Clean living is always critical in our everyday lives and we want to cleanse ourselves by letting go of those people, places, things, emotions, etc. that bog us down and keep us from being in a well and whole place. In week one, we learned how to identify our “stuff’ by completing a thorough self-inventory, and then in week two, we looked at some cognitive behaviour strategies for “letting go of our stuff’. If you haven’t done this yet, please start today. If you are working on this, great. Keep going this is a process. Go slowly and reward yourself along the way.
Today, we are going to look at Step Three: In Letting Go – We Give Back To Ourselves. Step Three is not really a “step” in the literal context of the word, but it is a critical concept of our renewal process in the New Year. Let me explain by sharing this short narrative.
In my young adult life and all during my adult years, my dad maintained an extraordinary garden. He grew scrumptious melons, colorful assortments of chili peppers, cucumbers, a variety of beans, and the best tasting tomatoes on this earth. Although my visits home were sporadic, especially as I grew older, whenever I visited I went out into the backyard to check out his garden.
The four seasons always signaled where my dad was in his gardening process.
After enjoying a Spring, Summer and Fall of delicious delights, the cool temperatures of. Winter brought change with it. My dad meticulously removed all the dead plants from his designated garden boxes, gently raked, sifted and smoothed out the dirt in each box, and then completed a thorough investigation of his drip system – making sure all was strong and secure for Winter’s call.
Throughout the long cold season, the soil sat in its solitary mode – resting, renewing, and reclaiming its nutrients.
During this time, my dad ordered his seeds – carefully selecting just the right ones – as well as other organic products and gardening materials. He also nurtured a mulch pile throughout the year, keeping a close eye on its fermentation. As the planting season approached again, my dad tended to his boxes- making sure their structures were solid – checked and rechecked the drip system, and he returned to and re-examined the soil – testing its readiness and preparing it for the season ahead.
When we take the time to let go of our stuff, we clean out the roots of unhealthy thoughts, behaviors, and feelings – preparing our mindset for healthy regrowth. When we release toxic relationships, places, and things, we simultaneously rake, sift, and sort through our hurting spirits – readying them for renewal.
When we give ourselves time – both during and after the process of letting go – to rest and to breathe in the stillness and freshness of those cleaned out spaces, we give back to ourselves -we replenish our beings.
And, just as the soil requires a respite from its period of production in order to produce again, we too, must pay attention to this process. Before we step out and start filling up those empty boxes with just anything, let’s do the following:
- Let’s give back to ourselves. Let’s take as much time as needed in doing so.
- Let’s keep a pulse on our readiness and implement strong boundaries along the way.
- Most importantly, let’s choose differently and be more discerning about what we want to put back into our lives and what we want to leave out.
- Let’s prepare ourselves well for the planting season ahead.
In his gardening, my dad respected the land. And under his tender care, the soil continually gave back, season after season.
In letting go, we learn to respect ourselves.
And in doing so, we cultivate a mindset of wellness that gives back to us time and time again.
Publishers Notes: Holli Kenley is an American Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the author of “ Daughters Betrayed By Their Mothers: Moving from Brokenness to Wholeness” and “Power Down & Parent Up!: Cyber Bullying, Screen Dependence & Raising Tech-Healthy Children”