Nature Knows to Clean Enough Space to Let in the New

clean beach

The beach today is clean and the ocean smooth as glass. The tide has come in sometime in the last 24 hours with enough strength to wash the beach clean and carry away the debris on the shore. The ocean is offering up its stillness in readiness for the new waves and the tide that will return.

As I write the first blog of this new year my thoughts are about how I am using my “space”. In December during a meeting of a course creators’ community to which I belong, I participated in a presentation by a colleague on the process of using Feng Shui practice to improve the work flow and effectiveness in one’s work space. The presenter, Mark Ainley, is a Contemporary Feng Shui Consultant. His web site is www.senseofspace.com.

It was a fascinating and thought provoking presentation. For me the “Aha moment” happened when Mark suggested, “When you clear away the old, you make room for the new to come in.” Immediately I felt the significance of this regarding my dissatisfaction of not making enough progress with my projects, and how difficult it had been lately to focus and enjoy getting my work done.

Aha, I thought. This is the key to what I know is necessary for me; it is to get rid of useless “stuff” not only physically in my work space but also, emotionally in my life space.

This can mean several categories of old “stuff”, anything we cling to for no good reason: paper, plastic, metal, glass, clothing, habits, assumptions, biases, and emotional reactions.

The first five are easy to cull and to throw out; it only takes time, energy, acceptance of dust, and challenging the significance of any old attached memories.

It is harder to deal with the rest. It feels like these are part of an old ME. Although these might have served me well in the past, I now need to ask, “Do they continue to do so?” Perhaps that is the key question to ask when making decisions to keep or throw, and to truly know that if it doesn’t support me or serve me in my life now, let it go.

Regarding the last four, the principle is the same though, is it not? If any of these have become non-serving, they are only taking up head space.

Habits are learned behaviours and some may be important to keep for health or safety reasons but if not, can they be examined for their unnecessary repetitive nature? All assumptions need assessment for current worth. Something experienced in the past may have led to reasonable adoption for future guidance but life around us changes. We experience it differently, and so can choose to throw away old assumptions and allow new understanding to enter. Biases deserve evaluation. They may be preventing us from seeing a different point of view. If we first identify them and set them aside, we can learn.

Emotional reactions are the hardest of all and are also linked to the past. Old wounds, hurts, and resentments, can also be sorted and discarded, if our emotional reactions are not giving us the results we would like to have. Why keep them around, especially in plain sight, if they continue to hurt, affect, and diminish the happiness we can have.

I am going to think about all this as a cleaning process, a process of creating space for new adventures. If anything I am keeping in my life does not support the most joyful and learning environment then I want to give it away or throw it away.

Here are the questions I am asking myself:

  • Is this something I want to keep? If so why? Will I use it again? If so, file it. If not, throw it or give it away.
  • Does it make me happy? Does it add or subtract to my life?
  • Is it heavy? Is it burdensome and does it hold me back from some pleasure, some joy, some new level of joyful living?

Bottom line? If I can open up new space and be happy without it, then it is garbage and not useful to me, perhaps to someone else, but not me.

What I want more than anything else as I look ahead to this New Year is to get rid Of “STUFF”: paper, plastic, old ideas, old ways of thinking, emotional demons.

The objective is clear. Do, Think, Be, Read, Watch, Feel ONLY those things, feelings, activities that bring me joy.

What questions are you asking yourself as you begin this new year? How do you free up space to allow the new to enter? Please share your thoughts. I would love to read your replies.

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  • Leslie Moon says:

    What a beautifully written, thought provoking piece. I continue to need so much work on this – in my physical world, yes, but more so in my brain. What will I do this year to help alleviate the constant anxiety I feel? One thing is to not hold it in and give it more power. But, there needs to be more, for sure. Thank you for this. And Happy New Year!

    • Leslie, Thanks for your identification of another “space” consumer, anxiety. That’s a hard one to evict. How would you describe a more joyful resident as replacement?

  • Hi Judith – yours is the second post I’ve read this week that mentions Feng Shui – maybe it’s having a revival?? I loved how you translated it into clearing space – especially mental and emotional space. I’m a minimalist, so I don’t have clutter at home, but my mind has held onto old stuff that I’ve been slowly discarding and with it the emotional baggage that attaches itself to old beliefs and memories. It’s very refreshing to have clear space to live and think.

    • Leanne, Since I follow your blog I know something of the journey you have been on. There is such serenity in your writings of a peaceful clearing out of the old to allow the new to come in.

  • This is so powerful, Judith. As the teacher of the course you mentioned, I was lucky enough to hear Mark’s original presentation to the group. Your insightful reflections have helped me gain even more understanding of both his teachings and yours. Thank you for these wonderfully deep and refreshing reflections on what to save, what to keep, and how to know the difference!

  • Yvonne says:

    If you’re taking up space in my head, you should be paying rent. One of the best lessons I’ve learned and continue to live by.

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