Time to Declutter Your Life, Your Mind and Your Heart
As I lay here thinking about the past and the future, I am mentally sorting and filing things away. After another year of life, everything from the house, to my room to my head are full of clutter and clutter creates chaos. And chaos makes it hard to find serenity in your life. And in this day and time, we all need serenity.
And so, we have worked on removing the clutter in the house and in my room to take some of the chaos away. I am big on serenity and calmness. I am also big on honesty, openness and authenticity. I am laying here looking around my room at the things many have given me over the past couple of years. Some are things I could never part with and some are things that belong in an album such as postcards or pictures and off my wall. My room looks really good now as things are thinned out, filed away, thrown away or given away.
Removing clutter from the mind is a different matter though. Do you ever have those race car nights as I call them? You know the ones where the same thought keeps circling the track over and over and over driving you crazy. When you are doing that, it is a sure sign you need to declutter and file away or replace with something new. And I am laying here with a note pad making a list of the things that I think I need to let go of and just release. You know those futile things that you wonder why you keep holding on to them in your head and heart because you know you are wasting your time. And yet they take you on the race track day after day.
I have a list of thoughts, beliefs, ideas, heart feelings, memories….that I want to keep close to my heart. They are still meaningful and I do not want to lose them. And I have another list of things that I have carried around for the entire year and probably longer: things that have weighed heavily on my heart, bring pain to my heart, and have fractured my faith in some ways. Those are things I need to release and get rid of. It is choice and sometimes it is a choice you make every minute of every day until one day, the pain is gone.
Many say “How do you do that?” It takes work and a lot of it. I can remember when I was badly hurt by someone about four years ago and I thought I would never EVER get over that hurt. I cried for days and days and days. I felt bullied, abused, betrayed and a whole list of emotions. Every time the world got quiet, my heart and head started the racetrack of “Why??”, “What if???”, “What did I do that was so bad???” And I literally almost made myself sick. And so, I decided that every time those feelings came up, I would write. And so I wrote and I wrote and I wrote of the hurt and pain, the depth of sorrow and despair and my grief. And then one day, I had nothing to say. It was no longer holding me in bondage. And my mind became still.
Now, when I declutter, I make a list of all the things that have rolled in my head and heart that I have not spoken or have spoken and not gotten any response, have tried to reconcile or resolve and not been able to. I make that list and then I start going through it. I force myself to decide which is really worth holding on to. Do I want to hold on to the hurt these words did to me? Do I want to hold on to the pain these actions caused me? Do I want to hold on to this anger, or this hurt, or this loss, or whatever? Is it really that important? And I think about how it is keeping me from joy. I have happiness in my heart but those kind of things either bring joy or sorrow.
Sometimes people carry around hope for some things so long they waste their lives and they wake up one day and wonder where all the time went and why did they not do something else. Sometimes people carry around the bitterness and hurt of other things so long they waste their lives. Sometimes people do the “What if??” and “Why??” over and over, they waste their lives. So, it comes down to what you can and can not do anything about. And what you can not do anything about, you have to either accept or toss. I know, that sounds easy. Well, I am here to tell you it is not but it is do-able.
I do the jar technique. I have a jar and when I am trying to declutter, every time the thought I want to quit thinking comes up in my head, I write it down on a strip of paper and stick it in the jar. Then I force myself to go do something totally different. When you first start doing it, you will find that you think about certain things way more than you realize when your brain is still cluttered up. I argued with someone I love dearly and it pained me because I could not figure out how to fix it. You know the kind of argument where both people are butt-headed and will not give an inch. Well, I was trying to declutter and did the jar thing. And I realized that this person meant so much to me that fifty times..yes, the big 50, the thought came to my mind in ONE day. It took me a while but I got where I could go through the day and maybe once it would enter my thoughts. A lot less clutter banging around in there.
Do not try to do a bunch at once. Pick one or two and do it for a week. And each time you have to write the slip of paper and put in the jar, make yourself go do something totally unrelated to the thought so that you break the train of concentration. Part of the problem is control and we hate to not be able to control what ever it is that is bugging us and part of it is that we are thinking with our hearts and not our heads and that makes it very hard because the emotions are so strong.
Feng Shui your head and your heart. If going places brings you grief, sadness, anger then change directions for a while. Fill your mind with beautiful things to replace those things. Every time you think of something that makes you angry, go clean or jog or take a brisk walk. Do something physical that overrides the emotion you are feeling and allow peace to penetrate. Create a space of serenity in your heart and mind. If being around certain people creates the chaos and makes you feel upset, stay away for a while until you can control the feeling with greater ease. The important thing is to declutter so that serenity can fill you up. It is a habit to let the race car take over and so you have to break it, just like you do when you break any habit.
If it is relationships, demand honesty, authenticity, kindness, compassion and understanding. Settle for no less because you deserve it. If it is other things, like work, business, etc, still demand honesty, authenticity, kindness, compassion and understanding. If they do not give it then change what you can and if you are still cluttered and unhappy, then make bigger changes. Decide what is important: the money or your health. Change what you can and accept what you can not. I can not change what is wrong with me physically but I can change how I deal with my health. And I can change what I am willing to accept from others.
It took me years to realize I was worth loving, was worth being treated good, was worth being a friend with, was worth being cared about and if I accept less than that, then I am only hurting myself. I give what I want in return: love, honesty, authenticity, kindness, compassion and understanding. My time is limited, my battle hard and my energy is only so much…so I have to choose what is most important to keep in my life. Just as you should choose what is most important to you. And if it is all giving and no getting, then it is time to re-evaluate the race cars thoughts in your head and declutter.
If you have to lie, play games, accept less than you deserve, love without being loved in return, or any of those things, then you seriously need to de-clutter your life and get it back down to basics. No money, no person, no place, no nothing can bring you happiness. You have to find it within your own heart before you can have the happy life you want. So, what do you need to declutter? Is life too chaotic for you? Are you still carrying hurt or bitterness or anger or any other negative emotion that burdens you down? Make your list and declutter now so that 2014 is the year of YOU!
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