By Alice Chera CPCC, ACC
Ah, January. The month of resolve. Fresh starts for a brand new year, where declarations of “this time I will do it!” populate the minds of so many. Each passing year, the reflective sweep of December’s end throws open the door to an optimistic January whose crisp vision of the year ahead lures us with a renewed call for positive change. A better job, regular exercise, earning more money, a loving relationship…knocking off those last 5 lbs. Whatever the case may be, the first few weeks of January are a time of action and determination.
Well somewhere between January and February something does change. Studies say that only 8% of people actually accomplish their New Year resolutions. So exactly where do we go wrong? In considering my list of New Year’s resolutions I came upon what I believe is the answer to that question. It lies in preparation. Consider this: when contemplating change or reaching for a goal, in order to receive the intended fruits of your efforts, there has to be a corresponding internal space that will accommodate what you are seeking. You must ready your insides to welcome the new.
Hence, my New Year’s resolution for 2017: Spiritual Decluttering.
In “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” Marie Kondo introduces us to the psychological and spiritual benefits of decluttering and organizing our homes. This, she asserts, is the key to inviting more manageability and joy into our lives. She started a trend that has yet to subside. But in the less tangible domain of our inner world, a cluttered spirit is not as evident as a closet stuffed with our grandmother’s old wardrobe or a sink stacked with dirty dishes.
Just as the state of our home requires continuous attention, successful change requires an equally astute assessment of our mental and energetic landscape. We need to inventory our belief systems, thoughts patterns and daily habits to see if they are aligned with the direction of our goals. Spiritual decluttering is a dual process of releasing what no longer serves us and managing our internal space. By identifying the blocks and resistances that keep us from following through on our commitments, we can make the decision to discard the unnecessary and adopt a mindset that opens the path to change.
Here are some ways to begin the process of creating more spiritual space so your intentions and goals can have a healthy environment in which to flourish.
- Inventory your beliefs and clear any emotional residue from the past. This is especially important if you say you want something but find yourself continuously struggling to achieve it. Competing beliefs, such as wanting to earn more money (money= more freedom) but also having a belief that people with lots of money are not spiritual or humble, will prevent you from advocating for that much deserved promotion or raise. Outdated or inherited belief systems, mental habits, and limiting thought patterns often block abundance and prosperity from entering our lives. We need to look at our belief system and hold on to the beliefs that uphold our own personal values, not the values imparted to us by others which have no meaningful connection to. We also must watch that we don’t attempt to welcome the future with our arms unconsciously wrapped around our past. Let’s face it, if you are blocked by unresolved emotional baggage from past romantic relationships- Prince charming may never find his way to your door. Worse, he might actually get there, but you might be afraid to open it.
- Let Go
Once we have taken an inventory of the things we need to discard, then we can begin the practice of letting go. This not only applies to beliefs and thought patterns from the past. Here we must look at the daily mental chatter that we allow into our minds. Letting go of worry, over-thinking, limiting self-talk, judgements, and fixed ideas, invites faith and new perspectives, the precursors to growth and change. Be choosy about where you place your focus, and the quality of your thoughts. The law of attraction says that what you seek is seeking you. A mindset of negativity, lack and limitation begets more of the same. Your spiritual space is sacred. Be sure to choose thoughts that support the positive outcomes you are seeking. Telling yourself you will never lose weight because you have no willpower is not going to encourage you to eat less and exercise more. Replacing damaging thoughts with positive affirmations such as “I am learning to eat healthier every single day” rewires your brain to accommodate the new behaviors that will make a healthy body a reality.
- Don’t take on too much. An expansive life requires space. The more you do or think you have to do, the more you pile on your energetic and mental plate. This leaves less space for the repetitive actions you will need to practice to implement new behaviors. Learn to prioritize and manage your time wisely. What is the most important thing you need to do for this day? Choose 3 things in order of importance and let go of the rest. Tomorrow is another day. Trust it will be taken care of. This will keep you open and available to carry out the duties around your intentions and commitments. Reversing old habits and cultivating change takes energy, patience and sustained action. If your mind is scattered by too many distractions, you won’t have the focus required to take the daily actions necessary to achieving your goals.
- Make a regular habit of rest, self-care and play. Consider fun, play and downtime, Vitamin C for the soul. When we take the time to unplug and nurture the kid that resides in us all, it is a natural and effortless cleansing of the spirit. Rest and play prevent the tentacles of resentments, worry, and fear from taking root in your mind and robbing you of your serenity. Overworking and pushing yourself past your limits saps you of the energy needed to keep you inspired to move forward with your commitments. Unlocking your spirit with creativity and play creates space within and is the necessary nourishment which brightens the soul.