After the fullness of the holiday season settles, I feel the clutter of life and begin to purge. Putting away all the decorations that looked so great at the end of November – I’m always struck by how different they appear on New Year’s Day- kicks in the impulse to eliminate. I decide to move 3 bedrooms around, paint a dresser, nightstands and headboard, along with cleaning out drawers and cupboards. This leads to buying things to organize and create the perfect look. What starts as clearing, ends with accumulating more.
As I contemplate this pattern that often occurs at the beginning of a new year, I am struck by how fitting this is when working on healing and growth. As we begin the work to clear away, we end up overwhelmed as the clearing creates access to all that is hidden and stuffed in crooks and crannies of our soul.
Because January is often seen as a new beginning, it is a good time to take stock of life. Resolutions begin to form this time of year as people review the past and make plans for renewal and improvement. Taking a soulful assessment requires one to pull away from distraction and focus on the core of self. The journey inside begins by slowing down, meditating, breathing and taking inventory.
I begin by connecting with the selves that coexist in me. It’s like taking inventory. We all have different parts to us that makes up the whole. By becoming familiar and even interactive with these parts, I can reconnect with who I am at my core. I can make sense of feelings, behaviors and the longings that tug at me.
So, I begin the roll call: The little child in me who was abandoned, the teenager who was afraid of everything, the judgmental women who tried to take control, the lovingly gentle spirit who sees great pain and can sit with it.
And I ask: When did I last see and attend to you? What is it that you need? In what ways do we continue the painful patterns of the past? What can we do together to settle down the system and be present?
If you’re not familiar with this modality of work, it is a great way to understand the parts that are in all of us and an awareness of self. It gives us insight and answers into identity, values and who we are.
It takes time, patience and practice for connection or reconnection back to self. It also takes discipline to make the practice a priority. Most importantly, it takes a desire to clear the clutter and find a way to connect to what is inside as we continually get side-tracked. This is true self-care. Only then can we refresh and reorder and then pull ourselves back to the essence of who we truly are and what matters most.