The last of the Yamas (our social codes), which I call Stuff Management, is a great bridge to the Niyamas (our personal observances) to come. Stuff impacts everything…
Sometimes, it’s easy to blame a foggy mind on things outside of ourselves. Hormones. Work. Lack of sleep. Illness. Imbalance. Work. Getting old…
But it might be just plain too much stuff. Too much stuff cluttering the mind.
Think about that stuffed animal/toy you had when you were five, you know the one. The one you loved so much. Then there’s the comic books (or whatever) you collected in high school (and you can recall and catalog every single one in your brain). Then there’s that gift your first boy/girlfriend gave to you. And the list continues. And continues.
You might not still have these things or maybe you do. But your mind is full of all these things. Things. Stuff to remember. These things are taking up space in your mind.
The stages of disease in Ayurveda begin with: ACCUMULATION and AGGRAVATION (when there is too much). Ideally, we notice when we start to aggravate and naturally begin to ALLEVIATE the “too much”. Sometimes, that doesn’t happen, then imbalance and the disease process begins.
In the mind, this aggravation is too much stuff and not enough time to process. Stuff clutters our space. Stuff clutters our mind. And then…we just keep adding. When was the last time we…subtracted? We don’t like subtracting…we like to accumulate (it’s primal, but we won’t digress).
Of course our minds and bodies and spaces are cluttered and foggy.
We talked about Sleep in our last BeeWell Gathering (which you are welcome to attend; they fall on the first Friday of each month on Zoom). Sleep is vital to the decluttering of our minds (and hearts). I love this example: we spend our days filling up a Zip drive and it’s through a good night’s sleep that we sort through the Zip drive and download and organize the stuff we need into the right places in our brain and memory. Then we delete the gunk. If we’re not getting a good night’s (yes, night) sleep, we’re not optimally clearing the stuff of our days. There’s too much left over that’s unprocessed. The Zip drive gets cluttered. Our minds get foggy.
Part of spring cleaning is perhaps getting a good night’s sleep and optimally downloading and clearing out the mental Zip drives.
Part of spring cleaning is getting rid of the physical stuff around us. The stuff we no longer need. The stuff that is creating a space of clutter. Cluttering our space AND cluttering our minds.
Not fullness (that’s different), but cluttered, messy, busy, overwhelmed, stagnant, stuck, old emotions, old thoughts, stuff, stuff, and more stuff.
There are all these wonderful rich layers to all these Yamas and Niyamas.
Don’t get me wrong, stuff is ok. Stuff is not a problem, unless it’s a problem. It is a problem when it begins to clutter our life and gets in the way of living life fully and being fully present. When it clutters and confuses our space, our hearts, and our minds.
It’s likely easier to start with the tangible stuff. Begin by cleaning your desk and office space of clutter. This makes work easier on your mind. You do not need 5000 pens or a lifetime supply of paper clips (trust me, it’s true). Just because you MIGHT need it, doesn’t mean you should keep it (again, trust me).
Clean your bedroom. This helps create an optimum space for a good night’s sleep, which will help clear the stuff from the mind. Up the Ante Tip: keep the technology OUT of the bedroom!!! Keep the NEWS and TV out of the bedroom!!! All this is stuff that is stimulating and will impact our ability to sleep well on so many, many levels. We spend the whole night churning the news, the TV show, the social media post instead of clearing out the day’s Zip drive optimally.
Helpful Tip: don’t get stuck on the thing you’re not sure if you should keep or not. To start, put it aside and move on. Focus on the “must keep this” things and the “totally can get rid of this” things. You can come back to the “I dunno, I might need this someday” thing or the “so and so will be upset if I get rid of this” thing or the “I’m not sure” things later. Starting and continuing is key.
Keep. Donate. Keep. Donate. Keep. Toss, no one wants it. Keep. Dump. Keep. Donate. Toss. Dump.
The mind tracks all this stuff as well as all the thought stuff and the emotional stuff and the memory stuff. Help your foggy mind out, get rid of the clutter. Clear your space. Clear your mind. Start with your workspace so you can work optimally. Start with your bedroom so you can sleep well. Then, if inspired, keep going.
Starting tangible is easier and has an echo on the internal mind (and heart) spaces. Life is a constant crossing of physical and spiritual. Sort one and the other begins to sort all on its own. No forcing needed. Begin to clear out the excess Stuff and see what happens.