When my mind is cluttered and I cannot focus, I look for something to throw out.
A few years back I became a de-clutterer. De-cluttering the space around me and de-cluttering my body leads to the prize, which is a clean brain. And what is a clean brain, but one that works efficiently and with acuity. The idea behind clutter is that everything you have should be useful and should have its own place. Useful things must be cared for, looked after, kept clean, and put away for next use. A less perfunctory way of explaining it, as I read in the book that first influenced this behavior of mine, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, is that one should only keep things that are sacred, thereby making life sacred. De-cluttering is a method of eliminating the proverbial chaff from the wheat.
Throwing things out makes way for the new. If something is meaningful, useful, and sacred, then it stays in our life and we care for it. But the rest is our past, quite literally, and it keeps us locked there, unable to live in the present moment, ready for new ideas, new experiences, and new abundance. To make life sacred is the true nature of abundance, to feel more gratitude with less stuff.
If you look at the life of hoarders, who by nature are unhappy, you can trace their lives back to a specific moment, event, and year, when their lives essentially stopped and the hoarding began. As long as they hoard, they will be kept in that moment where time stopped. There can be no future in this scenario because there is no ability to enter the present moment.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness?
Saucha, the first niyama, or observance, mentioned in Patanjali’s yoga sutras, translates to purity. Literally this means to clean the body. We wash off the day after work, we wash off the sweat after exercise and we feel cleaner than we did before, we feel fresh, all the way into our organs and our blood. New energy is the result of de-cluttering.
The relationship I have with “things” in my life has changed since taking on de-cluttering years back. I now think long and hard before I purchase something. I want to know that it will last, that it will work efficiently, that its texture pleases me, and so on. I have thrown away so many things in my life that I used very little, but spent money on, that now I part with my money far less on material objects. As Robert Kiyosaki says in Rich Dad Poor Dad, “people turn their cash into trash”.
A life uncluttered is something I strive for, but it did not come naturally. It is a practice, like many of the best things in life. It can be exhausting in the beginning, but soon becomes a daily habit. I encourage you to go out today and find a box, a pile, or a junk drawer, and push the envelope of what you are compelled to throw away or donate to charity. Enjoy the satisfaction of a life uncluttered. And see what else gets the opportunity to enter. Perhaps it will be an experience, or a person, that you otherwise would not have had room for.