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Transformation 2 – transforming the physical.

As I began to think about transforming myself it occurred to me that what I needed to do before anything else was to declutter my life. To get rid of the old before ushering in the new.

Last year I came across a beautiful little book called ‘the life changing magic of tidying up, the Japanese art of decluttering and organising’ by Marie Kondo. I read it and started to practice the art of decluttering. The basic premise is that we should surround ourselves with things that bring us joy and not hold onto stuff that no longer brings us joy. Similar to other decluttering advice – is it useful, is it beautiful, is it sentimental?

I followed the process as described by Marie and began to shed things. I shared the start of the process in a blog a year ago. I found the process difficult at times and there are many things that don’t bring me all that much joy that I am still reticent to part with but it is a process that I am determined to follow. There is a certain freedom in getting rid of stuff; we all seem to have so much of it.

Not only can I discard those physical things that no longer bring me joy but it is also good to discard behaviours and activities that no longer bring me joy. This is much harder to do.

I am aware that sometimes I try to do too much and don’t leave myself time for things like exercise, spiritual practice and writing. Instead I spend too much time looking at my phone and my emails or going to social functions that I don’t really enjoy. Or I watch meaningless stuff on television to fill in the time so I can avoid listening to my self.

At some times in our lives we all do too much so that our authentic selves become overshadowed by ‘real life’. Part of decluttering is about pruning back our activities so that we only do those things that bring us joy on some level.

My work is one thing that doesn’t always bring me joy. The other day I had a bad day at work with a very sick child. General practice can be very stressful yet there are parts of it that I really enjoy. I really enjoy the connections I get to make with people and the help that I can give them with the healing power of the relationship we build. The ability to help people transform into their true selves as they explore their illness and health is powerful medicine. Yet much of general practice is fast paced and stressful; too many patients for the day is a common problem that is difficult to overcome when you are providing a service to the community. Is there a way to declutter my practice so that it brings me more joy and less stress? I have been reflecting on this a lot and come to the conclusion that if I can be completely present for the patient then it doesn’t take so long to help them. So I practice this more.

I began with the stuff; the physical things that fill my life. I pruned back my possessions so that everything in my house brings me joy. Of course I’m not that good at doing it so as I write this I’m still surrounded by too much stuff. But I have started the process. We can begin with small steps and physically decluttering our lives is one thing we can all try. It is a process after all.

It is important in decluttering to examine each aspect of our lives and try to let go of those parts that don’t bring us the joy we deserve. We can declutter our physical stuff, our work, our social engagements, our family commitments, our leisure time and our spiritual practices. Making my life simpler helps me have more time and space to connect with my inner self and spirit.