It’s currently winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. A time for turning inwards, getting quiet, and listening to the inner voice. Last winter, my inner wisdom was telling me it was time to let go, purge, declutter, and release. To loosen my grip on all that I had a tight hold on, from project outcomes to old beliefs.
I spent the holiday break decluttering.
I pulled everything out of my room and spent the week sneezing as I decluttered, sorted, and cleaned.
Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up supported the process with simple, bite-sized lessons which offered me the words I needed to hear when I got stuck in the decluttering process.
For instance, the reminder that people often keep seminar materials believing they’ll restudy them, but never do. That helped me empty dusty binders filled with papers proving I’d studied cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), mindfulness, emotional awareness, and distress soothing. Trusting I knew enough to practice the concepts instead of just rereading them.
Letting go and decluttering isn’t easy.
Quite a few emotions came up with processing the things I’d been holding onto. Letting go isn’t easy, and it took layers. My process was a spiral. I kept going back and releasing more.
There’s a similarity between creative projects and stories. Holding onto ideas that never get completed can be an attempt towards security.
You can declutter and let go to make room for new ideas.
Creativity is abundant by nature. There are always new ideas. New ways of working with old ideas.
Heraclitus — “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
Perhaps it’s time for you to declutter as well.
Here are 6 steps to help you get started.
1. Bring out all your ideas and projects into the open, in one space.
This might look like opening the folders on your computer where you’ve stored your documents. Or it might be pulling out your physical papers, folders, notebooks, or wherever you keep your ideas and projects.
2. “Hold” each project and see how it feels.
Does it feel good or not good? Does it spark joy? Do you feel heavy or light? Energized or overwhelmed?
Observe the sensations in your body. It’s okay if they’re tangled or charged or confusing. It’s okay if grief comes up, in whatever form that takes. It’s okay if it feels really uncomfortable–that’s normal.
3. Sort into two piles: Things that feel good, and things that don’t.
Try to intuitively respond without thinking too hard.
If you struggle with this, make a third pile with a question mark. You might know something is a “no” and fight yourself with justifications and reasoning. That’s okay. Come back to it again later.
4. Take the things that don’t feel good out of your space.
If it’s physical, you might take it out of the room. If it’s virtual, put it into a separate folder.
5. See how it feels to be without them.
You don’t have to get rid of it immediately but separate it out. See how it feels to declutter and take out the stuff that doesn’t fill you with vibrant joy.
6. When you’re ready, discard.
Tear up the papers, and delete the files.
I hope this helps to create physical and mental space for new ideas that feel amazing.
Remember, you don’t have to get rid of it immediately. This is just a process for creating space.
Trust in the new coming in. Creativity is on its way, or here already, and just waiting for you to notice it.
About the author
I help people reconnect to themselves and tell stories that make their soul sing.
I am a certified coach, writing mentor, writer, and group facilitator who enjoys helping people who’ve felt different to write from the heart.
Since 2008, I’ve worked with writers in every messy step of the creation process. I’m passionate about delving deep into the story underneath the story — the root cause of the struggle with self-expression — so you can feel good about the results.