It's that time again, when we take stock of the year we're saying goodbye to and welcome the one that's ahead of us.
A fresh canvas. 365 new days. Twelve full months. New Year's Day is fast becoming my favorite holiday, ranking right up there with Thanksgiving. That's because it represents the ultimate new beginning.
I always look forward to new beginnings, as my husband, John, observes. It's an opportunity to re-examine goals and priorities. I like to think of this time as "The Year in Review" and "The Year in Preview."
This year there's a new twist. I'm looking at the "stuff" I elect to take into the new year. This includes physical belongings as well as mental clutter. The two are more closely related than you may think.
It seems I'm not the only one looking at this angle. On a recent getaway (thanks, Bradfords!) this topic came up independently from two of my friends, Sue and Judy. It's amazing how much energy our stuff consumes - physically, emotionally and financially. Not to mention the energy devoted to taking care of said stuff.
In any case, whenever your environment (mental or physical) steals your energy - rather than supporting and nurturing you - life just doesn't work out as well. The result? You end up wasting some of the very resources you hold most dear: time, money and energy.
There is even a theory that says our urge to hold on to stuff has its roots in caveman days when survival depended on everything that was needed being in the immediate environment.
Nowadays, our compulsion to "have" has been explained as a mutation of a misguided emotional and spiritual survival tactic. We've come to confuse the feelings of security and love with the presence of things, and so we try to fill the void we feel inside with stuff.
We're all familiar with the concept of simplifying. Why, then, is it so hard to bring this into reality?
According to author Sharon Crosby, things that take up our time and space but aren't really important to us actually rob us of the pleasure of experiencing the things that are important to us. Often it's not the clutter that controls us, but our doubts and fears instead. This especially holds true with the mental and emotional stuff we elect to carry forward.
So how do we decide what to take with us into the new year - and what to leave behind? It's not as if we can wave a magic wand and poof, it's all reordered.
A good place to start is to begin to trust yourself. Trust your ability to make decisions. Think of what you could gain by letting go of physical and mental clutter. For starters, there's freedom and peace of mind. That's a pretty good tradeoff in my book!
I've heard that clutter is nothing but unmade decisions. Wow, that statement really spoke to me. Whether it's physical clutter that we're sorting through or old emotional garbage. it's reassuring to think it's within our control.