I've been learning a lot about the power of letting things go lately.
My word for the year is SPACIOUSNESS.
I knew from the beginning of the year (and even before then) that I wanted cleaning out my closet to be part of this year's project.
You probably don't know this, but I'm short. I'm 5' and 1/2" (and yes, that half inch is crucial!).
Which means I practically never had growth spurts and have therefore hung onto clothes for far longer than necessary.
I mean, I still have a t-shirt I wore my first year of tee-ball as a literal child.
So I have clothes that I wore two decades ago cluttering my closet. I have clothes from high school, college, grad school, and pre-pregnancy days. I knew those needed to go.
I also have a lot of clothes from my days as a practicing Mormon that no longer reflect me or my style or preferences.
There are so many items of clothing in my closet that I never wear, that don't reflect my style, that no longer fit my mom bod, or that reminded me of former versions of myself that I no longer want to inhabit.
I'm not a big shopper, or a big "things" person, or a fashion person, but clothes have really accumulated over the years, and I could feel the energetic and emotional weight of these unnecessary clothes weighing on me.
So last weekend I did it!
I gave away two 33-gallon garbage bags full of all sorts of clothes and it was gloriously liberating.
I expected it to feel nice, and lighter, but I actually discovered an emotional layer I didn't realize I had been carrying, storing, butting up against, every time I went to my closet--for the past many, many years.
As I was evaluating what would stay and what would go, I found myself almost unconsciously considering GUILT as a criteria. This was eye-opening to me.
All sorts of considerations arising from guilt came up as I sorted through my closet, mostly in these two forms:
Would the person who gave it to me feel bad if I got rid of this item?
Would I feel guilty because I paid X amount of dollars and haven't yet "gotten my money's worth" out of it?
I realized that those were the reasons so many of my clothes had stayed in my closet for so long!
And some of them almost stayed in my closet out of guilt.
I was bowled over when I realized the YEARS of guilt I'd uselessly carried around in my psyche because of these inanimate objects.
I've also detailed in this blog post about my journey into more pleasure, so it won't be surprising to hear that as soon as I caught myself in those thoughts and feelings, I shifted into a pleasure perspective.
The only consideration that determined if a piece of clothing would stay or go was if it brings me pleasure NOW.
Not if it brought someone else pleasure, or if I thought it should bring me pleasure, or if it used to bring me pleasure.
And of course, no guilt. No external considerations.
Such a gorgeous shift.
I felt my nervous system relax. I felt myself appreciate the clothes that were staying. I felt more pleasure in the process.
I felt myself lay aside the unnecessary burden of guilt.
And I let so many items of clothing go.
I know a huge reason I was able to notice these subtle emotional currents, that had previously been more unconscious, is because of my practice in paying attention to my experiences.
It sounds so simple, so easy, but I know that so many women and people socialized as such actually do not find this easy.
Culturally, we're often taught that our needs come second, our feelings are too much, our emotional experience is irrelevant.
And that we should operate out of consideration of others' comfort.
Please tell me if this resonates for you.
Through my daily cycle check-ins, my deeper understanding of the hormonal pattern that acts as the foundational operating place every day, and the simple act of paying attention, my capacity to recognize the subtleties of my experiences has grown vastly.
Paying attention to what I feel has fine-tuned my ability to do so.
It has also paved the way for me to invite more pleasure into my life.
And to separate from emotions and experiences I now recognize as unnecessary--like the guilt I found all over my closet!
The first step is awareness. And this is exactly what I teach in many of my workshops and of course in one-on-one sessions.
So if you're ready to experience these kinds of liberating shifts for yourself, by first learning to listen to yourself and honor your emotions and experiences, please do reach out to learn more about how to start operating from this guilt-free, pleasure-tuned, empowered place.
It is a revolutionary thing to learn about your body, your inner wisdom, your YES, your NO, your subtle shifts. Your emotions. Your experiences.
I would love to hear what you find in your own closet--metaphorically or physically =)
Where in your life might subtle guilt be motivating you unnecessarily?
Where in your life might you be storing other people's expectations?
Where could you opt out of guilt, and opt IN to more pleasure?
Please do leave a comment and tell me!