When you move house as much as I do you develop a keen awareness of the burden of having too much stuff. Hauling it around is a right pain in the ass. Throw in a five year stint as a Professional Organizer, sorting through and purging other people's stuff, and you start to embrace the concept of letting everything go.
Building a big bonfire and burning it all has definitely crossed my mind.
But I'm a nester. Raised by an artist and a collector, I can't help but acquire a few pretty things here and there, especially when they hold some kind of meaning; a handmade gift from one of my boys, a piece of art from my mom, a cherished find from a remote village in the Peruvian jungle... all these little treasures add so much warmth and character to the abodes I live in, even if only for a short time.
I vividly remember when I got my first bedroom – all to myself, no longer sharing with my older brother, I was five. It was definitely the highlight of my year! If not that entire decade. I would re-arrange my furniture monthly and create little rooms within my room; under my bed, in the closet, or in makeshift forts built with chairs and sheets. I was working my nesting muscles even back then.
It was no surprise that I ended up becoming an Interior Decorator and Professional Organizer, I'd been practicing my entire life. It was my dream job.
But like most dreams, it eventually came to an end.
Mostly because I felt called to work with people in a deeper, more personal way. Rather than helping transform external environments I wanted to help with internal change.
But what I've come to learn is that often, the only way to access the inner work is by peeling away all those outer layers. Which usually includes cleaning out your shit; in your home, in your diet, in your work, in your relationships – in your life.
Peel away the excess in all aspects of your life and you're left with the core, the heart, the essence.
How about a little parable...
An apple after it falls from the tree only lasts for so long. Eat it and you gain the nourishment and energy of the fruit, leave it where it falls and it nourishes the ground and perhaps even grows into a new tree. Take it home and leave it on the counter for weeks, uneaten, and it rots, wasted. Regardless of the outcome of the apple, there was always a seed at its core with the potential to grow into a whole new tree. What in your life are you leaving to rot, unused, wasted? What can you pare down to its core so that the vital essence can illuminate itself, and perhaps grow into something energizing and nourishing?
I'm not just talking about stuff.
The food you eat is a huge contributor to whether or not your essence can shine brightly. Eating food that holds little or no nutritional value is the same as wrapping a nice layer of rot around your body, essentially masking your glow. While eating vibrant, simple, whole foods are a sure way to boost your energy, revitalize your life, and get your best glow on – illuminating you from the inside out. A whole food detox is a great way to pare down physically, and get you in touch with your essence.
The work you do, or rather how you do your work is another factor in creating a glowing vs dimmed life. Do you do your work with integrity? Do you enjoy it? Do you feel fulfilled by it or are you just there for the paycheck? We all have parts of our jobs/careers that we don't love but if you wake in the morning with a feeling of dread for the job you've got to go to, that is a sure sign you're carrying some rot around with you. Pare that shit down. Is it the job or is it a relationship with a co-worker or boss? Maybe you just need to make some small changes to improve your work environment; resolve a dispute, restructure a system that isn't working for you, have that conversation that you've been avoiding. Or maybe you are being called to do something different and it's time you took the leap.
Then there's relationships. We often stay in them long after they have started to rot, avoiding the upheaval, the disruption, the pain, the drama, the work. But how does that really serve either of you? Honesty is the key to avoiding the rot that comes with unaddressed issues, honesty and awareness, with yourself and your partner. This can be supported by a clean diet, a pared down home environment, and a balanced work life. All relationships go through transformations, recognizing that they may not happen simultaneously for both parties, and allowing space for independent growth is essential while keeping communication clear and honest. If it's longevity you're after then you have to have the courage to 'speak the unspokens' (never leaving shit to fester because that is the perfect breeding ground for resentment - the worst kind of rot). Tony Robbins and his wife, Sage Robbins break it down in this video.
Back to your home, when was the last time you cleaned out your closets, kitchen cupboards, bathroom cabinets? If there's stuff in there you haven't touched in over a year, you might want to consider getting rid of it. You'd be amazed at how much our physical possessions actually weigh us down. Cleaning out the excess in your home is an easy way to gain mental clarity, increase physical energy and access your inspiration. My favourite book on the subject, The Life–Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo, breaks it down in a very straightforward and succinct way, with step-by-step instructions.
So if you're feeling a little dull or you've noticed some stagnancy in your life, perhaps you want to consider doing some paring down.
What are you ready to let go of?
Letting go of something you no longer need inevitably makes room for something new to show up, whether it's a possession, a job, a new love, or a new idea, you've got to make room for it first.
Why not take some time this week to clean out a closet or two, or maybe it's your diet that needs some cleaning up or perhaps there's a relationship in your life that could really benefit from an honest conversation. Make some room in your life for something new and nourishing to show up.
Clear out some shit so you can get your glow on!