For as long as I can remember, I have loved having a good old sort-out, especially of my wardrobe. When my three sisters and I were little, around once a year my mum would herd us into a bedroom, at the centre of which would be a huge mountain of all of our combined clothes. Then would begin an hour or so of heady, thrilling madness, with clothes flying all over the place, tussles for the mirror and the odd whiney dispute, as we went through the much-anticipated process of passing on clothes that no longer fitted us and inheriting new items. It always involved mixed emotions – for example the struggle to let go of a treasured pair of jeans mixed with glee at finally having my hands on my sister’s much coveted minnie mouse t-shirt. But the end result was always one of calm camaraderie and contentment – a job well done.
And I still find it immensely satisfying trawling through the depths of my wardrobe, seeking out forgotten fashion horrors and banishing them to a bulging bin-liner, to be deposited ceremoniously at the charity shop. I used to feel that the resultant empty spaces in the drawers and wardrobe were good justification for a shopping spree. But over the years, I’ve come to enjoy the sparseness that is left, with no desire to fill it. It feels cleansing and liberating to just have what I need, and to not be tied down by unnecessary extras. Instead of new things, I feel like I have new space, both in my bedroom and in my head – and that feels good.
Having attended a wonderful ‘Autumn cleansing’ workshop with Liz Lark today, I was reminded that autumn is a great time of year to carry out an audit and have a good old clear-out. This might be focused on your wardrobe or kitchen cupboards, but it could just as easily be focused on yourself. The workshop involved flow sequences that included lots of twists and deep hip openers, in order to squeeze out old, stale energy deep within our bodies and bring in new energy. One brilliant pose to do at this time of year is the pigeon, and add a twist in for good measure by bringing a forearm onto the mat in front of you and taking the opposite hand around the back and looking over that shoulder, then swap the forearms over and twist the other way – this combination of hip opening and spinal twist really wrings out the body from within.
We also enjoyed prolonged guided pranayama (breathing) and meditations during the workshop in order to focus our minds on our inner world rather than the outer world. Taking time out to sit and mindfully focus on your breathing or a visualisation or a mantra is a great way to help create mental clarity, which then helps us to tune into and trust our innate intelligence and intuition. If any negative thoughts arise, notice these thoughts and try and flip whatever negative statements you are hearing to the reverse positive statement. Liz quoted the Buddhist saying that ‘we create our world through our own thoughts’. Trying to throw out old, negative repeated thoughts and replace them with more helpful, positive thoughts is a great way to make a positive change this autumn.
As the trees shed their leaves at this time of year, so too can we shed old habits and attachments that no longer serve us. Then, like the trees, in this bare, liberated state we can focus our energy on fostering new, positive growth as we hunker down over the winter, so that it is ready to burst out into bright, riotous fullness when the seasons start to change again and we feel warmth on our skin once more… 🙂