How To Clear Space, Spark Joy, Make Change

By Marilynn Preston

February 23, 2016 5 min read

Remember last Dec. 31? It was the night you popped the champagne, slapped your cheek, screamed "enough!" and resolved to do something positively healthy in the new year.

Learn to cook! Lose 30 pounds! Get to the gym three times a week! Stop after one glass! (OK, two.) Find time to meditate 10 minutes a day, no matter what!

Proclaiming our best intentions is a piece of cake compared to sticking with them. Be honest: Have you seen a real change in yourself these last couple of months?

Don't worry. I've had cheeses last longer than many of my year-end resolutions. "Insanity," Albert Einstein told us, "is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Dear Reader, you may have tried some of my favorite recipes: Write down your goals; make them small and achievable; and keep a journal of your progress. But if you've failed time and again to make lifestyle change happen,

and you want a different result, try doing something different, even if it strikes you as wacky and woo-woo.

I'm proposing that you clear the space. According to the time-honored principles of feng shui — much ridiculed, highly respected — clutter in your home and in your workspace can be a real block to change. The same is true of your mind. When you clear the space — physical and mental — magic can happen.

Christan Hummel is a pro at this. Here are a few of her best ideas, taken from her classic, "Do-It-Yourself Space Clearing Kit."

1. RESPECT YOUR SPACE. Energy follows thought, says 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. That was then. This is now. (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 personal space that is orderly and organized. Get ready to spring clean your closet, home, garage, both physically and energetically, by using sage, smudging or even sacred sounds. Sage? Smudging? Bells and chimes? Yep, the most effective space clearing goes way beyond Spic And Span.

3. PRACTICE LETTING GO. Make room for the new by consciously letting go of the old, on a deeply personal level. To mark the beginning of the rest of your life, perform a ritual, do something different. A classic way to mark the moment is to light a candle, write down what no longer serves you — from addictions to anger — and feed it to the flame, taking care not to burn down the house.

4. GET RID OF STUFF. Your home has a circulation system, says Hummel, and when you've got too many possessions gunking it up, the energy you need to make change cannot flow. 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.

Another champion of sacred decluttering is Marie Kondo, the best-selling author of "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up." Her popular book truly can be life-changing if you're willing to follow her KonMari method of transforming your messy spaces (and messy life) into "spaces of serenity and inspiration."

"My clients never go back to the mess," she said in a YouTube video. "Once you find out what objects inspire you, you find out what inspires your life."

"Tidy [up] in one shot," Marie Kondo advises, "as quickly, and completely, as possible." And don't go room by room. She insists you go by category, not by location — all your clothes first, all your personal momentos last, because the more you do it, the easier it gets.

"Make sure you touch each thing," says Kondo. Then listen to your body. If the item sparks joy, keep it. If it doesn't inspire you, thank it for all that it has done for you, and let it go.

ENERGY EXPRESS-O! DOES YOUR CHIPPED VASE SPARK JOY?

"Keep only those things that speak to your heart. ... By doing this you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle." — Marie Kondo

Marilynn Preston — healthy lifestyle expert, well-being coach and Emmy-winning producer — is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. She has a website, marilynnpreston.com, and welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to [email protected] She also produces EnExTV, a digital reincarnation of her award-winning TV series about sports, fitness and adventure, for kids of all ages, at youtube.com/EnExTV and facebook.com/EnExTV. 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.

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