Although I prefer to tiptoe through the tulips in the Spring, the season also serves as a time of clearing out unused, outdated, and unloved clothes, papers, and household items.
Believe it or not, our bodies, minds, and spirits could also use a seasonal cleanse. No, I’m not talking about a colonic. I’m talking about letting go of habits, relationships, thought patterns, activities, and commitments that no longer fit with your mindset, lifestyle and values.
HERE ARE FIVE GOOD REASONS FOR A TOP TO BOTTOM CLEAN UP AND RECYCLING OF YOUR WHOLE SELF.
- Habits. Habits start out as a positive ritual that becomes overused and is some cases, destructive. In the not so distant past, we didn’t wake up next to a cell phone or iPad next to the bed. These days, you have a strong urgency to keep in contact with the world 24/7. Tell me, what do you think you’re missing? Plug into the pleasure of rest and relaxation through reading an inspirational book or writing words of happiness and gratitude.
- Relationships. Relationships are based on attraction, respect and trust. The most common issue that I witness with clients is struggle with a spouse, family member or friend. We hang on even though our boundaries have been crossed; our hearts have been torn and our minds have created fancy distortions of an old story. Unhealthy relationships foster unhealthy mental and emotional states. Eventually, they make us sick and interfere with our overall quality of life. Draw a list with two columns. At the top of the first column, label it “Name” and in the second column, label it “Purpose.” Write the name of every single person who you would consider a trusted partner/friend. In the second column, write at least one significant way this connection feeds your life. If you can’t find one good reason, then consider yourself starving and look for others who can fill you up. Get professional help if you are unable to support yourself through the transition.
- Thought patterns. Have you heard of the term “Monkey Mind?” Our brains produce as many as 50,000 thoughts per day (National Science Foundation). Ninety-five percent of these thoughts are repeated daily and reflect the mindset or beliefs we hold that lead to those 50,000 thoughts. When you have a few minutes, grab a journal and sit down in a quiet space. Let your thoughts ride your mental merry-go-round. Pretend that each horse has a word on its saddle. When the ride starts to slow down, write or draw the words in your journal. Are these words/images limiting you in any way? Do they allow you to fully express yourself, your beliefs and your ideas with clarity or confusion? If you answer yes to one or both questions, you have an important opportunity to choose and build a thought system (not another thought pattern) that has plenty of room for mental adjustments. Today, start with replacing one of your limiting/confusing words with an affirmation.
- Activities. Your New Years’ resolutions are on the bottom of that pile called “priorities.” How do I know that for sure? Look back at your schedule since January 2016. What sticks out the most on your daily journey? What kind of person do you look like on a calendar? Are you engaged, practicing and fueling your mission, goals and values? Or do you feel disconnected, half-hearted and drained Reconsider your investment and involvement in everyday life. Remind yourself of your priorities and find creative ways, each day, to breathe life into them.
- Commitments. Call it a weak moment or a heart-moving gesture when you said yes and accepted that new role, added responsibility or ego-boosting task. Again, you may want to create another two-column list and review your current commitments. On a scale of 1 (get me out of here now) and 10 (my joy grows every time), rate your level of commitment. If your heart doesn’t sing and your passion is waning, be open and honest about a timeline to withdraw yourself from this commitment and make lasting contributions elsewhere.