How long have we been stuck at home now? Has it really been months? Ask your home how it feels from your climbing its proverbial walls, and it may well be ready for a refresh too.
Recently I’ve gotten serious about “refreshing” our house, from having the carpets cleaned to replacing some furniture, filling boxes with books to give away and clearing clutter.
Surprisingly, one of the things that made a huge difference was buying a new doormat for the front door! For the past fifteen years, I’ve walked across an old, ugly, cat hair covered door mat. Now I have a beautiful, dark red mat that makes me smile.
Who knew such a simple change could bring so much joy?
This happened after a quick consult with my friend, Stephanie Bennett Vogt, MA, who just happens to be a leading space clearing expert, and the author of four books including YOUR SPACIOUS SELF and A YEAR TO CLEAR.
I’ve asked Stephanie to share with us her best five “one minute” tips on how to make sheltering at home more beautiful and more friendly. Enjoy!
It is striking how quickly the place we count on to escape from the world has suddenly become the world we can’t escape from. Our homes have morphed into workplace, schoolhouse, IT department, food court … and, dare I say, repository for all of our unprocessed stress and stuff.
How can we possibly find our center, recharge ourselves, and make our home feel spacious with all this chaos?
It may feel like an impossible task to bring our homes and lives back into balance when everything around us feels like an unsettled mess. But it doesn’t have to be. As long as we’re willing to slow down, stay fully present, and be compassionate with ourselves, there is a way, not just now during the pandemic, but even after it’s over.
Below is a list of favorite one-minute practices to help you do that: shift the energy at home and find your center again. For them to work their magic, however, you need to supply two things: consistency and awareness. Consistency here means daily practice. Awareness means giving all your attention to the task, as it is happening in real time, and being the compassionate observer of the experience.
As you cycle through the list, notice what these practices stir in you. Do you find yourself spacing out, growing impatient, feeling antsy or bored, for example? Conversely, do they energize and excite you? Are you aware of subtle shifts and new insights? Can you imagine practicing them with no agenda, conditions, or attachment to the outcome? This is what it means to practice with awareness.
Give yourself at least one minute to play with these. Start at the top of the list and practice one item a day for five days. Or better yet, for an even deeper 25-day practice, choose one and repeat it for a period of five days and then switch.
And PS, if these practices seem “way too simple,” you’re right. They are designed that way on purpose to bypass fight-or-flight triggers in the brain that cause overwhelm. They are also designed to jiggle loose some invisible clutter – stuck patterns, resisting habits, unprocessed pain – so you can name it, feel it, and let it go once and for all.
Wash: In the spirit of this Japanese saying, “Let the past drift away in the water,” take a minute to wash your hands mindfully and intentionally. Release the stringy attachments of your day. Take your time washing the dishes. Smell the soap, feel the cleansing warmth of the water on your hands. Turn your daily shower into a soothing ritual of slowing down.
Put away: Take sixty seconds to put away one thing, sort one pile, or round up one area. Push chairs in, turn off lights, make the bed, cap the toothpaste, put the toilet seat down, fold laundry. Make it into a game with your kids at the end of the day: see how many things you can put away in one minute.
Clear: Declutter a purse, a wallet, a drawer. Toss lifeless food from the freezer or refrigerator. Recycle junk mail or store catalogues. Delete emails, digital photos, and files. Replace a lightbulb. Make a list of things or issues that weigh you down and burn it – with gratitude. Be creative. Notice what happens to your breathing as you move energy in this way.
Sweep: Get yourself a nice broom and sweep the floor or the front steps to bring new energy into your home and life. Clear window frames, curtains, light fixtures, and cobwebs that are hard to reach. Sweep your way to a solution, a fresh start, a quiet mind.
Do Nothing: The moment you notice yourself tightening up or feeling a pang of guilt, anger, embarrassment, or resistance, use your one minute today to consciously do nothing about it. Yes, that means no fixing, no changing, no improving… no nothing. Be the witness of the story instead of the story.
As you master the art of clearing in this spacious way, you may discover that it isn’t about the task at all. It’s how you relate to the task that changes the game. It’s about waking up, softening resistance, and releasing stuck energy. The cluttered closet, painful relationship, grinding pandemic – or whatever it is that is causing stress – is simply a vehicle for personal transformation and lasting change. In the end, where we live is our best teacher. It shows us the way home.
To benefit from more of Stephanie’s wisdom please visit her website: www.spaceclear.com.
Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,