Make Room for the Extraordinary!
One of my favorite Spring-cleaning activities is to go through my closet and decide what to keep, what to let go, and what is missing. Over time, I have assembled a solid wardrobe from this editing process. I know who I am and what I love. As a result, my closet is a carefully curated wardrobe that I enjoy wearing, especially SHOES.
This was not always the case twenty years ago. Back then, I felt minimalism was the way to go. Initially, my move to become minimalist came from an overwhelming shame of my past. Raised in a stressful environment by parents struggling with personal addiction and codependency, I loathed everything about myself. When I left for college and moved to my own place, I threw out pictures, yearbooks, most of my memorabilia, even most of my clothes. I needed a “do over.”
Over time, I even went in the other extreme direction, hanging on to everything. This happened when I became a mom. Everything bathed in the light of unconditional love for my children (and perhaps too much estrogen) represented an important memory. I couldn’t bear the thought of letting it go – baby teeth, locks of hair, pacifiers, every single piece of art my children produced, and so on. Eventually, I realized how this was getting in my way and not serving me either.
Both of these acts of purging and hoarding have an internal connection, often these acts signify a deficit in self-worthiness. The stuff of life can hold energetic strings to our heart and cloud how we see ourselves if we allow them to do so. These things can often hold us back because we have our belief systems, ideas about our selves and others tightly wrapped around them. Some of us have an easy time Spring cleaning a house but find it difficult to Spring clean our lives of things holding us down. So, how can we cut the strings that hold us back? Here is a three-step process to help you move forward:
1) Identify the things that aren’t serving you.
One exercise that I did early in my healing journey was to write an inventory of everything that was bothering me. If you are in the midst of a situation or surrounded by things that are causing you to struggle, rather than think about the situation and the struggle, think about what it is that you would prefer. Grab a pad of paper, sit in a quiet spot and give yourself time to write non-stop about everything in your life that bothers you and how you feel about it. For example, “I hate my job!” followed by everything you dislike about your job. Hold nothing back and let the words flow. Next, rewrite how you would like each aspect of your life to be. Again, set no limitations and go big. You are rewriting your story
2) Give yourself permission to let go.
Next write yourself a permission slip to do what it is you desire whether it is letting go or taking the next step. It is a very simple, yet empowering tool. For example, maybe you recognize that you are tired and wish that you could say just say “no” because you are overwhelmed with too many requests to volunteer and help out. Write your self a permission slip to decline any volunteer request for the month of April and permission to not feel badly about it. Keep your permission slip with you so that every time you are about to cave in to take on one more activity, you can remind yourself that you have permission to nurture yourself say “no.”
3) Choose to be extraordinary.
God is calling each to live extraordinary lives. Sound intimidating? What does it mean to live beyond the usual and customary? The actual definition or picture of what that life may be is different for each one of us. Even the smallest act can be extraordinary as long as it is pushing or moving you to become better and better with each act. Kindly allowing someone in front of you in traffic, saying hello to a new person in church, choosing not to judge someone when we don’t feel comfortable with her choices. Maybe you usually tell yourself that you have not choice, deciding that you actually do have a choice is very powerful.You may feel incapable to change a situation, but you can always choose to see your situation differently. This aligns you with moving forward. The intent behind your choice is what grows you. Is your choice motivated by fear or love? Each choice arising from fear is keeping you stuck and sucking you down. Each choice arising from love will give your flight to move toward choices that build an extraordinary life.
Identifying things that align you with love, giving yourself permission to let go of what is holding you back and choosing to engage in loving choices will support you in living an extraordinary life. Happy Spring cleaning.