By: Sherika Tenaya
In one of our earlier blogs, we discussed the importance of making space in one’s life as a necessary prerequisite to creating true, lasting, sustainable change that can realistically be integrated into one’s lifestyle.
Yet this idea begs the question, what exactly does making this kind of healthy space look like? This blog aims to give you concrete ideas for opening up your life in all its various facets: physical, emotional, spiritual, financial and connective.
Take the time to clean and organize all of the spaces you occupy: your home, your car, your work space. Clutter is widely understood to strongly affect one’s psyche and even willpower, whereas the act of decluttering results in almost therapeutic psychological benefits. In addition, organizing puts you in touch with all the things you own, giving you a chance to assess what you really need and letting go of the inessential.
If clutter isn’t an issue, perhaps freshening up your space in accordance with the guidelines of Feng shui is your way of inviting in the new. Feng shui, translated as "wind and water”, is the ancient Chinese art of placement. “The goal is to enhance the flow of chi (life force or spiritual energy),” writes Leah Hennen in her article for HGTV, “and to create harmonious environments that support health, beckon wealth and invite happiness.”
For a few easily digestible tidbits on how to feng shui your home, check out this helpful article by Real Simple magazine, complete with photos.
A journal is a perfect emotional space in which you can work to untangle your thoughts and feelings so as to elucidate your true priorities in life. All the while, the journal serves a dual purpose as a log, or documentation, of your journey towards your goals, in all its ups and downs.
If you’re not one for daily journaling, perhaps consider using the journal as a dream diary. While conventional science doesn’t claim to know the purpose or meaning behind our dream lives, some people believe that dreams are creative manifestations of our emotions as projected by our subconscious mind. By tracking one’s dreams, one may gain some insight into what’s happening at the deepest layers of one’s psyche.
If you find you’re not much of a writer, simply acquire a voice recorder to speak into, perhaps listening later to identify patterns and belief systems.
Sometimes the changes we wish to see in our lives are indicative of a desire to connect with our deeper, innermost selves, that is to say, our spiritual nature. How to go about this is as individual as one’s own fingerprint and many different people will go about it many different ways.
At times, this requires cultivating a physical space, such as an altar, upon which meaningful momentos of one’s life or cherished, personal treasures can be stored. Sometimes it can be as simple as sitting in silence for 10 minutes at the start of one’s day.
For many, making spiritual space means taking the time to go out and connect with nature, taking long solitary hikes or fishing. And still others make spiritual space by connecting with their body in movement practices such as martial arts, yoga or Qi Gong.
Making financial space in one’s life can actually be much easier than one might think. We are conditioned into a life of spending excess, where far too many of us are living paycheck to paycheck with no savings to speak of. Poor or wealthy, accumulating too much stuff is often a sign of an emotional or spiritual need that is being left unconfronted.
Financial space means teaching ourselves to live without, an idea gaining popularity as indicated by the success of films such as Minimalism: A Documentary about Important Things and even financial independence websites such as the wildly successful Mr. Money Mustache blog; a how-to manifesto for everyday people to retire at an unheard of early age by living scrupulously cheap lifestyles and investing one’s resultant savings wisely.
Honestly ask yourself: what can I live without? How can I simplify and differentiate between what I really need and what I believe I want? Where does the desire for fill-in-the-blank-item REALLY stem from?
Generally speaking, there is a tradeoff between time and money. In order to make more money, one must sacrifice one’s time. In order to have more time, one must adapt to living on less money. On what would you spend your time, arguably the most valuable of all currencies, if you freed yourself from excess spending?
In a culture focused on the financial, we often forget the number of studies and wise words of our elders that proclaim that it is our connections to those we love that provides true happiness lasting into old age. So when space is created in your schedule by releasing financial ties, you inherently invite in more time for those you love.
Making space for your connections could mean taking out the family calendar and planning ahead: establish your vacation time early, plan life-enriching events with your kids or spouse, schedule some social justice activism or community organization to shape your community into what you want it to be.
This year, focus on what’s most important to you in the big picture. Make the space you need and watch the year unfold as it never has before.