Jane/Susannah/Sadie here, having watched her baby graduate high school last week and wondering where the time went…
Kim’s post last week about her photo organizing, Liz’s post about her vision boards, and the fact that my son started a new job before he heads off to Boston for college in the fall, have all got me thinking. Now, I’m the kind of person who always has projects in various states of completion: knitting projects, sewing projects, painting, redecorating (although, I’m not sure you can call it “redecorating” if you never really decorated in the first place), genealogy (which never ends, but generates a lot of paperwork and electronic files), recipes, old tax returns, and of course, photographs.
Sending my son off into the world is coinciding with my finishing the last book in my contract. And it’s all got me thinking that it’s time to do some serious preparation if I want new things to enter this new era of my life. The same way uncontained water will enter any space it has access to, or cold air rushes in to displace warm air if given the chance, new things enter your space when you make space for them.
I have had this principle work many times, sometimes with conscious effort and sometimes with no thought at all. It’s so simple, and it works for everyone, but you need to keep an open mind because the outcome may not be exactly what you envisioned. All you have to do is start clearing physical and mental space.
Clean your closet and take a load of seldom-used clothes to the Goodwill. Take an honest look at your pantry, and donate any unexpired food you know you will never use to the food bank. If you know you’ll never reread a book, donate it (and its sisters and brothers) to the library book sale. Evaluate your tchotchkes and throw or give some away. Reorganize your junk drawer. The key is, you must actually get the stuff out of your house. If your intent is to donate it somewhere, you must actually complete the task and deliver the donation to its intended recipient. The larger the volume of stuff you take out, the more important or impressive the new thing that will come in becomes.
Just as good as clearing physical space is clearing mental space. Everyone has things they procrastinate on–I probably have more things than most of you, as I am the queen of avoidance, LOL! Perhaps you dread going to the dentist–make an appointment and show up for it. Do you have an old project that makes you feel guilty every time you look at it because you never finished it? Do it, or officially abandon it and get it out of your house if you can. Is there an old friend you’ve been meaning to call, but just keep putting it off until you have more time? Make the call now. Is there something you’re afraid of, like public speaking? Take some action and try out a Toastmasters meeting. Been meaning to renew your passport, but just haven’t bothered because you don’t have international travel planned? Do it now anyway.
If you can combine both–clearing physical and mental space–the effects will be magnified. I did this a few years ago, and I got an agent and a book contract within the space of a week and a half. I’ve advised other friends to try it, and they’ve had book deals come through as well. Sometimes you’ll get an unexpected check in the mail. Sometimes an old friend you’ve been missing will call you to go to lunch. Sometimes the exact expensive handbag you’ve been Jonesing for will go on clearance and be eligible for free shipping.
Just this week, I scheduled a very long overdue hair appointment (do NOT look at my roots right now) and dealt with some paperwork I’d been avoiding, and bam! A new opportunity presented itself, one that I’d forgotten I’d put myself in the running for (if it pans out, I’ll tell you the details, I promise). Two phone calls that totalled about five minutes was all it took to shake that opportunity loose.
I have a feeling that when Kim finally completes her photo project, something fresh will enter her life. And you vision board kids? Look at your vision boards every day, but get rid of some life clutter and see how much faster the stuff you want–or something even better–appears.
If you try this, let me know what happens. Do you have any woo-woo in your life?
When you’re finished at your house, will you come over and shovel out mine?
I realized that one of the reasons I bought my cottage in Ireland was that it’s a fresh start. It’s empty. There are no closets, and little place to put anything. I have to consider carefully any item I bring in, and things could get cluttered very fast if I’m not careful. It’s like the opposite of my Massachusetts house.
I agree with you, Susannah: we all need to clear our mental space, and eliminate the nagging things that have been holding us back, so we can move forward.
I’d love to, Sheila! I’ll bet your Massachusetts house is full of really cool and interesting stuff. Though I do envy you your clean canvas in Ireland.
[Funnny, I left a comment an hour ago…Will try again!] As I sit here looking at my messy desk, remembering my own photo project, and thinking about my untended tomato plants out back – I now know what I’ll be doing this afternoon. Thanks, Jane!
I’m telling you, this works. Let me know what materializes for you 🙂
Thanks for the great reminder of getting things that weigh on us (storage room in the basement among other things) out of our lives! I can’t wait to hear about your new adventures!
Ooh, the basement. I have one of those too, and it’s scary. However, that’s the kind of thing that if you address it can have a big woo-wood payoff. Will keep you posted on the new thing!
Totally agree! I’ve been trying Jessie’s Personal Kanban method to get everything out of my head and on paper, but more stuff seems to pile up before I can even get the other stuff off my plate. I’m going to set some time this weekend to clear the plate a bit – will let you all know how it goes!
It’ll work. You’ll shake something loose, I promise.
For me, things seem to fall into my lap, and I try to juggle them without giving up anything else. Or at least that’s how it seems to me. But as I already confessed, I’m not much of a planner, so maybe if I gave it some thought, I’d see what you are saying is true in my life, too.
Just give it a try. It works on both a small and large scale, depending on the magnitude of the thing you tackle. You don’t need to be a planner. Sometimes the “gift” you get is completely unexpected.
I’m not woo-woo at all, but I’m a big believer in making mental and physical space in your life in order to be open to new things, whether you seek them out or they arrive. Also, your heirs will be thankful later.
Best of luck with the new projects–whatever they may be!
Thanks! It’s actually already happened on one level. But there’s room for it to grow. We’ll see what transpires.
Well, that’s what I’m calling woo-woo. You can call it making mental and physical space, LOL!
Does it count if it’s your daughter’s things you are clearing out? Or does the reward go to her? LOL. My friend used to call it the vacuum law of prosperity. Clearing something out creates a vacuum that draws something new in.
Now back to clearing the basement of my daughter’s things.
Interesting question! You’ll have to let me know. My guess is you both might be rewarded, as long as the stuff is leaving your house and not going to her house, because chances are it has been taking up mental space for your daughter as well as physical space in your house. But really any time you take action on a nagging project, you free up space for something new to come in.
I love this, Jane! I employ a similar strategy in my own life of a regular basis and have found it to be routinely successful. Every time I clear a space, especially my desk, I can feel space opening right near the base of my throat even before I see any results in the outside world. That feeling of freedom alone makes it worth the doing as far as I’m concerned!
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