• Ease and flow are the hallmarks of a peaceful life. Along with a sense of time abundance, these are vital components of true in-the-bones contentment, or what I call ‘everyday happiness.’

    Too much stuff cramps your style. Fussing and fumbling to find things, encountering daily disorganization and clutter creates chaos. This is the antithesis of peace.

    My intention is to enter 2018 in a state of grace and openness. I’m starting with my home, so I contacted Conny Graf, Maple Ridge decluttering expert and financial specialist. In our first session, she said something that transformed the way I am tackling the goal.

    She quoted my book to me, saying: “In your book, #Untrending, quoting Goethe, you wrote that ‘we are fashioned and shaped by what we love’.”

    Graf went on: “I would say we are fashioned and shaped by what we surround ourselves with. The question is, how do you want to be shaped?”

    Boom.

    We should, she said, be surrounding ourselves with what tells the story of who we are now, not who we used to be. Graf proposes that much of what we hang on to has to do with a fear of the future, holding onto what has gone before. Clearing out the old is the way we create space for the new.

    This is a thoughtful and powerful approach.

    A colleague I deeply admire, Shelley Sims, wrote a moving post on Facebook about her own process of letting go.

    She said: “In a way the making room in my house, or sorting through papers, pictures, and ideas, is the releasing of the no longer useful. And it is also making way for new things, new ideas, new opportunities, new ways of seeing things, new connections, new understandings, new stages …”

    I love this notion of making way for the new, releasing the ‘no longer useful,’ creating openness, honouring who have become, and finally, putting to rest who we once were.

    Graf recommended I start small and keep the momentum going. We tackled the laundry room, and in the days afterward I pared down clothes closets, drawers and dressers, bathroom cupboards, and got a start on vintage dishes.

    Last week, I went after my digital clutter, editing bookmarks, deleting downloads, and clearing document files.

    Now, as I am deciding what to keep and what to let go of, I ask: does this speak to who I am now? Does it reflect who I am becoming?

    Decluttering gives the future self elbow room. It is an act of self-love. Life is simpler when we can find what we are looking for. Less is more – more space, more freedom, and more possibility.

    Graf and I want to share the love, so we’re launching a local online challenge. Called ‘From Chaos to Peace,’ it will take place over four weeks in the new year.

    You can sign up in advance here.

    To quote myself: “All of life is simply learning to let go.”

    Let’s do this.

    Comments are welcome. This article first appeared in the Maple Ridge News.