliances, dishes, cookware, nick knacks, ‘stuff’.
What do you bring into your space to fill your home and life with energy?
Bring in color. I just bought two new forest green pillow cases, and it feels like I painted a whole room. It’s a beautiful touch of color and texture that makes my bedroom brighter and fresher. Add a splash of color with throws and pillows, flowers and plants, or candles and fabric.
Bring in more light. Open the windows, replace the drapes/curtains, open the curtains and let in the light. Even in the coldest days of winter, let some fresh air in, and on those icy sunny days, let the light in. Add some lighting fixtures (small, simple, inexpensive lamps) to areas of the house that are too dark. Move reading chairs near windows so you can spend some time each day near natural light. Replace lightbulbs with full spectrum lights. Use candles (natural or battery-operated) to provide a soft, romantic light.
Place major furniture according to Feng Shui principles, allowing for the strongest and clearest flow of energy. Desks and beds facing a doorway, but not in direct line of the door. Chairs and tables arranged so that guests do not have their backs to the door. Keep furniture aligned with good Feng Shui arrangement, and avoid clutter and excess throughout your house and office.
Seek balance and symmetry in your arrangements. Use mirrors and light to give a sense of greater space and openness.
To achieve emotional and mental well being, we need to do more than clear clutter in our homes and offices. We need to do a survey of our lives; how are we spending our time? We may have a perfectly energized and harmonious home and office, but still be living the life of a crazy person. Mentally walk through one of your typical days and then typical weeks. Use a calendar to map out how you spend your time. List everything you do. Include sleeping, preparing food, exercising, shopping, housework, work (for many of us, this takes up most of our time), entertainment (something besides television or social media), distractions (does include television and social media), socializing, volunteering, reading, commuting, taking care of other people, taking care of yourself, etc..
Next divide the day into time increments, and map out how much time you spend doing each activity. Notice what’s missing from your life. Notice what is taking too much of your time and energy. Make a new plan about how to include some of the healthier, life-giving activities into each day, each week, each month. Notice which areas of your life could be changed to do less of what you don’t like and more of what you do. Life is short, and you have a right to be happy, healthy, active, and engaged in relationships.
Consider what you need to release to get to a more optimum YOU. If you have been clearing clutter and wondering why nothing much has changed, you may want to consider what in the way you are living your life needs to be released so that you can begin opening yourself to the flow of energy and life. It is your life, and you get to decide how you want to live it.
If you find your are doing something you hate, know that it will not get better by itself. You need to take some action to make the changes to live a more healthy, fulfilling life. Live the life you love. You will find that the more you get rid of the clutter of the past, and acknowledge that you are releasing more than stuff; you are releasing a past version of you that needs to start being more present, happy, and fulfilled. Letting go of the past, allows you to be more mindful, grateful, and present right where you are.