Happy Halloween, friends.
There's a creeping presence in our lives that many of us refuse to acknowledge. It comes in many forms: possessions, thoughts, toxic relationships.
This presence is clutter.
In my life, there has always been clutter. It mounts endlessly, brick by brick, and if you do nothing it will bury you alive.
A subdued anxiety has permeated my life for years. Tell me if this sounds familiar: a mind full of overcrowded thoughts that make falling asleep daunting, a quiet inner sense that you're living life just beneath the threshold of your potential.
If you live like this for long enough, you start to believe it's "normal". It's not until you break free of this habitual subtlety that you realize what you've been missing.
So how do you break free?
De-clutter your home
Over the years, we accumulate a lot of "stuff". I'm on a mission to live more minimalistically, which means I have to ask myself some tough questions.
How much of what I own do I really need?
What am I holding onto that it's time to let go of?
What might someone else be able to appreciate more than I do?
Just by going through my closet, I've filled four bursting garbage bags full of clothes I never wear. And there's a satisfaction in that.
Some things you may sell; some things you may give away. Many things you might just toss in the trash, which is extremely gratifying. Use your own discretion, and if you get rid of enough stuff, you might even be able to finally find a place for everything you own.
De-clutter your mind
Besides de-cluttering your homespace, it's also important to de-clutter your headspace.
I began meditating a few years ago in order to quiet my mind at night. I focused on my breathing to ignore the thoughts racing through my mind. I didn't force it; I simply acknowledged the thoughts as they passed by, and let them continue on their way.
I do that often now, whenever I am feeling overwhelmed. You begin to develop a self-awareness set apart from your mind, a calm bystander who can say, "Hey, that was a negative thought", and move on.
Our society is saturated with information. It comes at us from all angles, making it easy for our minds to always be "on".
But are you ever truly present? How often is your mind one step ahead of you? In a conversation with someone, are you busy thinking about what you're going to make for dinner? While you're doing the laundry, are you busy thinking about what you have to get done tomorrow?
Focus on one task at a time. Be present and mindful. Slow down.
De-clutter your life
Letting go of a person is not as easy as letting go of possessions, but it is sometimes necessary.
We hope that the people we befriend or the lovers we welcome will stick around forever, but that's not always the case. Often people come into our lives to serve a short-term purpose, and after that purpose has been served, we have to let them go.
Holding onto a relationship that is no longer mutually empowering is dangerous. It leaves us wondering what we have done wrong, and chisels away at our self-respect.
Even family can sometimes be toxic. If that is the case, don't try to change them. You are responsible for the actions of only one person: yourself.
But in all things, love. Being scathing or bitter hurts you more than anyone else.
If you're trying to find your direction in life, getting rid of distractions is one step along the way.
You need space to think, to process, to know yourself. So go create it.
And don't be scared. ;)