During December I focused on cultivating calm and peace in what can be a hectic time. Some days felt more on target than others but what was surprising to me was really where that focus on calm and peace landed our family; it landed us cleaning and purging! Perhaps cultivating some inner calm made me see my external reality differently – it was time for a run – or a few – to Goodwill!
Who would have thought a New Year’s Eve cleaning closets could be so life-giving? Our guiding mantra was “New stuff in – old stuff out.”
After two trips to Goodwill, toys boxed away for potential grandchildren (our children are 7 and 4!), two large pieces of furniture up for sale on Craig’s List, and our daughter’s room completely redone here are the things I’ve learned which really relate to a wholehearted life:
- “Suppose to” probably isn’t a good reason to hold on to something.
- If looking at certain objects irritates me, I don’t need them in my life.
- It is O.K. to use the ‘nice stuff’ that I’ve been saving for the future; right now is the future. So, I took the TAG off the TWO placemats we received as wedding presents 14 - 14!!! YEARS ago and we started to use them. Can't believe it.
- I don’t want to be in bondage to stuff.
- Holding on to stuff won’t drive away inner scarcity; ever find yourself looking into your closet saying, “I don’t have anything to wear”?
- If something is ‘only a little broken’ it still is ok to ditch it.
Now, I’m embracing the idea of using the nice stuff until it’s the old stuff and when it has served its purpose getting rid of it. Honestly, it still is hard and somewhat awkward to hold a mug and decide because it has a chip I can part with it. But when I do, I feel freer.
We can do some cleaning out in our emotional lives too. Dr. Brené Brown talks about how ‘suppose to’ sucks the life out of us and the importance of clarifying what’s really important to us so we can clear out the attitudes and behaviors that clutter up our lives.
And, there are some should's I believe are from God. Shoulds that the Holy Spirit prompts us with, "I should call my friend." "I should send that email." You know that feeling - it comes out of nowhere but keeps coming back around. I got one the other day when I thought, "I should send this prayer I found on YouTube to so-and-so." Off I sent it - within 60 minutes both respondents had replied saying 'you don't know how much I needed this today." It wasn't a big mountain moving effort on my part; it was little and took only seconds but it blessed these women. These are the Godly shoulds; the ones that lead to deeper connection with others and isn't it fun to bless someone else because we listened to the 'should' from the Holy Spirit?