De-Clutter: To simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, complications; to organize and prioritize one’s commitments responsibilities, material possessions, etc.
The saying that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste” may seem like an old cliché – however, it actually speaks a great deal of truth. Oftentimes our minds are on constant overload cluttered with a constant flow of thoughts, information, worries that seem to run on autopilot. So much so, that it’s nearly impossible to decipher one thought from the next and focus our minds on the task at hand.
We have our ever-growing “things to do” lists – both personal and professional; calls to make, emails to send, meetings to attend; family responsibilities; worries about what might happen tomorrow; and fears, concerns, and worst nightmare scenarios. Buried deep in our subconscious minds are childhood memories – the good and bad, happy and painful – that take up space in our psyche; thoughts that unknowingly guide and control many of our actions and relationships well into adulthood. Also intertwined are our hopes, dreams, and fantasies of the future; a constant longing for something to happen to make our lives dramatically different. Wholeheartedly believing that if this or that would happen our lives would be that much better. In the midst of all of this, resides a still small voice chiding us to calm our minds, to be still and to let go of the need to remain in a state of constant chaos.
I know from experience that is easier said than done. I spent many years praying for peace of mind. Hoping and praying to find some way to end the ceaseless chatter and chaos that consumed my mind. Chatter which lessened only slightly when I was asleep and at times actually increased. I recall a colleague recommended that I keep a small notebook by my bed so that if thoughts/worries about work came up while I was sleeping, I could just write them down to get them out of my mind. That worked for a period of time. However, I soon realized that was only addressing the symptoms and not getting to the root cause of the issue. I had no peace of mind because I had yet to realize that much of which consumed my mind, that which I was holding onto – needed to be released. I needed to let go. I needed to de-clutter my mind. This is a very individual process and a critical first step is recognizing the need for de-cluttering.
The process of de-cluttering one’s mind is very similar to the process of de-cluttering a home or office. You must first take an inventory of what you have, place it into categories and be willing to take action. If you think about it visually – you might have a pile of thoughts and memories you want to keep; those you want to donate or sell; and those that need to be shredded and thrown out with the trash. Each of us knows deep in our hearts which categories the thoughts, memories and concerns which reside in minds fall into. We have to be willing to be honest with ourselves and take a thorough personal inventory as we seek a greater level of peace.
I am grateful to say that after an exhaustive journey, I have done a great deal of de-cluttering of my own mind. I have been blessed to experience the peace of mind that I prayed for. However, I must reiterate that this is a continual process. As new thoughts, memories and experiences come it is critical to immediately place them into categories before they take up space and develop roots in your mind. I’m much more cognizant of immediately letting go of that which serves no purpose in my life; letting go of what impedes my ability to maintain a level of peace of mind. I’m also much more aware of appreciating and treasuring those thoughts and memories that truly feed my spirit, ones that should be nurtured so that they may grow and continue to expound into the beauty growing in my life.
I encourage everyone to try this process. While arduous at times, the rewards are greater than one might imagine. To be blessed with the “peace that surpasses all understanding” is truly a gift from God, from the Universe and one that is available to us all.
Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.