I was so happy to get this essay from Sharyn. It felt like the exact advice I needed—encouragement to declutter (inside & out) but also permission to keep certain things. I too feel a greater lightness now with items I’ve chosen (for now) to keep even if they’re not all totally useful. Not everything is a “have-to” on our list of To Dos. So happy clearing out but happy holding onto what makes you happy. It doesn’t feel like it outside in NYC, but spring has sprung! xo, Rachel
“Just as nature enters a cycle of renewal, growth and expansion in spring-so does the energy within us. Embrace the opportunity to shed old unwanted layers and make a conscious effort to begin again.”
I had an epiphany not too long ago about clutter. I am surrounded by my “stuff” and I love it. It is a very important part of my life and I am ok with that. Things are connected to the people that I cherish and meaningful places that I have been. I have been told that being with my loved ones and remembering the memories of my travels should be enough. And I couldn’t understand why I was not able to agree with them until I went through a yoga trauma training and realized that my life is enriched by the memorabilia that tie me to my “clutter.” That was a big relief…and a weight was lifted when I was able to finally accept this part myself.
However, I also became aware that I don’t need to keep every little thing that my children made in pre-school or every pen that I collected at each hotel on my special trip with my fiancé! I became more focused on what served me and that which did not; this is an inventory that I try to do every year now. I also do not feel stressed out about the items that I want to keep, which makes the process more enjoyable and meaningful. Some people prefer to do this in the beginning of the new year. I choose the springtime because it is the season for renewal and growth. Look around you and you will see the flowering buds on the trees, the baby crocuses peeking out, and the leaves unfurling and ready to receive the energy from the sun. For us, it is the perfect to time to unclutter both our inner and our outer spaces.
We have huddled up in our bodies to stay warm and surrounded ourselves with things and food and drink since the beginning of the holiday season in November! I invite you to inhale, spread your arms wide, and take a mental scan of your body’s edges and inner self. Exhale anything that is not serving you: tightness, unhealthy cravings, habits that you hope to break. Can you visualize breathing into those spaces and making room for the renewal of this season? Clearing out the stale energy from our “winter body” is reinvigorating. The same is true for our mental space; allowing ourselves to let go of old patterns and anxieties can be replaced with the setting of new intentions and visualizations that will encourage growth and expansion of our place in the universe. I invite you to do a short exercise that you can embrace daily to help you to begin this process.
Sit comfortable and close your eyes. Visualize in your mind’s eye a favorite place that either exists already that you only visit occasionally or that you wish to create. Imagine the details, including the colors, the furniture or open space, and the items that are present. What are the scents associated with this space? Next, imagine yourself IN that place. See yourself being relaxed, comfortable and happy, and feel the emotions that embrace you in this space. Inhale and exhale, physically feeling your inner space expanding, making room for newness and fresh air. Exhale and watch the energy spread throughout your body and fill this imagined place. Hold this visualization for as long as you would like to during this session. You can come back to it whenever you want!
Once you have done this exercise several times, you will be ready to move to your physical space and tackle the uncluttering of your living areas. Clear out unnecessary papers, take pictures of gifts that were given to you this past year that you have never used but that you want to remember, and then donate them to people who need them, discard expired food or donate cans and boxes that you have duplicates of in your pantry. Tackling your closet is a huge project, so if it too much to do all at once, set an intention that is more focused, such as going through your shoes or your jackets and seeing what you may be inspired to clear out.
Fill your renewed open space with flowers, purchase one of the visualized items in your “ideal place”, and feel the lightness that is the result of uncluttering both mentally and physically. Look around you and experience the earth’s renewal. Breathe in the scent of spring and align it with your intentions that you set for your own personal “Springtime.” Namaste.
Sharyn Hahn has been a teacher to students of all ages for 33 years, with a focus on teaching French at a private school in NYC. During the past eight years she has added a new dimension to passion for teaching and is now an ACE certified Personal Trainer (FitWomaNow!), and a YogaFit instructor with a 200-hour RYT certification in Mind-Body Balancing from the Deep Yoga Center in San Diego, California. She is currently pursuing a certification in Yoga for Traumaas she continues to broaden her understanding of the significance of yoga, meditation, and breath in her students’ lives. Sharyn holds a Master’s degree in French literature and language and runs Tutorcise.com.