A New Year Practice



It’s already February. But it’s not too late! For what, you may ask? This will surprise you.

Every second Monday, our poetry group meets. In our first meeting of 2018, we shared, during our check-in, what we were thinking about for 2018. Not resolutions. No. Maybe intentions for 2018.

The conversation meandered some. What caught my focus was a conversation that was generated when one of our members said that for the month of January, they filled a box a day to give away. Then someone else said, “every day in Lent, we find five things to get rid of – give away, throw away, or put on Craigslist.” Hmmm. Not resolutions, but intentions followed by actions.

The practices they shared are so useful for creating space not only in our homes, but in our hearts and lives. And with all the noise we have around us, including clutter, which is visual noise, such practices are worth, well, practicing.

About two years ago, we downsized. We had been talking about it but had done nothing about it until we found a new home we wanted to buy. It happened fast. I had been looking around my home for years, knowing that it was getting too full, and in our busy lives (speaking for myself), I was never up to clearing things out when I had extra time on my hands. I preferred to go for a run, walk my dog, cook something marvelous – all the while, things accumulated. And now, with a new home closing in two months, and it having half as much room as where I was living, the daunting task of sifting and choosing was on me.

I hired a team of women who are experts at this stuff, and 16 hours later, things were semi-organized. The give-aways were in one spot, the throw-aways – garbage bags full of no longer useful manuals, electronic equipment, magazines, and other flotsam and jetsam from our lives, went into the ladies’ truck. And I was on my way, and yes, it was still overwhelming.

Spiritually, this brought up a lot for me. There was love in every corner of our home. Getting rid of things I loved was not at all easy. But it’s clear to me that I can without too many “things.” It was liberating to honor the places in our lives those items filled, and the meaning they’ve brought to us, and then let them go. Letting go, letting go, letting go.

In the book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson, she definitely advises to do this clearing-out and letting-go before death hits. Ideally, you do it so your kids don’t have to. A deeper reason is this: give yourself more space, allow your home to be a place of solace and beauty, simplicity and grace. You will love it, and your kids will love you for it.

A box a week! Five items a day! A month of distilling and letting go. Make it work for you. With thanks and love to the members of my poetry group – what would I do without you?

This entry was posted in General on February 4, 2018.

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