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Fall Cleaning

Written by Seanne Emerton

It’s officially here!  Fall!  I think it’s my favorite season (well, it’s almost a tie with Spring.)   There’s something so comforting about the softer, creamier light outside, the leaves turning golden and orange, the cooler days and nights, football games and marching bands, the smell of apple crisp baking and cozy evenings.  

It’s a time of harvest.  A time to count our blessings.  A time of gratitude.  It’s also a time to release what no longer serves us in our lives.  A time to take stock.  What is working for us that we want to keep?     What needs cleaned out?

Symbolically speaking, autumn is a time of endings.   The old must die so there can be rebirth and the new can begin.  It’s a good time to ask yourself what you want to be different in your life or in your family’s life.   For instance, what are you ready to let go to make room for more positive connecting time with your family?   What do you want to release so you can be happier?  Can you give yourself permission to do that?  Can you receive “the harvest” of doing deep, inner cleansing?

I use a process to help clients emotionally prepare for change…whether it is a move, a loss of a relationship, a death or a new job.  I invite you to consider the following as you think about what you want to clean up in your life this Fall:

  1. Choose a symbol representing something you are glad to get rid of.

  2. Choose a symbol representing something you are leaving behind reluctantly.

  3. Choose a symbol representing something you want to take with you from the “old life”.

  4. Choose a symbol representing a quality you want to cultivate in your new life (or in this current season.)  

For instance, I want to clean up clutter in my life, practically and figuratively speaking.   I have too much “stuff” and it overwhelms me, making life too complicated.  I always see lots of possibility in everything so I collect ideas too, in addition to other stuff.   I can get distracted with the mind clutter. Sometimes I can feel paralyzed by so many options that I just get stuck.  Getting stuck is no fun…and what I really want is to have more fun!

So here’s an example of the symbols I choose as I hold the intention to clean out the clutter in my life:

  1. Representing something I’m glad to get rid of:  A big garbage bag (i.e.full of stuff for Goodwill.)  

  2. Representing something I leave behind reluctantly:  An old piece of my grandma’s jewelry (representing my sentimental self that keeps me hanging on to stuff.)  

  3. Representing something I want to take with me in my uncluttered life:   A rock that was given to me and is in the shape of a Heart (because sometimes I collect stuff and ideas because I care …but I can still have a Heart and not so much STUFF!)

  4. Representing a quality I want to cultivate in my uncluttered life:   An empty wooden bowl (that looks peaceful and represents space to hold new creativity.)   

It’s fun to think through this process because you can learn something about yourself…plus you can really psychologically prepare yourself to change.  The process itself helps pave the way.

Some people love to have a bonfire to symbolically release what no longer serves them.  You can just write on pieces of paper what you want to let go.  It’s powerful to watch it burn.

It’s important to take the time to pause and assess what you want to release.  It helps you be fully intentional and therefore more successful.

Maybe your fall cleaning includes releasing worry.  Many of us can’t help but worry at times but it is a big energy drainer and can rob the joy right out of our lives.  When we worry, we are not in the present moment but imagining a future moment.  (Some people imagine catching their worries in a garbage bag….then squishing them in a trash compactor).   It’s good to catch those worries early so they don’t grow out of control.   I always say to people, including myself, “We go towards what we focus on”.  If we are focused on worry, we will get MORE to worry about.  That is definitely no fun.

Use the start of this Fall Season to let something go that you really don’t want to keep.  You’ll be glad you did and you will be amazed by the new growth come Spring season. (Winter will give you the chance to make it a habit.)

Good luck and don’t forget to celebrate your success!

(Photo Source)

About the author

Seanne Emerton

Seanne is a Central Nebraska woman with deep roots. She and her husband still live on the land that has been in her family for six generations. While she loves to travel (especially to visit their grown sons and families in Denver and Boston), she loves returning to the open spaces of the Midwest. Seanne has been a marriage and family therapist for over 25 years. She loves the work and loves continually learning new ways to help strengthen relationships. She is the founder and owner of Family Resources of Greater NE, P.C. with offices in Grand Island, Kearney, York and Broken Bow.

Seanne loves working with all kinds of people including facilitating individuals, families and businesses in growing their potential by using positive psychology. She is certified in assessing and coaching Emotional Intelligence and delights in building resiliency and happiness with her clients.

Her side passion is designing and officiating personalized wedding ceremonies for couples as a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant. She serves the Midwest area with her Celebrant work and loves the creative process of helping couples create a one-of-a-kind, memorable ceremony.