Recipe for Mind
This year has passed in such a whirlwind that I didn’t stop long enough to do a proper spring cleaning. I am not what anyone would call obsessive-compulsive about cleaning, but I do recognize the power of releasing clutter – something that inevitably builds up in many nooks and crannies of my home and office.
My good friend and colleague, Dr. Mary Bryant told me the other day that “a good definition of mental health is the process of creating order out of chaos.” I know that one of the main principles of the “space-clearing” or Western school of feng shui is about getting rid of clutter as the number one priority in creating a healthy, productive and supportive working/living space. (Here’s an article I wrote about a decade ago on the benefits organizing through feng shui.)
So I decided that I would do a “Fall Clearing” as opposed to spring cleaning. But I also realized that it didn’t have to be done “all at once” in a frenzy, my usual modus operandi. It’s a fact of human nature – when we anticipate having to do something that is not our favorite pastime, we tend to procrastinate and resist.
Furthermore, we are living in a time when everyone is busier than ever before. With so much to do during our working days, cleaning out the closets is not an appealing task for our day off. And I truly believe that having one full day off – a true Sabbath – is essential for mind, body, spirit health: A day of relaxation, contemplation, or just plain FUN.
The way I resolved this was by making a commitment to do my fall clearing in “manageable moments”,
- taking a drawer or two, a bin, or a corner of my office or closet as a daily task.
- Sometimes I would grab the bin and sit in front of one of my favorite TV shows as I organized,
- other times I put on my ipod and rocked out to the task and
- occasionally I would find myself fully immersed, getting into the zen of the job at hand and fully enjoying the moment.
- If I undertook a particularly unpleasant assignment, I even rewarded myself with a special treat or indulgence.
During this fall clearing, I have enjoyed much better sleep, probably due to not having these tasks hanging over my head as well as the guilt that I get when I procrastinate. Establishing positive, life-affirming habits, such as discipline and organization take time and commitment, but the rewards are more self-confidence, a clearer mind and an easy-to navigate living and work space.
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