Become the Butterfly: Spring Cleaning Your Mental Space

Ah, Spring. Time again to clean out your closets, dust off your cobwebs, go though your stuff and purge. In fact, now is the perfect time to purge, because spring is a time for renewal, rebirth and growth. How can you blossom into a beautiful flower if you are still covered in last year's leaves?  Time to embrace the "out with the old and in with the new" mentality.

To that end, I'm going to shake up this blog post and try something new.  Recently I was invited to lead a talk on "letting go of what is not serving you anymore."  The feedback from that discussion has been incredible, and it has inspired me to shed my "how-to" and "pro tip" blog cocoon, and embrace the freedom and beauty of "truth bomb" wings.  This blog post is dedicated to you and your energy.

I believe that everyone wakes up with a given allotment of choosing power, and how we exert our decision-making energy has an incredible impact on our daily lives. Every decision made counts against our quota, and as the day goes on it becomes harder for us to make good and decisive choices. I know this to be true for me: in the morning my decision making power is at 100%, but by 6pm I'm having trouble figuring out what I want for dinner, and by 6:30 I'm reaching for the frozen pizza because I-just-can't and cardboard carbs are easier than making a decision, let alone a meal.  Not the best choice.  By 6pm, the bulk of my daily choosing power has been spent.

So what's the link between choosing power and letting go?  See if you can imagine the increased ease of decision-making with a clean fridge, a completely wearable wardrobe, and a guilt-free view -  and see if this average morning stream of consciousness sounds familiar to you...

The alarm goes off (for the second time), and you're awake.  What do you want for breakfast?

Eggs. I want eggs. Great, but do I have eggs? If yes, can I make an omelette, and if so are those peppers even firm(ish)? I thought I had butter- is that cheese still good? Bummer; the toast is moldy! Ugh. I'll just have cereal and pretend its protein.

Shower time.  You are met with three shampoos to choose from, even though you only ever use one.  But you feel bad because the other ones were expensive, and you don't want to be wasteful by throwing them (or the scrubs, body washes and soaps that have lain dormant) out.  And you get to remind yourself of this every morning.

You make it out of the shower and prepare to get dressed. You look in your closet and the anxiety is already starting to set in. You pick out a shirt - oh wait, can't wear that; the buttons is missing. The next one doesn't really fit right, the next you don't even like. The next one, oh, still has the price tag on. The guilt of buyer's remorse sets in; you look at how much you spent on it...

$65 on a shirt I haven't worn yet. Let me try it on and see if today is the day...nope, still doesn't work, but I liked it in the store. Oh my god, what time is it? How long have I been daydreaming and trying to find something to wear? Okay, whatever shirt I grab next is it. Ugh! This one has a stain - well let me put this scarf over it and maybe no one will see it. Now, what pants go with this lovely stained blouse? Well, not those; they need to be hemmed, and this pair is a bit too snug right now, and these have a hole... I'll just wear the ones I wore yesterday; no one will notice. Shoes: these would be great but wait, where is the other one? It has to be in here somewhere!

...after a minute or two you give up finding the matching set and wear the pair that hurt your feet, but you're really running late for work now, so they will have to do.

On your way out the door... Even though you haven't punched the clock yet, your subconscious is already working overtime. You pass your bureau on the right and see the paper clutter, and you think without thinking, "I need to file those away/am I ready to do my taxes? I have to shred most of that/where are those bills I need to pay?"  On the left, stacks of magazines wait indefinitely for the magic day when you will be able to sit down and read through them, "I wish I had more time." Flanking the magazine tower is your equally lonely knitting basket, "I need to finish that baby hat for my sister's" Under the catchall table by the front door, the last misc. box (from when you first moved in but never got around to unpacking) mocks you, but you almost don't even care anymore. "I will get to that this weekend...maybe." You reach your door just to realize you don't have your keys, and can't remember for the life of you where you left them. A few minutes later you locate them in a drawer in the kitchen, still clueless as to how they got there, and rush out the door. One minute later you return for your sunglasses that you thought were in your purse, but are actually hiding in plain sight on the kitchen counter. Finally you make it to your car, out of breath, starting to perspire, and thinking, "I can make up for lost time if there's not as much traffic on the 10 this morning."

...So much of what weighs us down from our waking moment is our tangible 'stuff' that shares our physical space. As the day goes on, decisions become more difficult as our power is drained.  So, if you can only make 'x' many decisions in one day, do 20 of them need to be about what you're going to wear? How do you really want to use your energy? Consider the purge in your spring cleaning and give yourself permission to let go of the things that aren't serving you anymore.  Eliminating the unwanted options will result in less decision energy spent.  So sweep out the cobwebs of last year and reclaim not just your space, but your energy.