How to create a soul-loving environment. by Cheryl Richardson: When in doubt, throw it out. YOUR SPACE says a lot about your life. To understand what I mean, take a look around your home or office and consider the following:
- What do these surroundings say about you?
- Do they reflect the essence of who you are?
- If this space were to tell a story about your life, what story would it tell?
- How does the space make you feel?
- What have you been tolerating for too long?
- What areas make you feel good? What areas make you feel bad? Why?
- If you could sweep the whole room into the trash and start over, would you?
See what I mean? If you’re like most people, chances are your home or office is less soul nourishing than you’d like. The most common reason for this has to do with the amount of stuff in our lives. So many of us become numb to the things that surround us. We end up living with cluttered countertops and desks, piles of unopened junk mail, or closets overflowing with clothes we rarely wear. Or we spend the majority of our waking hours in an office stacked with file folders, paperwork, or books. The sad truth is that a soulless home or office zaps our attention, time, and energy—vital ingredients for a well-lived life.
Sometimes the most powerful way we can begin to create a soul-loving space is to simply remove 50 percent or more of what’s there. I had a chance to experience this as soon as my husband Michael and I moved into our new home. Prior to moving, we went through our belongings and gave away anything we no longer used or needed. Then, as an experiment, we made a decision to move only the bare necessities into our new house and put everything else into our garage so that we could experience what it felt like to live in the simplicity of space. What we learned surprised us.
As someone who has taught the principle of “When in doubt, throw it out” for years, I was amazed to discover that my husband and I still had way too much stuff. The decision to leave most of what we had in the garage so we could live in a state of “sacred simplicity” allowed us to experience what it felt like to be free of visual distractions—something we hadn’t known for a long time. That decision taught me an important lesson.
When you’re brave enough to let go of anything you don’t absolutely love or need, what you have left is the space for stillness and possibility. And this state is quite appealing—so peaceful, calm, and relaxing that you naturally become very careful about what you let in. You raise your standards.
Michael and I indeed raised our standards, which led to our adopting a new rule: if it’s not an absolute yes—something we absolutely need or adore—then it won’t come into our home. So instead of moving the remainder of our things from the garage inside, we decided to give most of it away. By doing so, we were able to share the wealth with others and create a home that feels spacious and elegant at the same time.
When you dedicate time and energy to creating a soul-nurturing environment, you give yourself an enormous gift.
Excerpted from The Art of Extreme Care by Cheryl Richardson. Copyright © 2009 (Hay House).
Cheryl Richardson is the New York Times best-selling author of Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, and The Unmistakable Touch of Grace.