This past weekend we celebrated Easter here in South Africa and I had an awesome time with the kids. Having had more than my fair share of chocolate Easter eggs, I also gave some thought to where I’m heading this year. For me Easter is all about rebirth and transformation – the old body dies and a new body is resurrected from the dead. Thinking about this transformation got me into action to get rid of “old” things that were no longer serving me. Translation – I did a massive letting go and “spring cleaning” throughout my house and possibly even my mind. I discovered some really interesting lessons along the way.
1. Letting go of stuff can be hard. Like some of the photographs from high school and some of my kids art works. There is such a strong emotional connection to some of those things and I found myself questioning why I’m holding on to them. The memory will always remain with me and I can call it up whenever I want to, yet the physical aspect of those memories were really quite difficult to let go of. The entire process of clearing out unleashed some emotions I was not prepared for – sadness, joy, surprise, irritation, fear and hope all mixed into a melting pot of possibility. Clearing out the physical stuff allowed me to also clear out some emotional baggage I’ve been holding on. How did I do this? By forgiving. Forgiveness is the quickest way I know to take back your life and your energy. Forgiveness is for you, not really for the other person. When you forgive you let go of the emotion.
2. Letting go of stuff can be easy. Yep. Especially those ugly old pants that don’t fit anymore and the gazillion arts and craft stuff that’s been gathering dust. Also, old linen that my kids have outgrown and no longer suit their needs. And the weights that I’ve been using as a door stop, instead of for exercise. Surprisingly I found renewed energy as I was throwing away some old goods that have been irritating me for years ( yep, I grew up with the mindset of “let’s keep it, just in case”). No more keeping things for just in case. Here’s a tip: If you haven’t used an item in six months, chances are you won’t be using it in the next six months either. Let it go. Give it away. You don’t need it. And no, you are not wasting.
3. Letting go brings freedom from...Getting rid of physical things created a sense of relief for me. Relief in that I no longer need to maintain, keep clean, store or insure that particular item. There is a sense of freedom, an ability to breathe and release.
4. Letting go brings freedom to…It is such a wonderful feeling to open a cupboard and see open spaces in between. I can now choose to fill those spaces with things that would really serve me or I could just leave those spaces open. For now, I think I’ll be leaving them open. Having created more space makes me feel like I have more choices and more options. It brings with it a certain lightness. From past experience I know that letting go of stuff creates opportunities for new things to come into your life, especially in business. I’ve seen this many, many times.One of the quickest ways to experience a shift in your business is to change your physical environment. (I’ll deal with this in a different blog post altogether.)
5. Letting go highlights some ugly truths. In looking at the things I’ve been gathering, I’ve realised that I have been going through a big part of my life half asleep – not being conscious of my actions at the time. Why else would I have 5 red zippers and 12 green zippers stashed in a cupboard when I’ve never made something red or green in colour? Or why would I have 15 different ice making trays? (What the hell was I thinking? – clearly I wasn’t.) How was it possible to have all this stuff in my house and not even remember buying them? What was the gap that I’ve been trying to fill for so long? I’ve had to confront the idea that I’ve been using “retail therapy” as a way to compensate for my own insecurities. Some people use food, for me it’s been shopping. Shopping for little things that I don’t need, but getting one hell of kick when I’ve made a purchase.
6. Letting go frees up more time. The throwing out of stuff also extended as far as my e-mail in box and social media. I unsubscribed to a whole host of newsletters, because there is only so much a girl can read. Some of the ideas I’ve outgrown and it is time to move on. I also focused my attention on integrating blog posts and the various social media platforms so that I can manage them all from one single platform, instead of having all sort of bits and pieces everywhere. This means less time having to update all the different websites, blogs, facebook pages, linkedin pages, etc. I’ve got nice little “command control” system going.
How long will all this last? Who knows. For now I’m committed to being more awake. To paying attention what I allow into my life and my home. To really focus on my dream plan for this year of creating a life that rocks.