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I’ve cracked the code to creating a healthy relationship with our stuff and our space.
By now, we’ve all heard of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up.”
Recently, during our insane summer of retrogrades, I was attempting to clean up, but each time I would put something away, ten things would seem to pop out of that place.
The more I tidied, the messier and messier my small place was becoming. I was feeling like a failure at life. I spoke to a particularly intuitive friend, and she suggested that I just let the mess take over. To sit in the mess and let it have it’s way.
As soon as I gave myself permission to surrender to my mess, I was overtaken by the uncontrollable impulse to pull out every last piece of clothing and put in on a blanket in the middle of my floor. I imagined it was time to finally go through and feel whether each piece actually “sparks joy.”
This wasn’t my first time using this “sparks joy” method and before I really had no problem at all identifying what feeling or lack thereof I had toward my things—and it felt brilliant as I donated bags and bags of clothes to Goodwill.
This time, however, I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t tune into anything, that was surprising to me as I feel like I’m a considerably more sensitive and tuned-in person than I was several years ago. Defeated, I let the mess be where it was, moving around it like a major kitchen renovation.
Things remained this way for a few weeks, and I was almost starting to get used to living with the mess. Then, unrelated, a fortuitous trip to Big Sur arrived to unexpectedly crack the code and make sense of it all.
I set about guiding a small ceremony in the woods at Big Sur with that same particularly intuitive friend. When it came time to end the ceremony, we decided to choose a couple of sticks to burn in the fire. I chose the stick that I had been using to the tend the fires for the past several days. As she laid hers in the fire, it came time to set mine in the flames and I couldn’t do it. I felt a massive resistance and nearly teared up. Somehow, I was extremely attached to this stick—it had become my little friend. And I certainly did not want to send it to its death.
I went to say something about the “life changing magic” but the words, “heartbreaking tragic” tumbled out of my mouth. We stared at each other, stunned, and then collapsed into hysterical laughter. The heartbreaking tragic of tidying up.
In other words, the “heartbreaking tragic” or tragedy of letting go.
I stared at this stick that somehow become my best buddy, and observed how sentimentally attached I had become. I was encouraged to let my new friend go and close the ceremony. We had a good laugh and cry, and as I set the stick in the fire and watched it burn, I could see the life-death-life cycle in action.
The stick was not dying or going away, and there was no loss. It merely changed forms and was onto the next phase of its existence.
My lesson was less about identifying that which “sparks joy,” but about identifying those things that I have a heartbreaking attachment to.
My friend sent me home with the specific assignment to let go of anything I picked up that sparked that sort of attachment—that wasn’t currently in use or of service to me.
When I got home, I started the great purge. I used both the “sparks joy” method, as well as my new “heartbreaking tragic” method to identify what got to go and what got to stay.
I let go of sports jerseys that I had worn in elementary school, which I had schlepped around for well over 20 years and stored in countless homes. I realized that, while they still sparked fond memories, 99.9 percent of the time they were sitting on a shelf, forgotten—when they could be of service for someone else. And I realized that I have the memories completely intact, whether or not that artifact is in my home.
My great purge now allows for all things to be “high vibe” in my home. It clears the karma of the other things, as I allow them to cycle back into the world and be of service to someone else.
I realized that the art of letting go is about the art of transformation, and clearing space for the new to arrive.
I also got the message that hanging onto things that are not of service to me is all about clinging to the past and the future. It’s also about fearing that there may not be enough in the future, so I’d best hang onto this thing to keep my happiness intact.
And I have some work to do here regarding friendships, acquaintances, and romantic relationships.
As I continue to practice and grow my boundaries and communication, I’m getting better at being savage about cutting cords and letting go of things and relationships that do not serve. Things that either I’m attached to because of nostalgia or plain old fear of letting go.
But I’ve found that the most successful (and by successful, I mean both materially abundant and at peace) people in my life are savage when it comes to letting go.
Keeping our home and our personal energy clear and aligned are mission-critical to living a healthy, codependency-free life. And believe me, the universe notices when you clean up your space. It shows a seriousness and spiritual maturity that opens doors and accelerates opportunities.
So the next time you feel the tug of the “heartbreaking tragic,” notice it, love it, honor it, thank it, and then let that object or relationship be free.