Sunday, December 5, 2021

Cleaning Out the Closet



Body, Mind And Spirit
Laurie Kasperbauer


“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small, and the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all!”– lyrics from “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel


I love a clean house.

Shining countertops and freshly scrubbed floors. Beds made up with crisply cleaned linens, and bathrooms that smell, well, not like a bathroom.

But, it goes even deeper than that for me. I love an organized home. “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.” When I need a screwdriver or scissors, I can go to the appropriate drawer, and there it is. Resting snuggly between the hammer and the pliers, I find the red-handled screwdriver, and my scissors lay beside the scotch tape atop the wrapping paper.

When I discover something that’s irreparable, unusable, doesn’t fit, or I just don’t need it, it’s gone. I utilize the recycling bin and garbage container with equal enthusiasm, and I know my way in and out of The Bargain Basket like a donation pro. I know several people who follow an equilibrium when it comes to purchases. When a new pair of shoes is introduced to their closet, an old pair is either thrown out or given away. Balance. Space. Peace.

You have probably read in this column before about the “Eight Limbs of Yoga.” The most commonly recognized are the Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (mindful breathing). The Yamas (Five Moral Restraints) are the base of the Eight Limbs. I see them as the root of the yoga tree. The strong tentacles of discipline from which the other Limbs grow. The Yamas address non-violence, truthfulness, nonstealing, moderation and non-hoarding. It’s the fifth Yama, Aparigraha (non-hoarding), that comes to mind today.

How many of us are holding on to something that we really don’t need or can’t use? Maybe it’s a dress that’s hung in our closet for nearly a year with the price tag still attached. It has never fit right, and the color is odd but it was on super sale and it looks nice on the hanger. Surely, there will be an occasion to wear it some day. Or, could it be a collection of golf hats with stained brows and worn brims that lay stacked on a shelf; no longer worn but displayed, nonetheless. What is this attachment we feel? Are we actually hoarding or simply failing to surrender out of fear? Perhaps we anticipate a sense of loss and don’t want to grieve for something we once had?

While purging the excess in our closets and cupboards can be challenging, bringing that concept to our conscious minds creates a far more lofty quest. Aparigraha suggests attachment to our thoughts is as wasteful as the attachment we hold to possessions. Clutter created of past hurts, held anger, perceived injustice, grief and frustration obfuscate clear thought and mindful intention. Further, we justify our attachments with precious energy. Afraid or unwilling to let go of what is familiar, we grip tightly to our fear, pain or resentment. We rationalize with dog-eared beliefs, our “bargain-basement” judgements we garnered years ago. We stack them on the shelf of our subconscious where they take up space without function.

At the end of a recent beach yoga class, a student said to me that every time I said, “Let it go…” she thought of the recent hit song by Idina Menzel titled, “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen.” While the song interrupted the mindfulness of this individual’s practice, (I’m quite certain I say, “let it go” frequently) it could have been worse.

When it comes to yoga and preparing for the Asanas, we often set an intention or determine a mantra. Something to draw our focus inward, something to repeat with the rhythm of our breath, something that will serve us when we walk off the mat. If “let it go” are the words you carry and the practice you keep, you’re probably heading in a better direction than the one from which you came. When you let go of a thought or a desire, a memory or a premonition, you are freeing space for the good things to come. There’s fresh energy released when we surrender what takes up space without function. There is weightlessness that comes with the newly found space. With weightlessness, we look up and see joy in the moment.

The familiar yoga pose pictured here is commonly called “Camel.” Camels are known for their ability to carry heavy cargo for great distances, but at the end of the day, the camel kneels and drops the weight from his back. Once a servant to the burden, he is able to release what is no longer necessary and find sweet relief.

A closet, free of clutter gains us space and self satisfaction. A mind, free from the attachment of judgment and fear provides us opportunity and clarity.

Happy housekeeping!


Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.


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