Marcel Proust once wrote, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Each month with the passage of the New Moon we are reminded of the cycles of life and the choice we have to start anew. What does it mean to start anew? Anew means to do something or view something in a new and different way, manner, style. Taking a fresh approach to doing, thinking, being. As we observe this month’s New Moon (which also ushers in the Jewish Holy Days of Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur), we have the opportunity to take a fresh approach to the way we organize our homes and live our lives.
Home organization is about making our homes more conducive to the lives we live. If you are finding yourself just a bit overwhelmed with the shifting seasons, the return to school or the ending of summer vacations, it may be the perfect time to give yourself a little leeway to ease into the changes with a ritual of preparing for the future, finishing up the past, and getting grounded in the present. Here are some simple ways you can prepare to start life anew.
Preparing to start anew involves a cleansing or purifying process the setting of intentions, and the rooting of our beliefs, ideas, and desires into the reality of our lives...into walking our talk or living according to our beliefs. When we say we value harmony, but we live in a mess or with chaos, we are out of step with our true nature. Bringing harmony into our lives has to do with bringing our thinking, into alignment with our behavior, beliefs, and desires. How do we do that?
Releasing the Past. Have you ever let something go so long that it becomes a giant obstacle to doing some necessary task? Perhaps the dishes have piled up in the sink, and all your silverware or glasses need cleaning. Or perhaps your desk is so cluttered that you can’t find a necessary piece of information.
1. Take inventory. What needs to be finished? What debts need to be paid? What are you holding onto? For example, are you holding onto anger at someone who has upset you or have you not forgiven someone who needs your forgiveness? Identify anything that is left hanging in limbo. Have you thanked friends for having you to dinner, or have you finished the gift you started for someone special? Have you been needing to replace some outworn appliance or piece of equipment? Do the light bulbs need changing or the windows need cleaning? Make a list of what needs to be taken care of.
2. Take care of business. Once you have identified what needs to be taken care of, it’s time to take care of business. Prioritize your list, and set aside some time every day to work through the list. Pay bills, write letters or make phone calls that need to be made. Remember the energy we use holding onto a thought can drain us more than if we would simply take a few small steps and actions to get something done. Clean out the refrigerator, clean the window sills, and dust the cobwebs while there is still light to see them.
Take time for reflection.
3. Spend some time in reflection considering what has been working well in the way you are living and what is not.
4. Consider how you spend your time, and where you may need to change some of your behavior or choices. For example, in the summer our sleeping patterns may be different from what is required in the Fall. When summer activities end, we have new choices. Which activities might you give up and which ones do you want to carry forward into Fall? What have you been wanting to do that requires more time, and how might you find that time? For example, if you want to learn a foreign language, you might want to give up some activity and the resources you use for that activity to get yourself a language tutor and to allot some time to learning.
5.Pay attention to any unresolved issues that are holding you in place or threatening to burden you down if you carry them into the future. Make amends with anyone or any issue (self flagellation is a big problem for some of us) that is draining you of energy and blocking you from feeling more balanced in life.
Preparing for the Future.
6. Decide what matters. Be brutally honest, and decide what really matters most to you and what does not. We can do a lot, but we cannot do everything, at least not all at once. Prioritize by what matters, by how much time something will take, and by what resources you have to rely on.
7. Change your desires into intentions. It's my experience that once I decide what I really want, then I can invite in the opportunities, energy, and let go to let it unfold in my life. Once you decide on what your priorities are, set them down into intentions, clearly stating what you want. And by the way, dream big. Ours is an abundant Universe, and when we limit what we get by limiting our thinking, we often set our intentions too low. Set your intentions and expect that if your intentions are clear, serve others and yourself, you are very likely to see them begin to unfold. Watch for small indications (signs, intuitive, coincidence, synchronicities) that remind you your intentions are unfolding.
8. Imagine yourself succeeding with your goals. Some of us write down our intentions, while others make treasure maps or just daydream about seeing themselves achieving some goal. Every wonderful action started as an idea in someone's imagination. When you get up in the morning and make a decision to wear something blue, for example, you do so as a choice. The choice may be unconscious or it may be made with awareness...imagining what you will look like with that blue sweater and skirt. Use your imagination to nourish your dreams and intentions. Enjoy daydreaming about a better way to pot the plants or hang the artwork in your studio. Daydreaming connects us to our unconscious, out of which come wonderful ideas. Let them flow.
9. Make a vow to take some action on your own behalf every day. Make a promise to yourself or the Divine or your best friend. Vow to do something each day that will free you to be more yourself. I recall on one of my turning point birthdays, buying myself a small writing table. At the time I was working a more than full time executive job, and had only a little nook in my loft apartment to squeeze in a desk. I purchased the desk and got my friend Rosa to help me move it up a narrow little staircase. The desk was a vow to myself to devote my life to my writing. It is still one of my favorite places in the house to write. It sits before the window looking out at the river, and everytime I see it, I am reminded to do something each day in pursuit of something I say I value.
10.Stay grounded in the Present. Maintain practices that feed you, body, mind, and spirit. Meditate, pray, have a yoga practice, walk or swim, ride your bike or run. Take up kick boxing to work out aggressions, or learn something new that requires your full attention and presence. Practice mindfulness and live more fully in the present.
11. Have an attitude of gratitude. Be aware and thankful for the gift of life you have been given. Appreciate yourself, those who help you, those who teach you, and those who can do nothing for you. Live in grateful, mindful awareness. And don’t forget to breathe. Just breathe.