A Life Lesson I Learned From My Smartphone
I was on the phone with my sister discussing an upcoming call about cryptocurrencies. She asked if I was going to tune in. I felt my breath quicken and my stomach churn, and it hit me. “I don’t have the personal bandwidth to take anything else into my brain right now,” I said.
My next call was to make a doctor’s appointment when up popped a message on my phone: “You’re almost out of storage.”
Twenty minutes later Outlook sent me an email: “Your mailbox is nearly full.” And, I had to laugh out loud. No kidding!
Seriously, all three things happened within 45 minutes. Okay, okay I get it! I have no more bandwidth and am almost out of storage. The truth is I have a lot going on and that morning I realized just how overloaded I’ve been. I know I’m not alone on that score.
How has it affected me? Full disclosure, it was my cardiologist I was calling to make an appointment. My heart’s been racing enough to keep me up at night, I’ve been sighing heavily, often, and I’ve been forgetting things, like where I am and where I’m going. Pretty scary at times, actually. Fortunately, it looks like everything is fine physically and we’re altering medications which can also effect the ticker. All good. AND, he told me to slow down.
My Smartphone told me to “manage my settings” in order to deal with the dwindling amount of storage space, giving the choice to either buy more space or clean out existing apps/files to make room for what I want to keep and for when I want to add anything new. It’s pretty simple on a phone as you just go through your existing apps, examine how much storage they require and then decide if it’s worth keeping.
It got me thinking about the same rules could apply to my overloaded and over stimulated life. Time to make some room on my life bandwidth. I took a lesson from my Smartphone as I also pulled out my Marie Kondō's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Here’s a helpful 6-step process.
Place Everything in Front of You –
This is literal and metaphorical. First of all, think of your life as a big file cabinet, or dresser or basket or closet. Everything you’re working on, classes you’re taking, jobs you’re performing, all commitments, everything in your life is in that space. I’m calling mine a closet: my life closet. All lined up -- or actually kind of piled haphazardly -- are the four classes I’m taking, including all of the projects and homework involved, my work assignments, relationships, book clubs, writers groups and all other time commitments.
My life in a metaphorical closet.
Now, now take everything out of your life closet. Everything. Empty out your “space” by mentally removing them from your mind bandwidth.
One way is to list them out, don’t worry about the order yet, just get them all down. Or what I did, give every item an index card. Lay them out on the floor. Get them out of your head and onto the physical plane.
Sit in the Emptiness –
Interestingly, while I was going through this process I pulled a healing card for inspiration. The word on the card was Emptiness. I know, you just can’t make this stuff up. That inspired this next step.
Once you empty your life space and clear off your mental bandwidth, spend some quality time in the emptiness. Breathe into it for several moments. Take a look around at all of that room, the vastness of it, free from mental clutter. Feel the time open up as well, no deadlines, no ticking clock.
There will be plenty of time to get back to all of those index cards on your floor. But, now is the time to honor your life space. What I discovered was how powerful my life energy is and how sacred my attention is in utilizing my life energy for my highest good.
Truly, take as much time as is necessary to truly honor how special and powerful your life energy is. Appreciate the sacredness of your attention because when it comes time to put things back in your life space, this will be vitally important.
Rank Them –
So, look at your list or your index cards. As on your Smartphone, give each item a value based on how much storage they require, how important they are to you in your life, timeliness and joy.
This is where you spend time with each thing. As Marie Kondō espouses, pick up each item and hold it, only keeping what brings you joy.
“The act of discarding things on its own will never bring joy to your life. Discarding is not the point; what matters is keeping those things that bring you joy." Marie Kondō
Conduct a Yes Survey
As you ponder each item in front of you, ask yourself these questions, or a version of these questions:
- Does this bring me joy? If it’s not a hell yes, it’s probably a no.
- Does this feel in alignment with my heart’s desire?
"Why go knocking at every other door? Go knock at the door of your own heart." Rumi
- Does this serve my highest good and/or the highest good of others?
- Will this connect the dots between other items on my list?
- Does it feel good in my body?
If you answer yes to these questions, then it’s worth your sacred attention and is deserving of valuable space in your life. If the answer is No to any of these, release them.
- Is this a time and energy suck?
- Do I keep losing interest or find myself not thinking about this?
The decision is obvious if you get a yes to either of these.
Give Yourself Permission
Once you’ve gone through this process with each life item in front of you, give yourself permission to delete, cancel, remove or quit the things that aren’t a 'hell yes' in the joy, alignment and soul’s calling departments.
This is where a lot of us stop ourselves. We’ve spent good money on classes or products or partnerships so there’s a part of us that can feel like a failure or a quitter if we don't complete them or hang onto them for good measure. But, the only person you’re failing or quitting is you, if you don’t end what isn’t doing you any good anyway.
So give yourself permission. Quit! Cancel! Delete!
Marie Kondō says to honor each thing before you release it, thanking it for it's contribution to your life. It helps.
It really opens so much more time and space for all of the high vibrational in-alignment things in your life that you love. Keep doing more of those!
Mindfully Fill Your Closet
Now that you’ve carefully and thoughtfully selected those, and only those, things in your life that answer all of those yes questions, it’s time to place them back in your life space.
Slot them in mindfully, allowing the room, time and care they deserve.
Now, take a step back and give it a good look. How does it make you feel? What a joyful and purposeful life you’ll have redesigned for yourself.
Now, when something new comes along, you’ll take much greater care in what you place in your life space. It’s very special in there; you’re creating with purpose and intention.
I know for me, my intuition now has a clear guide. If I don’t get a hell yes, it’s not getting in!