(Originally published in Just Breathe Magazine, June 10, 2020)
As part of the recent global lockdown situation, we have come to the conclusion that only food is an essential item. Other than water, that is. But we might also have realised that it is essential to ask oneself what life is all about and to question how we tend to go about it. At least for me, this is something that I continue to contemplate.
Moment by Moment
We could say that life is a sequence of events, where each event depends on the decisions taken previously. Sometimes we don’t make the best decisions, but we make each one based on the understanding that we have at that moment.
Decisions are based on an often narrow comprehension of our true power… and of who we are. As a consequence, and until we accept the power within, the outcome will give limited returns or results.
Life is Inner Life
As I have to come to see it, it is not the outward expression – the ‘things’ or possessions – that are most important. Rather, life is about gaining awareness to experience life itself.
Life, rather than being something happening to us, is something that we both create and experience.
I like to make a distinction between focusing solely on the person – me, Claudia – and life as a whole. If I try to look at life from a somewhat larger perspective, the sufferings of the person (me!) do not feel so heavy anymore.
The Importance of Surrender
To surrender is not about giving in or giving up but about becoming one with the essence of life itself. Actually, it’s a little bit like surrendering the idea that I am in charge of my life and to instead simply experience it. Through this effort, the guidance that comes from within can be activated and followed, with fewer struggles.
As part and parcel of letting go of all that is not essential, allow the life force to flow through you.
Letting go of all that is not essential rings a bell in these pandemic-times. It is something that most of the people in the world are currently in the process of doing – whether we are aware of it or not. Asking yourself these three questions could lead to a large-scale transformation.
What is essential to me?
The lockdown brought to our attention what is essential… and what is not. It may have also made us feel that we have been wasting our lives with unnecessary clutter. Or at least that we have been busy (often very busy!) chasing what does not actually bring us happiness. This realisation can be useful indeed, so hang on to it!
Contemplating what is essential to you involves self-reflection.
Starting in the physical sphere, as you spend more time at home, you may have the feeling that many possessions are weighing you down. At least, if you have ‘too many possessions’.
Marie Kondo, with her Netflix show ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo’, springs to mind. In this hugely popular series, she helps people restore order to their lives by helping them rid themselves of physical clutter, giving way to her motto:
“More headspace and a Zen-like experience as a consequence”.
Suggesting that people throw out everything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’, Kondo understands the milieu, and all due to having almost fainted with stress at the age of 16, followed by a ‘voice’ telling her to ‘look at things more carefully’.
How is that for inner guidance? She surrendered to it and it put her in a space of being a key influencer who has positively impacted the lives of many people.
Why not Emotional De-cluttering too?
Taking the idea one step further, true minimalism and relieving ourselves of the emotional clutter would mean to rid ourselves also of the ego-building sentiments that we hold on to. Can you stop the moment-to-moment building of “I” and just let life be as it is?
This would be a kind of de-cluttering of self – and your reality – that could be a next step to take. Better yet, first, de-clutter your home, then your body (detox!), and then your mind. Or the other way around… but the important thing is to start!
Especially after a long stint of spending so much time at home, many have seen that, rather than adding, it is reducing and minimizing that brings a deeper sense of peace and even joy.
Amanda Winwood of Made for Life Organics says that she arrived at a ‘need to de-clutter’ point in her life. She discovered that ‘in the less’ she finds more meaning. Only after making space does there seem to be room available to express what she truly wants to express, in alignment with who she truly is. She says:
“I have simply embraced that there is beauty in having time and space and choosing to feel it… not fill it. It is the way we create ‘Made for Life’, just taking time to look and understand nature and to link it to health. ‘In the less’ brings clarity.”
How can I clear a cluttered mind?
A less cluttered You will offer up more space for the divine intelligence – if you believe there is such a thing – to flow and act through you.
To help de-clutter your own mind, I invite you to ask yourself the following:
- What, if anything, weighs me down in life?
- What am I ready to get rid of (de-clutter) and how will I make that happen?
- What do I want to bring into my life or experience more of it?
And, adding to this, much like Marie Kondo saying that our possessions should spark joy, let me put it out there: Our thoughts should spark joy! Get rid of negativity and despair. Beneath what might feel like a mountain of repetitive thoughts that lead nowhere you may uncover your true self. Keep going…Keep on de-cluttering.
Stick to what is Essential and Stay Healthy in mind, body and soul.
Just Breathe is an online magazine by Healing Hotels of the World that was created to change minds, habits and hearts on the most important topics: health and wellbeing. Find further articles in my column Food for Your Soul.