It’s the last weekend before Diwali, the ‘Festival of Lights’, and almost every Indian household is probably busy clearing up their home. This entire process is said to create positive energy and make way for the goddess of abundance, Mother Laxmi. It’s no surprise that several cultures around the world pay so much attention to the process of decluttering. Native Americans, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern traditions have believed that clutter blocks the flow of life. After all, everything in our space is energy.
Not just traditions, but even modern wellbeing experts advocate dropping the excess baggage — be it physically or mentally, in order to live a happy life.
Best-selling author and New York-based clinical psychologist Dr. Shefali says, “The amount of clutter in our lives reflects a false sense of self.” She explains that we tend to associate all the possessions we have accumulated to our sense of identity. But in reality, our true self can only emerge in minimalism, once the excess baggage is removed and the clutter is cleared.
Anything that we no longer need, want, or use is clutter — either physical, mental or emotional.
Physical clutter seems to have a life of its own. It just multiplies without much effort on our part. Over the years, we buy new clothes, shoes, sunglasses, gadgets, and might forget that some old belongings need to be removed, donated, or sold. Notice the key word here, “belongings”? These items have belonged to us, they feel like “ours”, hence, we find it hard to abandon.
Classic clutter items include:
• Old magazines, papers, newspapers
Do you really refer to them?
• Clothes you haven’t worn in one-two years
Many people keep them thinking they’ll fit, if and when they lose/gain weight. Do you do that too?
• Sentimental items, which are broken
Do you really want to remember your beloved grandma with her broken watch? She lives in your heart, don’t attach her memory to just a material possession. Yes, I know, this is super personal, so take as long as you need, but do recognise the truth in this.
• Baby clothes
I know how adorable these are, but isn’t it even more heartwarming to allow another little baby to look cute in them? Donate/give away/pay it forward.
Release what you don’t need. Clearing your physical space adds newer, higher frequency energies in your home. But remember the old saying, “Don’t let your pots shine brighter than you”. Sorting out clutter doesn’t end here. We all bear mental and emotional clutter too, and that needs a bit of deep-diving.
Did you know that on an average we have 60,000 thoughts a day, of which 70 per cent are repetitive? Mental chatter often feels like a broken record playing the same track over and over again. What are the thoughts that keep looping in your mind? Are they empowering you?
• Limiting beliefs
“I’m too shy, I can never lead a team”, “I will never get into an IVY League college”, “I am not good at math”, “I am too old to find a life partner”.
• Unhelpful stories we have told ourselves all through our lives
“Money doesn’t grow on trees”, “A good job is never easy to find”.
• Victim mode
“I am not an MBA, I can never succeed”, “I have too many responsibilities, I can’t focus on what I truly want”, “My parents never pushed me to work harder/my parents pushed me too hard”, “It’s too late for me to follow my dream”.
Releasing mental clutter needs dedicated effort because it means dissociating yourself from the story you’ve been telling yourself. Who will you be without those stories?
Because emotional clutter is linked tightly to our emotions, there’s an energetic attachment that binds us to them. Quite the opposite of “no strings attached”, as this is all about being attached with strings.
Emotional clutter shows up in the body as stress and includes feelings of:
• Resentment or anger piling up
• Unhealed/unprocessed feelings of loss or grief
• Fear, worry or anxiety
• Insecurity, holding on to toxic relationships
• Guilt or regret
Along with cleaning your home this Diwali, do focus on cleaning those neglected parts of your emotional and mental wellbeing too. Identify the items, beliefs and emotions that are weighing you down unnecessarily. Remember, there is always a price to pay for excess baggage.
Connect with Delna Mistry Anand across social media @DelnaAnand
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