Clutter an obstacle in physical and mental realms

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Life can get busy and as it does, it’s not unusual for things to get messy and cluttered in our lives, both physically and mentally.

Spring can be great time of renewal and rebirth. It is a time to get rejuvenated and invigorated, but when you have clutter in your life of any kind, that renewal may be hard to accomplish.

In order to live a “clutter free life” you might consider the first thing to let go just might be something you wouldn’t necessarily expect: guilt.

Guilt is a heavy burden to carry and it affects self-esteem, self-image and self-worth. When you think about those “skinny jeans” in the top of your closet that you’ve been keeping since college or even longer, it might be time to ask why are they taking up space in your closet and more importantly in your head.

It just might be out of guilt. Often those skinny jeans are a symbol of a different body or life you used to have, or even a memory of good times of long ago.

But now, the jeans continually remind you that you are out of shape, older than you were, forgotten … and they just may limit your ability to view your current self in a positive light.

The Dalai Lama wrote a book about contentment, “The Art of Happiness.” The entire premise of the book was this: You will feel content when you stop coveting. When we stop dreaming of our high school body in those jeans and accept who and what we are, it becomes possible to find the value in who we are today.

Consider that closet full of things that continue to remind you what you are not. How much clutter could you clear if you got rid of all of the things in your home, garage and life that cause you to feel guilty?

Spring cleaning can be a very good process to not only empty your closets, but to clear the guilt from you life so that you can accept who and what you are today. When you no longer covet what you do not have, you can find contentment and release the guilt.

Live life with acceptance of what you have and who you are allows you to release the things that are not relevant. This will also allow you to get rid of the literal clutter you have around you. If you have not worn an outfit in a year, the chances are you won’t. Go ahead and be free from the clutter.

This spring I would encourage you to let go of the things in your life that make you feel anxious, guilty, shameful and negative. Give yourself the freedom to be the person you are today and make room for the new things to come both physically and mentally.

Shauna Coleman is director of operations at the Walla Walla YMCA.

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