August is nearly here and whether we like it or not, things are going to slow right down. Especially this year with Ramadan falling right in the thick of it! So why not accept this and use the time to reflect on how far you’ve come and plan for how you’re going to move forward. The best place to do this from is a clear space so why not use the last weeks of July to clutter clear and get rid of the clutter and debris accumulated over months, or sometimes even years?
While you’re at it why not think about de-cluttering your life too. Exactly the same as physical clutter, mental clutter gets in our way, looks horrible and generally depresses us. We waste time and energy dealing with it that could be better spent on planning and achieving goals, learning new skills or, perhaps most importantly, having fun. Feng Shui has a theory that the outside of your life reflects the inside, so if your physical home is looking a bit cluttered think how cluttered your mind is!
But while physical clutter is easy to identify – those piles of old papers, clothes you will never wear taking up space in your wardrobe, those boxes of CDs you have never quite got around to putting in their rack, the raffle tickets that never came up but still line your handbag – mental clutter is a bit harder to pinpoint.
Sometimes mental and physical clutter are the same thing – that pile of books you know you should read but have never got around to, the application form for that course you know will transform your career, the phone numbers of people you have met and never got back to, the clothes you will fit once you get the diet thing right. The list goes on…
But pure mental clutter such as grudges or resentments, ideas that no longer serve you and thought patterns you no longer have use for, they are a little more difficult to identify but clearing them can really move your life forward.
So what to do?
Well, as it’s easiest to identify, start on the physical stuff first.
Take a realistic look at that pile of books. Are you really ever going to read them? Be honest with yourself. If the answer is yes but I don’t have time, put them to one side and plan to read one for 30 minutes every day, just 30 minutes, no more, when you do nothing but read that book. You will be amazed at how quickly you get through them. If the answer is no, put them in a box and immediately take them to your nearest second hand book store or charity shop. But please don’t come home with more clutter! Or maybe give them to a friend who can read them for you and tell you all about them!
Fill in that application form. You may not have absolutely decided that the course is for you and that’s why you are holding back, but filling in the form isn’t going to commit you to anything, it’s just a first step. So do it now, and resolve to do some more research while you’re waiting for a reply.
Gather up all those phone numbers and business cards and decide to call at least one or two of them every day just to say hi. Think how pleased you would feel if someone you enjoyed meeting ages ago suddenly called you up. Maybe you are worried they won’t remember you, that’s a possibility but the chances are if you remember them they remember you. And if they don’t, well so what? If they can’t remember you they can’t embarrass you either! If you don’t know what to say then write yourself a little script – it might go something like “Hi, this is ****, we met at that party on the beach last August. Well I’ve been doing some clutter clearing and I came across your number and I thought I’d call you and say hi” The worst that can happen is you get to throw out all those old numbers, the best is you get a whole bunch of new friends.
Now have a think about the pure mental clutter that is slowing down your progress. We all have habitual thought patterns that are so much part of us that we never even question them. Some of them are harmless but some really hold us back. The belief, for example, that in times of stress chocolate makes you feel better. Does that belief really serve you, or is it holding you back on your quest for fantastic health? Think of some of your habitual beliefs and identify the ones that are not serving you. These beliefs will keep popping up but if every time they do you ask yourself “Is this belief really serving me?” and answer the question honestly, eventually they will stop having any power over you. It’s also important to replace a non-serving belief with one that does serve you. That way whenever the non-serving thought pops up you can immediately replaces it with something positive.
What grudges and resentments are you still holding on to? Some people just can’t let go of things that happened years ago and their lives are a often a sad reflection of this. Forgiveness is the most powerful of all emotions. If someone hurt you or caused you problems in the past, forgive them, take what you learned from the experience and move on. Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning the behaviour, what it does mean is letting go of the power a past event has to cause you hurt.
This is a great time to decide what it is you really want in your life. We all have only 24 hours in a day but the people who are happiest, healthiest and even wealthiest are those spend time on the things they have decided are important to them. Decide what you want – really really want, not just what you think you can get, or what other people tell you that you should want. Write it all down and them make a plan for making it happen. If you can’t do everything you want then make a timetable. You will be amazed at how quickly things are achieved once you do this! You probably don’t have time to go to the gym, learn to ski and go out with your friends every day so plan your week, or month or year in a way that you do get to do these things without getting stressed about them! If it’s important to you, you will find time, and if you don’t find time then maybe it’s not as important to you as you thought!
Living a clutter free life is a great thing to aim for but it will take time to get it right. You will throw out things you didn’t mean to, and things you keep will turn out to be a waste of space but remember, clutter clearing is about making space for new and exciting things in your life!
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