As I continue to eliminate the unwanted from my life I am constantly rubbing up against the ten tenets of Yoga. I can’t help it, I teach this stuff, I’m immersed in it. Just in case you’re working on your own purge, I thought I would share these gems with you today. Some seem more applicable to purging than others, but on some level they all kind of fit.
I’ll present them all to you simply and in English. Keep in mind that each of these is asking us to first look at how we are treating ourselves in thought, word or deed, then how we are with others. We cannot fully love another – without strings, conditions or barriers – without truly love ourselves. I know, that’s why it’s called a practice.
I’ll also fit them into the Minimalist/Purging framework, although I am certain you will recognize how these may apply more broadly to all of life.
The first five are restraints, those things we practice NOT doing. The second five are observations or those things we DO practice.
Not harming – Seems simple enough. Don’t hurt yourself, don’t hurt others. How might you be hurting yourself with stuff (other than tripping over it)? One way may be holding onto items that evoke negative or sad memories. Perhaps just having too much stuff is limiting; there’s a lot more to clean and manage that may be taking time away from what you’d really love to do. Or maybe too much stuff is simply stressing you out, clogging up your energy and creating general malaise.
Not lying or truthfulness – If you were completely honest with yourself would you really hold onto so much?
Not stealing – Obviously don’t take other people’s stuff, we’re trying to unload our own, remember? But what if we’re holding onto things that we’re not using, haven’t used for years, that could be useful to someone else?
Moderation – Be mindful about what you bring into your home, what you purchase, how much you have. Chances are you don’t need more organizational systems for your stuff, you need less stuff.
Non-attachment or non-hoarding – I probably don’t really need to elaborate.
Purity – Here’s an opportunity to visit your intentions with each of your things, especially when you’re considering bringing more things in. I like to equate purity with space and clutter with toxicity.
Contentment – Does your stuff bring you contentment? Hint: If you are constantly looking for things, probably not.
Discipline – This one is two-fold for me. There’s the obvious discipline of not bringing more unnecessary stuff into your home or life, but there’s also the structure to have what is already in your possession organized. A place for everything and the discipline to put it away when you aren’t using it.
Self-study – Watch your reactions to things. If you decide you’re going to clean out your clothes closet, notice what you are attached to and question it. Is it something you hope to fit into one day? Is it encouraging or frustrating? Is it even still in style or appropriate for where you are now? Could someone else benefit by having it?
Surrender – Ultimately, it’s about letting go of attachment. Trusting the process. When you create more physical space it allows room for more to come in. It’s not so much a shirt for a shirt, but more like a shirt for increased creativity or a raise at work or meeting a new special someone. Letting go is not giving up, it’s opening the door to opportunity.
Whether you’re a woo woo energy person or a chemical engineer I trust you know that more space and less stuff is good for you. Maybe these 10 guidelines will help, maybe you can redefine them to better fit your situation.
When you can come at this with compassion for yourself and your stuff it can be a very liberating experience.