Imagine the Inner Life You Want
It's hard to feel calm when physical and mental clutter are overwhelming. Start clearing away stuff and make room for peace.
Woman thinking
Set Goals
The first step toward clearing the clutter of your internal life—what I call spiritual clutter—is to clarify to yourself what your goals are. Here are some common goals to help you formulate your own.
Woman praying
Goal 1: A Sense of Purpose or Mission
Do you seek reason in your life? Maybe your religion or spiritual practice gives you a mission—be it to behave in a certain way, to help others, or to work toward salvation. Do you believe that no matter what happens, you have a set of core beliefs to comfort and sustain you in times of need?
Quiet time
Goal 2: A Sense of Completion
Many people I talk to yearn for a sense of inner calm or completion. What helps you feel in touch with yourself? How would you describe the feeling of being complete? Do you wish you had more time for quiet, meditative reflection that left you feeling centered?
Friends talking
Goal 3: Community
It may sound counterintuitive when you're talking about inner calm, but community can bring you a sense of having a place in the world. We are social beings by nature and gathering with others who seek what we seek and share in a similar belief system can be reassuring and strengthening for our inner lives.
Man at an art gallery
Goal 4: Decompression
Is there a place you go or something you do to regroup? It may be as simple as zoning out on your commute home, walking the dog, baking bread, having a drink, watching the news, playing with the kids, talking to your partner, or running around the block. You may notice that the days when you don't have time for your favorite escape are the ones when you feel more tired and overwhelmed. The answer may already be at hand. Don't underestimate the value of this sort of personal retreat. Give it the respect it deserves.
Goal 5:Charity
Giving to others is a great way to get rid of physical and mental clutter. Just as donating belongings helps others while clearing out your home, donating your time has the unexpected side effect of clearing your sense of priorities and purpose. Organized religions often are pillars of charitable work. If you are looking for ways to serve your community, you may choose to do so through a religious body or volunteer group with a philosophy and mission that matches your own.