Simplicity as Spiritual Practice: Declutter for Deep Personal Growth

When we begin to declutter our lives, often it’s because we long for some kind of peace, some space, some relief from the chaos … or perhaps it’s to start to lead a more intentional, beautiful life.

But something magical happens when we dive into the decluttering process.

We start to learn about ourselves.

And if we keep at it, decluttering can become a place of deep growth.

I’ve seen this in my own life and in the lives of people I’ve worked with, countless times.

Decluttering causes us to confront some key relationships we have to our stuff, and to the world around us:

  • We learn that clutter often represents our procrastination and avoidance patterns, and if we are to address the clutter, we must shift those patterns.
  • We realize that we place a lot of power in objects: the power to give us identity, a sense of value, a sense of who we are; the power to give use security, hopes for the future, memories, love, comfort.
  • But then we realize that this power is within us all along, not outside of us. This takes work, to start to see this in an experiential (not just intellectual) way.
  • We learn about our attachments to things, and how to let go. This takes a lot of mindfulness, and some realization that we have happiness within us, and letting go of objects is simply a practice of that realization.
  • We start to pay attention to what is truly important to us, and that will shift over the course of this inquiry. When we ask this question of what’s important, we can start to live intentionally, and once we start living in line with those values, we evolve our understanding of what we really value. It changes as we take action.
  • We start to deal with the shame and guilt that come up from our clutter, from our procrastination and avoidance, from our years of mindless shopping. The shame and guilt get in the way, but they can also spur us to reconsider our patterns, to start the process of shifting them. In the end, one of the most powerful shifts is to let go of the shame and guilt while also embracing the truth of not avoiding.

These are some of the things we might explore while we declutter — many more possibilities exists, and I think you’ll find your own realizations and growth that are unique to you.

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