Cleaning out sometimes feels a bit like a death.

Whenever I pack up bags to give away, it feels as though I’m going through old remnants of my past self, closets of things that represent who I used to be, and parting ways.

Lately I’ve been cleaning out everything: getting rid of extra toiletries, clothes, miscellaneous things, even most of my books, in an effort to minimize and make space.  Sometimes giving things away feels ceremonious and I’m glad to be letting go of things. I joyously depart from practices that no longer serve me.

Other times, it’s downright painful to leave a city you love behind and jump off the edge into unknown territory and build your next life.

Change can be painful, emotional, and difficult to embrace.

Christina Rasmussen, an author I stumbled across last year and who I have come to adore, started a similar conversation about letting go. She pointed out how these shifts happen across not just our physical lives, but our digital, connected, and spiritual lives:

“During the last couple of weeks I have been unfollowing some people I admired years ago. It is not that I no longer admire them; I am just looking for another place for my eyes to land. Facebook can be both a horizon and a wall. When you start seeing the wall, you know what you need to do.”

I couldn’t agree more. It is more than fine to unfollow. Unfollow to make space for your own brain to think; slow down to cherish your own heartbeat; let unread books become donations to people who will read them. And in the digital world, while the work people are doing may be beautiful and wonderful — it might not be the vibration that you need in your life anymore.

Even when cutting feels aggressive, by doing so, you make space for new beautiful souls to wander into your life. And better yet, you make new space for the same two souls to mature independently and for you to meet again in the future, on another level, with a new relationship.

By nature of existence, we both accumulate and eliminate.

Growth comes with death. Each year, living things cycle through similar processes. We all grow, evolve, shift, and change. What you love and need one year is not the same as the next.

Just as Kate Northrup writes about deadheading as a growth practice, making space is about removing what’s dead in your life so new growth can flourish. It is through this cutting, this elimination, this space-making, that we make room for us to grow beyond our container.

To expand.

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