In the last week, the idea of creating space has come up over and over, both metaphorically and physically. When I wrote “Clean Your House, Clear Your Head,” I mentioned that any type of clutter zaps your energy, and often we take on more and more until “the room” is full. But when you begin to de-clutter your space it surprisingly allows for new things to happen in your life.
The idea most recently showed up within a retreat I co-facilitated last weekend, Live Life in Full Bloom. It was a wonderfully rich women’s retreat in the vibrantly blooming hills of western Massachusetts. We guided the group through activities that helped them design what their lives might look like if they lived in full bloom, searching for what’s next on their horizons. Then we looked at those ideas from every angle, as they continued to deepen them and begin creation of their life’s canvas. It is Springtime, after all. Time to bloom!
But before anyone can take on more in their lives, there’s always something that needs to be let go. It isn’t wise to continue to pile more on top of what’s already there. That’s stressful. So our first activity involved reviewing the reality of our present lives and finding the things we loved, and those things we less-than-loved. Weeds in the garden of life are expected, but once we know they’re there we can pluck them out. Step one: create space.
On another occasion, I met with a client who has a lot on his plate. Jack was often away from his family, flying from one locale to another, missing sporting events and even his wife’s birthday last year. He wanted more but his days were full. We talked about the idea that there is no magical gem out there in the world that would fix this, and searching for that was a fruitless effort. That’s the concept of trying to add one more thing on top of what’s already there – too stressful! And in Jack’s case it was looking for a new job before actually knowing how things might change. Some would call this, “jumping from frying pan into the fire.” I asked Jack to track his daily tasks and he consistently found two hours of solitary freedom he could give himself; it didn’t matter if he was on a trip or at home. Early morning was “his” time. Creating space.
Once we stop filling our time with the things that keep us busily distracted, anxious, sidetracked, and confused, we can give ourselves a space where we can do whatever we want. So, what would you do with two free hours every day? Even a nap is a better choice than hunting for a quick fix.
It’s very cool to look at your life through the “Clutter” lens and begin to pluck out those things that don’t serve you. When you begin to laser-focus on getting rid of stuff, you’ll be surprised how freeing it feels! And “stuff” includes people, places, and things. We all have a vision for what we want our lives to be, and we can change our minds at any time. Every new season, every new challenge, calls us to reveal a new piece of ourselves so that we may rise to the occasion of change, for the sake happiness.
Often, I ask clients: What is the area of most discontent on your living space? No matter what they’re grappling with, clearing that particular physical space is their first step. Again, it’s a surprisingly powerful and weird way to proceed, but it always smoothes the way of real change. That vase, given to you from your grandmother and sitting on that shelf for 20 years, it’s not your grandmother. Give it the honor it deserves and let it go. Make room, dynamic change is on its way!