“The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are.” Mother Theresa
Do you always do your spring cleaning? Is your life cluttered to the point that you feel it controls you rather than you controlling it? How much are you willing to simplify?
I just finished reading Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild. It is the story of her trek along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to Portland, Oregon, traveling with only the pack she could barely carry on her back. While the book touched me in many ways, her journey, living months with only what she could carry, particularly resonated with me.
Letting Go of the Old
Since spring, I have had an overwhelming desire to clean out the clutter in my life—not just the physical stuff, but activities I no longer enjoy as well. I had to skip my usual spring cleaning this year because writing my book was so intense and time-consuming that I had time for nothing else. Now at the end of summer, it has become almost an obsession to get the cleaning out done.
When I feel energy pressing against me in this way, I know it’s a signal that I need to pay attention and take the step it is pushing me toward. There is something good around the corner that I must make room for. I must clear out the old and make room for what is to come.
The irony is that my house is not cluttered. I have a lot of books in bookcases with paintings and stones placed around, but they are all arranged neatly and not excessive in number. Even my closets are neatly arranged, but I have a large number of files containing information on the past that I no longer need. So why am I having such a difficult time letting go of this?
Letting Go Creates Fear
Letting go creates a vacuum and that often feels uncomfortable. It may feel like a loss and remind us of painful losses we’ve experienced, and we may feel fearful about what will replace the stuff, or friend, or activity we have released. So, part of letting go of the clutter, in our houses or our minds, is letting go of the fear that we will need it, or not find a friend or activity that is more beneficial to replace it. My fear almost always is the same—I’m afraid I might need it again.
Clearing Clutter Allows Us To Grow Spiritually
H. G. Chissel, a feng shui practitioner, says, “Clutter is a physical manifestation of fear that cripples our ability to grow.” We can’t grow when we’re stuck and attached to the past. What we need now in our lives may be very different than what we needed five or ten years ago.
Why do I find it so difficult to let go of the medical files from the years when I had chronic fatigue? When I explored this, I discovered that I was afraid I might have a relapse, that the new doctor might need these files. But this is irrational because I’ve been free of the condition for over ten years. I know what caused it and what cured it. I live a life based on that knowledge and am very healthy.
We draw to us what we focus on, so the best way to insure that I don’t need those files is to let go of them, to affirm that I know I am healthy and know I will not be ill again because I have changed the circumstances that created the illness in the first place. Hanging on to old ideas like this only keeps us attached to it, and, as Chissell said, “cripples our ability to grow.” Just as Cheryl Strayed had to let go of emotional as well as physical burdens on her journey, I have had to do that in my life and chronicled that spiritual journey in my book Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness. The more I have been willing to let go of what no longer serves me, even if letting go is painful, the more I am freed to find what truly serves me.
Creating A Place For What We Need Now
When I envision having cleaned out all the extra stuff in my files, I feel weightless and excited because I feel free. I am surrounded by light and am joyful. There is now space in my life for new activities, new friends, contemplation, and new stories to write. This space I have cleared makes room in my life for what I need now. It is a transition from the old to the new, and I am excited about the new things that will come into my life because I trust that what I need will come to me.
What have you let go of lately that was difficult to release?
© 2012 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5