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You likely know how to clear, and cultivate, the outer spaces of your life so that they feel clean, organised, and comfortable (whether you do it, or not, is another story).
But you probably know little, or nothing, about how to clear, and cultivate, your inner space because, let's face it, it's not something you tend to get taught as you grow up.
It's odd, really, because you inhabit your inner space day in, day out, no matter what. Ultimately, it's the most important space you've got.
You'd probably like your inner space to feel something like your ideal outer space; safe, clear, calm, comfortable and maybe even uplifting, spacious, and light.
But, just like the outer spaces of your life, this doesn't happen by chance. It takes a bit of care and attention because, left to its own devices, your inner space is also prone to fill-up with clutter, mess, and junk.
In this case, the mental clutter created by constant thinking, planning, judging, and worrying.
The emotional mess of painful memories, wounding, regret, and shame.
The psychological junk of negative thinking, limiting beliefs, and unhelpful stories.
All this psychic stuff can leave your inner space feel messy, and crowded, with less room for the good things to come in, like peace, clarity, creativity, vitality, and joy.
If you want more of these good things in your life, you need to do a bit of inner maintenance.
Here's 6 ways you can begin to clear, and cultivate, your inner space:
❶ Release Emotional Baggage
Emotional baggage takes up a LOT of internal space, and carrying around those pent-up emotions can leave you feeling stuck, heavy, and stagnant.
One of the best things you can do to clear, and cultivate, your inner space is to find a safe way to begin to express, organise, and release any old emotions that are hanging around.
You can do this by yourself through things like journaling, art-making, dancing, or in trusted conversation.
You don't need to push yourself, or do a huge purge. Just give yourself a bit of time, and see what's ready to be expressed.
If things get confusing, or heavy, or you want to really dive into this process more deeply, then it can help to work through this with a therapist or experienced guide.
Every bit of old emotion you release creates a little more space inside.
❷ Tell Better Stories
The stories you tell about yourself and your life (to yourself and others) helps to shape your reality.
These stories form around the beliefs, and ideas, you've developed over time and they impact on your sense of self and your behaviour.
If the stories you tell are largely authentic, and affirming, then that's all well and good.
But, often, you'll replay some limiting, critical, or negative stories (that aren't even that true), which leave you feeling mad, sad, or bad about yourself, others, and life.
This consumes a lot of head, and heart, space and influences what you do, and don't do, in life.
So, another great way to clear, and cultivate, your inner space is to get clear on the stories you tell.
You can start right now.
Grab yourself a piece of paper, and a pen, and write down 3 stories you tell about yourself or your life.
Maybe you always tell the story of how uncreative you are; or how you always have to be there for everybody; or how life never works out for you; or how you never have time for yourself.
When you've written down your 3 stories ask yourself:
➣ Is this story true (like, really?)
➣ Does this story help or hurt me?
➣ What story could I tell instead, which would make me feel more affirmed and positive?
So, let's say you always tell the story about how life never works out for you.
➣ Is that true?
If you look back, I'm sure there are plenty of times when life's worked out for you.
Can you breathe easily? Walk? Talk? Have you got a home? Qualifications? Food? Family? Friends? A Job?
List down all the ways in which life has worked out for you, even if it's a small way.
➣ Does this story help or hurt you?
How do you feel when you tell this story that life never works out for you?
Do you feel positive, successful, and loved? Do you feel negative, a failure, and rejected?
Imagine telling that story right now, and write down how it makes you feel.
➣ New Story?
If this story hurts you, and is based on untruths, then it's time to get yourself a better story.
Write down a new story that you can begin to tell instead. In this case you might say:
"Sometimes life works out for me and sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't I can always learn, and grow, from those situations."
When you tell more authentic, accurate, and affirmative stories about yourself, and life, you'll begin to feel more freedom, confidence, and peace inside.
❸ Clear Stuck Energies
Ultimately, you're an energetic being with mental, emotional, physical, creative, sexual, and spiritual energies within you.
