It makes no difference if the spaces are the external ones in which we live and work or the more vast internal ones that we fill up with a noisy, chattering, worrying mind. Clearing any thing or thought opens the channels to that part of us that is always clear, spacious, and not attached; like the blue sky above the clouds that never changes. So how do we release the stuff, reduce the noise, and connect with that which makes our heart’s sing? One minute at a time – with awareness. Awareness…It changes everything.
At the heart of it, clearing is not about tackling the unsightly messes, the clothes that don’t fit, the emails that invade your inbox, and to-do lists that get longer by the second. Clearing is not fixing a problem or reaching for a solution. It is what happens in between. It is the space between the problem and the solution where the real juice is, where the real clearing happens and the only way to release what isn’t working for you is to enter that sometimes scary zone called feeling. Feeling of overwhelm, resistance, attachment, guilt, sadness, worry, despair, shame…Feeling it all – without judging it as good or bad or taking it personally.
Moving things from one place to another; clothes to drawer, magazines from the floor to the reading basket, button that needs sewing to do-do pile, bills to desk drawer or wherever they go in your home, dirty clothes to hamper; moves stuck energy. Sometimes the release of stuck energy doesn’t feel very good; especially if the thing has been sitting around for a while. Add mindfulness and subtract self-judgment and you have just created a clearing practice that is both sustaining and sustainable. Take a moment to look away from this computer screen. Do you see anything that is out of place? If so, use this moment to put it away. Or take sixty seconds to move a pile, or round up one area. Push chairs in, turn off lights, make the bed, cap the toothpaste, put the toilet seat down, match shoes with mates, pick up the dirty clothes, and put the clean dishes away. What does it feel like to consciously place something where it belongs? What does it feel like to put the same thing in its home every day?
Is there a situation that feels unresolved? Are you thinking on something that you can’t figure out, doesn’t add up, or make sense? Do you feel stuck, rattled, jangled? If so, try sweeping, reach for your broom and sweep for one minute today and notice what it feels like. Sweep a floor, a room, the front steps, or cobwebs that are hard to reach. You can use the practice of sweeping to invoke a fresh start, anchor an intention, and open a path to a solution. In the spirit of this Japanese saying, “Let the past drift away in the water,” wash your hands mindfully to release the strings or attachments of your day and/or to bring in cleansing energy. Wash a dirty dish or two: smell the soap, feel the cleansing warmth of the water on your hands, gently place the clean dishes in the drainer to dry. Slow down. Breathe. Allow.
Ease; for such a little word, it lingers and expands if you say it out loud. With very little effort, it works magic on your nervous system. Try it now; stop, take an easy breath in and repeat the phrase “I choose ease.” Anytime you notice yourself feeling jangled, rattled, overwhelmed, anxious, or ill at ease, simply repeat the phrase for one minute, and notice the quality of your breathing; is it shallow…is it full; before, during, and after doing this practice. De-clutter a purse, a wallet, a drawer. Throw outdated bulletin board flyers, lifeless food item from the freezer or refrigerator, recycle newspaper, magazine, or store catalogue. Clap, rattle, or ring a bell to clear stuck energies and/or to prepare a space for something new. On a piece of paper make a list of things, or issues that weigh you down, and burn it or just imagine it burning with gratitude. What does it feel like just reading these words? How’s your breathing?
There are the obvious external clues of clearing success, of course: an emptier bookcase, a new love interest, a job offer; but what about the internal markers? How spacious and detached and present can you be when the next family reunion rolls around? Or a child becomes seriously ill? The next time your button gets pressed or you notice yourself getting lost in emotional drama, take a breath and replace the personalizing “I am…” or “I have…” thoughts with the more neutral declarative: “This is…” For example, “I’m worried” would be “This is worry,” “I have a headache,” would be “This is a headache,” and so on. Notice how easy or hard it is to let go. Notice if this practice helps you become more of an observer of the emotional “weather” instead of the weather.
What are you grateful for? Take one minute to stop, breathe, and express gratitude for your life, your home, your body, and your world. Practice this exercise especially when you feel down or hopeless. See if by shifting the focus on the idea of having rather than lacking you observed something you hadn’t noticed before. If this exercise brings up some resistance, take it as a sign to stop, feel, and observe the emotional weather without doing anything to fix or manage it. If you want to support yourself in feeling lighter, start laughing. Execute one small thing that makes your heart sing like read: love madly, activates your senses, and/ or makes you laugh out loud. Fake a laugh if you have to get the energy moving. The more joy you feel the more you will radiate lightness and attract lighter people.
What’s going through your mind right this second? Do you feel the same as you did when you began scrolling through this post? Is your breathing the same or different? Adopt any one-minute practice into your daily life, every day for a week or six weeks, or even a year and watch what happens. You may notice that your buttons don’t get pressed as much. You may feel inexplicably happy for no particular reason.
You may be pleasantly surprised by what you attract into your life, remember every moment is a new moment. Consistency, not quantity, is the key to freedom and lasting change.
Name: Dr. Anil Agarwal Jain
Admission To School: March of 1986
Admission To MBBS in MMC: 1998
Convocation: In Year 2003
TOFEL (Test of English as Foreign Language): 2004
Admission to University of Massachusetts Medical School: 2004
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
Three-year Internal Medicine Residency Program completed in 2007
Worked in Brigham and Women's Hospital till 2010
Returned to India in 2011
Now appointed as visiting Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at St. John's Medical College Hospital, Bangalore.