Our physical lives are cluttered and whether we realize or not:
so are our minds, souls, and entire beings.
It amazes me how full of stuff our lives can get. The accumulated mass of flotsam and jetsam that we often don't even see anymore so accustomed we have become to its presence. The "stuff" of life that instead of clearing out once and awhile; we simply add more to as the years go by.
We cling to stuff as tangible reminders of memories we have made long ago. We sigh as we pull out something that elicits a smile and a "remember when" story. We hold onto childhood blankets, kindergarten awards and blue ribbons we won for sports we probably haven't played in decades: because it's part of our history. Our memorials to times long ago that will never return except in the rare moments we look into the boxes collecting dust in the basements and attics.
It's not just trinkets and bobbles and tickets to the movie we saw on that first date with the "One." It's clothes we haven't worn in years, socks with holes in them that never made it to the trash, worn out shoes and pants we haven't fit into since high school but know one day... Our closets are overflowing, the cabinets in our kitchens full of pans we never use and that gadget we just had to have that's still ensconced safely in its box.
Our physical lives are cluttered and whether we realize or not: so are our minds, souls, and entire beings.
Awhile back I wrote about how my husband and I were starting an elimination diet and how I was taking it way further than just ridding my life of food that wasn't healthy for me. Read: "Going on a Life Diet" After some serious soul searching, I had come to the realization that there was a lot more than unhealthy food I needed to eradicate from my life. I also needed to shed unhealthy thoughts, relationships and anything that was no longer serving my heart, soul and happiness.
For the past few months, I have been mindful of the thoughts I think, words I say and my actions as I go about my day to day. I examined every close relationship I have and instead of glossing over the parts, however painful, that weren't working for me any longer – I got real. I had frank and honest discussions. I made clear where I was in my life and what I needed. Then, got to finding ways to either make things better or make the decision to move on. Some relationships got better for my raw honesty. Some did not. Sometimes, just like those pants from high school, we outgrow situations and relationships. It's incredibly important to be able to see this clearly. It's neither fair to you nor to the other person to not be all in.
I also made a promise to myself to simplify life as much as humanly possible.
Which meant disencumbering my physical world of the crap that no longer served a purpose. An astonishingly daunting, at times overwhelming and incredibly emotional task that I was only kind of prepared for. My husband and I went into this part of our life change with the mindset that we were doing a major clean out of not only useless things we have acquired over more than a decade of being together but also getting rid of everything that does not have a place in our future. A fresh restart.
While we appreciate our stories and all that we have been through to get to this moment – we have also learned that bringing all of it with us into tomorrow will rob our future of possibility. We keep the lessons, the happy memories and go forth with only the things we need. Wisdom to make better tomorrows. Strength to face inevitable challenges.“Remember whens” for those times when we feel like reminiscing. The magic is in our memories of the moments. Not in a half torn movie ticket, worn out hat from a Red Sox game we went to years ago or the full hotel receipt for our hotel charges on our honeymoon.
We started on the top floor and worked our way to the basement. No closet was safe; no box left unopened. We laughed. We cried. We got sentimental, and we shook our heads at our foolishness at some life decisions we have made over the years and what we thought was important to hold on to.
We decided to put a small box aside for those extra special keepsakes – cards from his grandmother, a treasured stuffed bear and irreplaceable mementos of loved ones we’ve lost along the way. But, only a few. I didn’t need to hang onto an old, incredibly ugly and broken lamp that my grandmother bought at Walmart years ago. He didn’t need the ripped t-shirt from a trip we took over eight years ago.
Over thirty bags to Goodwill and a massive dump run later – our life is in order both physically and spiritually.
Because while we were cleaning out and getting rid of stuff – we were saying goodbye to the past, letting go of so much sadness and getting reacquainted with our story. We’ve been through hell over the past few years. For a long time now thinking about our future or our dreams was just something we never did because we were too tired from just making it through the present moments.
Doing this was like a fresh new start. Out with the old. Gone is the clutter from our closets, daily reminders of how messy life has been. If it didn’t have a place in our house or use in our lives – we didn’t need it. Our lives and homes need open space because within that open space is possibility. It gives our minds a chance to dream of a future instead of clinging to the past. Tomorrow will happen, but we will never get back our yesterdays. Why hang on to constant reminders of that? Why be attached to what no longer serves a purpose in your life.
Look around your home and see if it reflects the way you feel about life, as our day to day lives have a way of manifesting our feelings and emotions. If we have too much negative inside our souls, it will translate into how we live. If our minds are cluttered and in need of a deep soul cleaning, chances are our homes and living spaces reflect that. Cluttered mind, cluttered home. You have to make the conscious decision to release old thoughts, old ways of doing or handling things and clean out your home to reflect the cleaning out of your life has a whole.
Our stories, our pasts are weaved into the fabric of our souls, we don’t need boxes and boxes of things to remind us, for we are living testament to our stories. If you don’t clean out the mind junk, the closet refuse or the piles of life’s flotsam and jetsam – you will, in essence, be telling yourself that you’re done. No more room for new memories or moments. No dreams to chase because there isn’t any room for them among the ghosts. If you don’t do these cleanouts once and awhile, you are cheating yourself.
It is amazing how much lighter one feels when they get their world in order. Everything in its place. Organized and simplified. Though I must say; I kept those pants I found. I guess all this eliminating has been working – they fit now.
My soul has a shine on it for the first time in maybe ever, it’s freeing and all sorts of spectacular.
Dust yours off, too. Make it sparkle.
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