These dynamic energies need to be used, channelled, and expressed to ensure their free movement, otherwise they can get blocked, stuck, and unbalanced.
Much of modern day life tends to keep you stuck in the mental energy of your head.
So, you need to find ways to manage, and express, all those other energies within you to keep your inner space feeling fluid, clear, and vital.
Grab that piece of paper, and pen, and write down all the ways you could, or already do, express your mental
emotional, physical, creative, sexual, and spiritual energies.
Are there any gaps? If so, how could you tend to these to energies in your everyday life?
Maybe you could infuse a bit more of your creativity into your outfits, work life, cooking, or home decor.
Maybe you could walk to work, do some morning stretches, or play with your kids or dog.
Maybe you could open up more to your loved ones, have a cry when you need to, or regularly write about how you feel in a journal.
There's no way around it: these energies have to be tended to if you really want to feel good, do well, and thrive in your life.
❹ Reduce Mental Loops
Mental loops (where you think about the same things over and over) can take up a LOT of inner space.
You might continually: replay the same memory; rehearse a future scenario; beat yourself up about a past event; worry about a certain person, situation, or incident.
Usually, these mental loops are barely even conscious, but they still take up a LOT of mental, and emotional, energy. Two ways you can help to limit your mental loops are:
1) Say it and stop it ....say it out loud, write it down, tell someone about it to help get this loop conscious. Once you know it's there, it's easier (but not necessarily easy) to notice when you're being sucked in again.
When you notice you're stuck in a loop, literally say, "stop" to yourself and switch your focus to something else instead (focus on your breath; repeat affirming thoughts; make a cup of tea).
2) meditation ....there, I said it. It was bound to come up in a conversation about clearing, and cultivating, your inner space but, for good reason, because it helps.
If you're new to this, start small. Sit in your chair (no fancy pose or yoga pants needed), close your eyes, take a slow breath, and for 1 minute just be aware.
If your thoughts won't stop, just notice. If you feel something, just notice.
Don't worry about trying to 'empty' yourself of any thoughts and feelings. Just try to be fully present with what's happening for one minute.
Practice whenever you remember, and when it gets easier, increase your time to 2 minutes.
Mental loops serve no real purpose, They just take-up a lot of energy, and focus, and have a knack of leaving you feeling mad, sad, bad, or anxious. Practice letting them go.
❺ Go Into Nature
Getting out into nature can be a great way to slow down, get present, and give yourself some time just to be.
It doesn't have to involve a huge hike, or magnificent scenery. A short walk in the park, or sitting in your garden, can work all the same.
Set an intention that you'll use this time to clear, and cultivate, your inner space.
This is about the experience of simply being with yourself in nature, rather than also trying to get fit, walk your dog, catch up on social media, or call friend.
As you walk, or sit, try to be mentally still in that space (instead of getting lost in an internal commentary about what's happening, or about what you could, or should, be doing instead).
Even for a moment, try to let your worries, to-do list, and problems fall away and let the outer spaciousness infuse you with a sense of inner spaciousness and peace.
❻ Tidy An Outer Space
Your inner and outer world impact each other.
So, when your outer space is untidy, or disorganised, it can make you feel stressed and chaotic inside.
If this is the case, choose one small space that's bugging you, and get it sorted, even if it's just your bag or a drawer. You'll feel better for getting on top of it, and your life will run a little more smoothly because of it.
The reverse can also be true.
If you're feeling stressed, or chaotic, it can be therapeutic to clean, or tidy, an outer space because it helps to take your mind off things, and channel some of that nervous energy.
So, there you have it, my 6 steps to help you clear, and cultivate, your inner space and why it matters.
Of course, you need to take some action on these steps, if you're to benefit from them.
So, to help keep yourself accountable, feel free to post your intention, or evidence of any action you've taken, over in our free flourish community and we'll all cheer you on!