Clearing your space is one of the best resolutions you can make
Creators News Service
Anyone can make New Year's resolutions: Lay off the chips. Get to the gym three times a week. Stop after one glass. Start yoga.
Proclaiming your best intentions is a piece of cake. But what about sticking to those healthier habits? Seeing real change happen in the coming year?
Uhh . . . that's a much trickier problem. I've had cheeses that last longer than most year-end promises. What's the average survival rate? A month? A weekend? That's because change isn't easy. If it were, we'd all be living balanced, sane, enlightened lives instead of feeling frantic and frustrated about never having enough time to do what we want to do, to be who we wish we could be (too often someone who weighs 10 pounds less).
There's an old saying, I forget who said, it but here's the gist of it: A fool is someone who does the same thing over and over again and expects a different result. I'm not calling anyone a fool -- that would be a very naughty way to begin the new year -- but I am saying that if you have failed time and again to make your New Year's resolutions last, then maybe it's time to take a completely new approach.
Write down your goals? Make them small and achievable? Keep a journal of your progress? Great ideas, but I've been recommending them for 30 years. And no one's accusing me of being perfect.
If you want a different result, you have to take a different path. So this year, before you stand naked in front of the Great Mirror of Lifestyle Change and ask yourself: Who am I, why am I here, how can I be healthier and happier, I want you to try something a little wacky-sounding.
I want you to "clear the space." According to the time-honored principles of feng shui -- much ridiculed, yet highly respected -- energetic clutter in your home and in your workspace can be a real block to change. The same is true of your mind. If you want to stop after one glass of wine, or take a deep breath when airport security decides to ransack your carry-on, then you have to clear the space, both physical and mental.
Christan Hummel is a pro at this. Here are a few of her best ideas, taken from her book "The Do-It-Yourself Space Clearing Kit: Working with Nature to Enhance the Energies of your Home" ($28, One Source Publications). I know it seems a little hocusy-pocusy. So does the iPhone. Give it a try:
1. RESPECT YOUR SPACE. Energy follows thought, said Hummel. So don't bring bad energy into your home. Take off your shoes and leave them at the front door as a way to consciously let go of your worries of the day. Eastern philosophers have been teaching this for about a million years.
2. CLEAN OUT BAD ENERGY. It's a subtle thing, but it just feels better to be in a space that is orderly and organized. So this year, take Hummel's advice and clean up your personal space, physically and energetically, using sage, smudging and sacred sounds. Sage? Smudging? Sacred sounds? Yep, space clearing goes way beyond Spic And Span.
3. PRACTICE LETTING GO. To make room for the new, you need to let go of the old on a deeply personal level. To mark the beginning of the rest of your life, take a ceremonial bath, meditate or simply light a candle to symbolically burn up your old worries, your sedentary habits, your anger and jealousy.
4. GET RID OF STUFF. Your home has a circulation system, said Hummel, and when you've got too many possessions gunking it up, the energy you need to make change can't flow. Make decisions! Recycle, give, or throw stuff away. Practice "emotional release work." That's when you privately honor, love and appreciate the item (and the person who gave it to you) just before kissing it goodbye.
ENERGY EXPRESS-O: MA KNOWS BEST
"Being fully with what is happening right now is living in the flow itself . . . living this way ensures that we will not break but will bend like the graceful willow as inevitable change occurs." -- Swami Ma
Have past resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle worked out for you? E-mail me your story and start the new year as an inspiration to us all.
Marilynn Preston -- fitness expert, personal trainer and speaker on healthy lifestyle issues -- is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. She welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to [email protected] To find out more about Preston and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.