What I’ve also noticed is that when something is bothering me or I am trying to figure something out in my life – say how to resolve a conflict with someone, or find a creative solution to a problem – cleaning helps. There is something about the state of mind I get into when I clean. Cleaning requires enough focus to keep my mind engaged, but not so much that I can’t think about other things. I find it a meditative state.
In meditation, it helps to have a point of focus, like the breath, or the sensations in the body. And often during meditation I get insights or “aha” moments. Same with cleaning…by focusing my primary attention on the act of cleaning, it’s like my mind has the space to process emotions, consider different scenarios and weigh my options. It doesn’t matter if I am washing the dishes, or cleaning the bathroom, I tend to feel more connected to myself and how I really feel.
Another observation I’ve made is that the act of tidying up my room seems to help my outer life. It’s like by organizing my desk or my closet, everything else seems to fall into place. All of a sudden my mood lightens, my perspective changes and I just feel better. I can’t even exactly pinpoint how it helps, it just that every time I tidy up my space, my mood instantly brightens and situations in my life seem to clear up their own, more easily then I thought they would. Of course, I’ve heard about Feng Shui, the Ancient art and Science from China; I haven’t studied the principles first hand – but I have noticed this first hand – everything flows better when my home and car are tidy.
Another great way to boost your energy levels is to downsize your personal belongings. So much energy gets trapped in holding on to things! Sometimes we don’t even realize how much until we’ve let go. Initially letting go can feel awful. We all have these attachments to things in our past, and getting rid of those symbols can feel like we are giving up a part of ourselves. It can feel like we will never be “that” again – be it ‘that happy’, ‘that thin’, ‘that successful’ – and it’s frightening. But the irony is that once that energy is freed up, we actually have more energy to pursue those very things we are wanting – be it a fitter body, or more friendships or a better financial picture.
So go ahead and experiment. Go through your closets, go through your books, go through your files and go through your kitchen cupboards. One question I find incredibly supportive for this process is:
“Does this fit with whom I am wanting to become?”
If it’s a no – then out it goes. It makes the whole decision process much easier. I’ve sometimes asked myself “When was the last time I used this?” (Sometimes it’s been years!) But I don’t find that question all that helpful because a part of me says “Ya, but maybe I’ll need that again”. But when I frame it in terms of who I am becoming, then it’s clear. This either is who I want to be or not. It takes me one step closer to actually being that person and brings it from some future construct, to now, today.
Often the process of downsizing can bring up old emotions, and I allow myself to fully feel them. Not wallowing in grief or sadness or anger, but just allowing whatever emotion to arise, and to do just that – arise. Not controlling it or pushing it away but just feeling it. When we stop blocking our feelings, emotions play out their course, and dissipate. A great description I’ve heard for an ‘e-motion’ is ‘energy in motion’. And how true. When we avoid our feelings, they get stuck, in our bodies and psyche, and we can’t fully enjoy the depth of the human experience. Not only that, we get sick and tired. Dr. Gabor Mate has a great book on this. But when we let these natural feelings rise up and clear, there is space for today, and more space for joy and spontaneity.
I often tell my clients that the depth we allow ourselves to feel sadness or anger, is also the depth we allow ourselves to feel joy.
How often have you blocked joy or excitement? Maybe on occasion, when there was fear of making others jealous of your happiness, but more likely you’ve more often blocked anger and sadness. But those emotions are part of the full spectrum of healthy human emotions too and important to feel just like other emotions we let out freely, like happiness and compassion. When energy in the form of an emotion is blocked, shoved down or covered up, it doesn’t flow and it certainly doesn’t help us feel alive.
All we have to do is take a look at children and see how freely they express their emotions. They move from hurt to elation to anger and back to happiness sometimes within the same hour! And what else do children have? Heaps of energy!
So next time you’re cleaning and you feel some old hurts rise up to the surface as you’re debating whether or not to throw out that old memento from your high school boyfriend/girlfriend, remember how freely children allow themselves to feel and give yourself that same permission. Chances are you’re at home, by yourself or with loved ones, so it’s safe. Doesn’t mean you have to go lie on the couch or eat a bag of chips, but let yourself feel whatever is there and then let it go. Take in a breath a fresh air, write it out if you have to. Rip up or burn those old letters and photos that you’ve been holding on to (but feeling awful each time you come across them), and see how energized you feel afterwards.
If you’re really struggling with this, put a timer on. Say to yourself that you are going to clean or tidy or downsize for 15 minutes. And when the timer goes off, you are done. Go relax and enjoy the rest of your evening and come back to it again next weekend. Guaranteed, it gets easier with practice. And guaranteed, the more you practice this, the more you will start seeing the patterns and effects in your energy levels and your life as a whole.
Stay tuned for more health and wellness tips on How to Increase your Energy Levels Naturally.