If you’re feeling overwhelmed and cluttered in your mind, it may be time to examine your space. If you determine that it is cluttered, dirty, messy, too dark, or anything that could be causing you stress, it may be time for a detox.
Begin by tidying up and cleaning your living space. If you have a car, clean it out. As you go, anything you find that you aren’t excited about and don’t absolutely need, either throw away or put in a bag to give away.
Once your space is neat, go through your clothes and purge anything that you don’t love and wear often. If it doesn’t give you joy, it doesn’t belong in your wardrobe. If you haven’t worn it in ten years because you’re hoping it will fit by this time next month, it does not belong. If it was a hand-me-down or a gift but is something you never would have picked out, let it go. You do not need to hold onto clothes that do not match your identity. You do not owe it to anyone to keep a gift or hand-me-down. If you come across a lot of sentimental pieces that you can’t part with but know you will never wear again, put them in a separate bag and make a plan to send them off to be made into a quilt or cut pieces of them yourself and make them into frame-able artwork. If giving away clothes gives you anxiety, keep the bag of giveaways in your closet for six months. If after that time you’ve forgotten about them and realize how easy it is to live without them, get rid of them at that point.
It is better to clear out the old to make room for the new, than to let the things you’re holding onto take up your closet space. This is because our clothes hold memories. If you have come out of a toxic relationship, or you’ve entered into a new phase of life, there is no reason to hold onto the clothes you used to wear. If you do not identify with who you used to be, you probably don’t find yourself wearing the clothes that you used to wear. If they hold toxic memories, they have become toxic to you and therefore are holding you back. Let them go.
Another aspect of detoxing our space is being aware of noise pollution. If you often watch TV, consider whether the noise of the TV could be affecting you. I have become more sensitive to sounds as I’ve gotten older, and the time I spend in my home space is sacred. Unless it is something uplifting that I am watching intentionally, I do not watch TV. I used to keep a TV on for background noise, thinking that I felt less alone with it on. Eventually I realized that having a TV on felt like it was draining my energy – it became toxic. Now if I want background noise, I play happy or mellow music. Being aware that you are in charge of every aspect of how your space feels is empowering and inspiring!
Detoxing your space may be the perfect time to rearrange your furniture, change your bedding (maybe even get a new bedspread), and hang up art that inspires you or brings you joy. You may even decide to re-paint your walls and redress your windows. Redecorating is a great way to detox your living space. You can also add live plants to your space and a Himalayan salt lamp to naturally purify the air.
Another way to detox your home is to burn sage (also known as sage smudging). Burning certain herbs cleanses the air, and sage has medicinal and antibacterial properties. When burned, sage removes harmful bacteria from the air. Smudging can also be done as a spiritual or symbolic practice as you reclaim and detoxify your space. One way is to open windows, light the sage bundle (then blow it out to create smoke), and moving clockwise around each room in your home, think loving thoughts. You can also say a prayer or chant as you go, such as: "Cleanse this space. Remove the past. Fill my space with joy and love. Send blessings from above."
Detoxing allows us to make room for better ways as we clear out the old ways. As you sage each room, also smudge over your mirrors to cleanse the way you see yourself, letting go of past negative thought patterns. Saging may seem like a strange New Age practice popular among hippies, but be assured that its roots of cleansing, sacred ritual, and symbolism extend far beyond that modern stereotype. Burning purifying herbs has been common among various ancient spiritual and religious practices, including Christianity. The Biblical burning of incense and herbs that dates back to the Old Testament was part of a ritual cleansing and purification of sacred spaces, just as it has historically been used across religions and ancient cultures for thousands of years. If you want your space to be extra-clean, either to make it feel holy or just to breathe in purified air, consider burning sage.
If you have an office or cubical, get creative and make that space cleaner and happier as well, clearing your work space of clutter and adding small personal touches. Think about what sounds you hear during your workday, and if any are particularly stressful, find out if they can be changed. For example, if your phone ringer volume is too high, lower it. If you work well with background noise but chatty coworkers distract you, try softly playing ocean sounds from your computer or in headphones. Whatever thing doesn't work for you that you put up with day to day, commit to fixing. If your desk height is wrong and causes you to slouch, leaving you with back and neck pain, talk to your company about it and work toward improving your working conditions. If your keyboard sticks, ask for a replacement. Find small ways to make your working space better -- for the amount of time you spend there, it is worth it.
Remember that detoxing is about letting go of what no longer serves us. For our space, that extends beyond getting rid of junk and clutter. It includes transforming our space into a place where we feel happy, light, free from environmental stress, and safe. I hope you have a great week and you are enjoying this series. Check back next week for the third and final part: relationships.
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