Happy New Year! We made it through 2018 and for many people (including me) that was not not an easy under-taking. If you take a moment to reflect on the past year and what you had been holding onto, what do you notice? For me, I was holding onto A LOT of baggage. LITERALLY. 

My husband and I sold our home deciding to simplify, downsize and find a way to live in such a way that sparks joy for us individually and as a couple. As a dear friend told us during our move, "We realize we love the life we have when we don't have to go anywhere to feel like we are on vacation."

WOW. Did that stick with me or what?! During our packing process, I had three people (indeed a magic number) ask me if I had read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  I hadn't but I became curious, especially after the third person mentioned it. Marie Kondo's compassionate message is to only keep things in our lives that bring us JOY. "How would that be?" I thought to myself, not realizing until that moment that I had boxes of stuff from 4- 20 years ago that no longer brought me joy. In fact, they brought me sadness. An example was my deceased mother's belongings. I had packed away all of her things after she passed away four years ago and put them in a closet, literally and in my mind. I had compartmentalized the array of feelings I felt the days, weeks and months after she passed, not wanting to feel anything. Upon opening the closet, the feelings came flooding back in. 

I decided it was time to look into Marie Kondo. I began watching her series, "Tidying Up" on Netflix. The thing that struck me was Marie's emphasis on expressing gratitude for each person's home and what it's brought to a family, as well as their clothing, sentimental items and things. She encourages each person to fold clothing and items they want to keep neatly in drawers and containers, avoiding trash bags while thanking each piece of clothing or item one doesn't wish to keep for serving the person while they have had it. I have always written in my gratitude journal at night and in the morning, but this took appreciation to a whole new level!

I cried as I said goodbye to some of the items I had held onto for decades while thanking all of them for serving me. With every piece of clothing and item I said goodbye to, I noticed my mind got quieter, and my heart felt more settled and open. I felt freer and lighter! I decided I needed to tidy up my computer and deleted over 100,000 emails. I cleaned up the 4,000 pictures on my phone and deleted numerous contacts of people I hadn't talked to in years. I also tidied up my office realizing that I didn't need to keep books that I hadn't opened since college. Upon tidying up all of these spaces, I felt utter joy and gratitude. It is truly mind-blowing how much internal space we create by tidying up all areas of our lives!

After this experience, I realized I now have a beautiful new tradition every January- Tidying Up! Each new year gives us an opportunity to release what no longer serves us in ALL areas of our lives, thanking everything for the time we had with it and opening up space only for things that spark joy. 

This is a new year! You are a new you every day. We all are. You spark joy simply by being alive. No one can take that away from you. See if you can surround yourself with things that bring joy into your life, including what you wear, what you keep on your phone, what you have on computer, the people you share your life with, and what you have in your living space. Be in gratitude for all that you have even the things in which you choose to say goodbye.

And as always, remember you are SO WORTH IT. 

Happy New Year Joyful Ones!