On my best days, I feel clear about my life, confident that I’m leaning into my purpose, and secure that I have opened myself to Spirit’s guidance. Hope runs high and possibilities seem endless. Ahhhh, just thinking about it fills me with joy.
But then there are other days…
On those days, my prayer time is frenetic, and my mind bounces all over the place. I’m sure I must seem like a squirming puppy on God’s lap, cute and lovable perhaps, but unwilling to settle down and enjoy a peaceful and meaningful interaction.
I’ve learned an important lesson: this unsettled feeling is one sign I might need some spring cleaning to get rid of spiritual clutter.
Spiritual decluttering is clearing out as many distractions as possible to create the sacred space in which we can meet and connect with the divine power in our lives.
It makes perfect sense: if a clean desk contributes to increased productivity in business life, a clean spirit can do the same in spiritual life.
Watch for the signs
Besides the challenge of achieving mental calm during prayer time, there are other signs it might be time to step back, take stock, identify distractions or obstacles, and consider what might need to be swept out of your life.
- Emotional fragility: When I break out in tears (or want to) without any easily identifiable cause, I know I’m either tired or overcommitted.
- Unusual anxiety: Anxiety is a normal part of life, but when it escalates with no obvious reason, there’s usually something else going on.
- Relegating God to a To Do list: Most of us hit the floor running in the morning. I start my day with quiet time, but far too often, I realize I was in “get it done” mode and didn’t seriously engage in meditation or prayer.
- Restlessness: “Clutter is postponed decisions.” (Barbara Hemphill, organizational expert). If I’m honest with myself, my restlessness may stem from grappling with choices that stir me up until I’ve made a decision.
Take decluttering action
Spiritual decluttering must be intentional and, like physical decluttering, it has to be repeated from time to time. These tips have helped me
- Get up earlier, before the day brings too many distractions.
- Take a walk. Breathe in the natural beauty all around and breathe out your frustrations and worries.
- Finish what you start and beware of procrastination—it causes stress.
- Honestly identify worries and hard feelings. Dump them in an imaginary trash can, close the lid down tightly, and resist the urge to take the lid off.
- Think about the emotional triggers in your life. Acknowledging them is a step towards diminishing their power over you.
- Ask yourself if you can change any of the circumstances causing stress or angst.
- Notice the connection between your inner feelings and your outer surroundings. Would some physical decluttering of your home or office help? I’ve written about this: “Find yourself when you remove the clutter.”
- Ask yourself if you are over-committed. I often find delegating or resigning from something can make a huge difference to my inner calm.
- Are you getting enough sleep? I know I suggested getting up earlier, but perhaps your schedule could include a nap or an earlier bedtime.
- Are you allowing yourself some down time before you go to bed? If I work at my computer right up until bedtime, I rarely sleep as well.
- Are you worried about forgetting to do something important? Keep a To Do list or get in the habit of doing a “brain dump” at the end of each day. This enables you to go to sleep without worry.
You’ve worked hard to clear a sacred space. Now step into it.
Make yourself at home.
In your mind’s eye, feel the fresh air caressing your cheek, the warmth of sunshine streaming through the clean window. Listen to the burble of water in the courtyard fountain, the tinkle of wind chimes. Come with an open and grateful heart, ready to receive the gifts of Spirit.
Start to declutter now!
Don’t slog through your life under the weight of unnecessary spiritual clutter. Lighten your load and let the sunshine in! Let me know what helps you most to create sacred space in your life. We’re all on this journey together.