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Lighten up for Spring

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away (Antoine de St. Exupery)

Spring has made its second tentative debut this year, having detoured briefly back into a winter that just wouldn’t quit, in the hinterlands of Ontario. What I notice most is the sense of unburdening, or feeling lighter. There is less snow on my favourite trails, the feeling outside is cleaner and clearer, and I am no longer peering around massive snow banks in order to navigate the streets in my town.

I also feel lighter because I don’t have to wear so many layers of clothing just to take my pooch for a walk in the woods. There’s an overall sense of simplifying after the weight of winter.

more freedomIf the cycles of our lives are like seasons, then spring is a time of new energy: starting fresh with clarity and renewed purpose. It’s a time to simplify and unclutter our lives. It’s a time when the old growth still hanging around from last year makes way for new growth.

 Spring is when you feel like whistling, even with a shoe full of slush   (Doug Larson)

The notions of simplifying and uncluttering are nothing new – in fact they have spawned entire movements in the past decade. Perhaps the interest in simplicity stems from the powerful impact we experience when we’ve simplified something, even something small like that one crazy drawer in your kitchen that’s jammed full of stuff. (You just KNOW that all that stuff is really important, but you couldn’t for the life of you describe exactly what’s in there… ) Once you’ve tackled it, simplified, streamlined, restored some order, you feel lighter because the weight of the clutter has been lifted.

balance of holdign on and letting goLightening your load creates space. Space has a calming effect. Space also creates a vacuum, so that the symbolic act of cleaning out a cluttered space often results in attracting of something new into your life.

Lightening your load frees up energy. That exciting feeling of anticipation in spring is extra energy that we have because we’ve been released from the burden of winter. We’ve been dormant and storing our energy and now it’s time to get ourselves out and spend some of that energy.

Simplifying and uncluttering results in results in greater speed and agility. It frees up resources you need to operate more efficiently, the same way your computer functions better when you unclutter the hard drive. A lighter load also increases your acuity and increases clarity so your intuition is strengthened….you create space and energy for new ideas and concepts to germinate.

spring cleanHere are some ideas to get you started:

  • Clear away the things that no longer serve a useful purpose: clothing, books, furniture, paper, anything that you haven’t used recently. Simplify and streamline your physical environment so that it nourishes and supports you. Recycle and donate what you can to a local shelter or other charitable organization.
  • Re-examine relationships that no longer serve you: is there someone in your life who consistently drains your energy? Are you seeing people out of a sense of obligation instead of joy? Are there people in your life who you might describe as emotional vampires?
  • Let go of commitments and obligations that you continue to honour because you feel you should, rather than because you want to
  • Clear mental clutter by examining your priorities and moving away from patterns and habits that don’t fit with those priorities.
  • Clear out the clutter in your heart. Do what it takes to complete with old relationships and clear out memories and regrets that drain your energy. Is there something you need to say to someone in your life that’s cluttering your heart?

simplicity is sophistication

Invitation

What’s weighing you down? What no longer serves any purpose in your life? What’s muddying the picture so that you’ re not clear about where you are and where you’re headed?

Consider identifying one area in your life where you can clear away clutter and then go ahead and lighten up. It can be something small like the bathroom cabinet, or something big like an obligation or relationship.

Notice how much lighter you feel once you’ve completed the task. How is your  energy? What have you made room for in your life?

Get ready to attract new people and opportunities into your life! Happy spring.

happinessResources for You

The Minimalists: http://www.theminimalists.com – Inspiring site and blog  about living a meaningful life with less stuff.

Project 333: http://theproject333.com – a project that looks at how to create a “capsule wardrobe” and decrease stress, save time and energy in the process. “Simple is the new black”

Clear your clutter with Feng Shui, Karen Kingston. Still my all time favourite book about clearing clutter… a great, inspiring read for anyone who wants more breathing space in a literal and spiritual sense.