Cat From The Mat

Renovate Your Soul

"Operation Declutter" has been the theme of 2012 for me.  It's been a year of change and re-evaluating life on many levels.  But the one area of life that has needed most of my attention has been the spaces in which I live.  It's amazing how much stuff I have accumulated over the years, while still being mindful of not hoarding what I do not need.  And the impetus of this purging came from the desire to simplify and beautify my abode, in a quest to make it current.  Renovating space takes time, with a few steps involved. 

Step one: You must first bring everything to its basic form.  Once you get down to the substructure and see clearly what is there, you can then decide whether you are standing on solid ground or upon a house of cards.   By removing that old carpet or linoleum, you might find beautiful wooden floors or perhaps termite-ridden and rotten beams.  Until you excavate, you don't know what is holding you up.  Similarly, your inner dwelling is in need of constant inspection.  When your body does not feel secure, it holds on to unnecessary tension, which can uproot you.  It's that fight-or-flight response, known as the sympathetic nervous system.  Yoga however navigates within the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system.  When you feel at home in your own skin and anchored inside, then you can relax. Your bodily systems can run smoothly.  Every time you practice yoga, you digest life.  You fortify your foundation, so that you can see what is and is not working within the studs of your own inner architecture.

Step two:  Once you establish a solid foothold, the purging can then commence.    Choosing what to keep and what to get rid of is a creative process.  You might not even realize how much history you are holding on to.  As I methodically went through each room, every closet, and all of my files, it dawned on me that although I had "moved on," I was still stuck in the energy of the past.  I chose to throw away my many antiquated VHS copies of films I produced/directed.  I shredded old letters and donated lots of memorable books.  Some of my earliest IKEA furniture was put on the curb.  (It's amazing it lasted this long!)  And I finally tossed out products with past due expiration dates.  And it all felt so liberating.  It's the same clarity and space-making on the yoga mat, that feeds more freedom. 


The Sanskrit word "aparigraha" translates as "non-grasping."  However, often is it defined as "non-attachment."  And the truth is, you are attached to that which you value and desire.  The things you choose to retain still have worth.   When weeding out my closet, I had to make a choice about a winter coat that I had worn all the time and loved. I was attached to it.  However, it was of more importance to me that my neighbor’s kid wear could wear it this winter, so I happily gave it away.  I was able to appreciate what it had to offer, while not being bound by it, like spotting a four-leaf clover and not picking it.   I enjoy the idea that its usefulness will continue on.  Whether with a jacket or a relationship, can you appreciate value without clinging, even enough to let it go?


Step three: Now the beautification begins.  Reconfiguring the furniture layout can make a room feel new again.  With fewer possessions and more space, you have many possibilities.  A fresh coat of paint and streamlined reorganization can update all residencies… in your heart, mind, and body.  As we move into the dark and fertile fall seasonal, there's room for germinating potential.   The yoga invites you to choose what is significant and what is superfluous, while conjuring up more luminosity to see what is truly beneath your patterns.  That interior clarity is empowering.  Throughout the remainder of the year, you can instill what's beneficial and nourishing while you renovate your soul and design the life you want.

Happy Autumn,

Cat McCarthy, 500-ERYT