Room For Growth

About a month before birthdays or holidays, I have a tradition with my children of clearing out toys that they no longer play with to make room for any gifts that they may receive. Well… that’s not entirely true. The tradition is planning the purge with my children and not doing it at all. Then, when they are not home, I tear through the house alone like a rogue, dysfunctional Christmas elf clearing shelves and hiding games, trinkets, and toys in the basement, until finally donating them about 6-months later. Such is parenthood. While my follow through with their participation is lacking, they do understand, and witness, that space has been made for new things.

In the west, and much of the world, we are preparing for another new year. Whether our traditions are large or small, celebratory or passive, inevitable memories of our past and plans for our future congregate in our thoughts. Some will create resolutions. Some will simply reflect. Whatever our custom, the marked passage of time does hold significance. The evidence of accomplishment. Another year with or without a loved one. The closing of a chapter or opening of a blank page. A new year is an opportunity for us to express gratitude for those things that we hold dear and release those things that we do not.

Around this time the media is often filled with tips and tricks to stick to plans for our future. Intentions, by any name, are a powerful tool for us to tell the Universe what we want and what we don’t. And when it comes to intention, karma runs the show. Not some sort of “what goes around comes around”/ “eye for an eye” nonsense, but true Newton’s 4th Law, metaphysical physics. What we put out, we will get back. If we want growth and change, we must direct our minds and emotions to work with our behaviors, with the same fluency and fluidity that nature and nurture work to create all organic things. But, much like a room full of toys, if we don’t first purge what we don’t need, there won’t be any space for what we do.

Karma is often misjudged as a harsh universal magistrate. That’s simply untrue. What is true, is that in order to sustainably attract what serves, we need to live a life that reflects it, internally and externally. If we don’t rid ourselves of the thoughts and behaviors that contradict the things that we want, we leave no space for them to grow. We’re just stockpiling on top of the old and never get to experience all that we’ve worked for. Our intention gets suffocated as any new growth would in a bed riddled with weeds. Think of it this way, all of the exercise, dermatology, and healthy eating in the world won’t do us any good if we are constantly calling ourselves unattractive. No amount of medicine or meditation can help us heal if we consistently retell ourselves that we are unwell.

The best way for us to cultivate abundance is by letting go. Letting go of our beliefs that there are limits to our potential or possibilities. When we seek growth, we must clear away that which keeps us small. If we seek strength, first abandon any belief that we are a victim. If we want joy, we forsake resentment. If we want freedom, we let go of anger. If we want to see the value in our lives, we have to detach from the feelings of worthlessness. The control, the longing and plotting, the “if only”s and “why me”s. All of this can and should be cleared. Use the space that you create for gratitude, for self-love and appreciation. Use the space for service to others, for forgiveness, for hope.

Like any collection, some things will remain on the shelf. There are griefs and joys simply too precious to clear. They remain to be honored and held from time to time. But the smaller things, which often take up the most space, should be let go. Released to create new space, new energy, and room for growth. So I invite you, during this marked passage of time, to clear the cluttered shelves of your mind. Pull the weeds before planting. Fill the space that you create with nothing more than your own unique, brilliant, powerful light. And let it shine so brightly that something beautiful can’t help but grow there.

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