I’m in the process of moving, so I’ve gone through each room in my house to see what stays and what goes. After all, moving will be much easier if I know that I actually want everything that I’m packing. Somewhere between lamenting over old photographs and packing a suitcase of old clothes for Goodwill, I realized the metaphor in the process of “out with the old, in with the new”. One might argue that I am a chronic metaphor-er. I see them everywhere and I revel in deep thinking about seemingly mundane things.
This one really stuck, though. What if, I thought, we treated the chapters in our life like moving from one house to another. What if we only brought along the best parts of ourselves and left the rest behind?
Chances are, if you are a passionate person desiring to live life as fully as possible, your chapters come and go very quickly. You find something you want out of life and you go for it…and then something new appears. My life shifts constantly. I attribute this constant shifting to my desire for a stationary and calm existence outside of my passions. I love being home, having routine and being able to settle. My brain, however, is constantly working. I never stick with one passion flow for very long. I amble from one photograph to the next. I want to make films and the next day I start writing a book. I love an active brain.
If that is you, or if you can stick this metaphor out, I think it can really help.
Imagine you are cleaning out a room in your home. You have 3 piles: Stay, Go, Unsure. We all have the unsure pile, don’t lie! What if right now you looked at your life critically. What activities do you pursue, what does your career look like, how are your relationships, etc.? Start to think about each piece of your life as an object you can put into a pile.
If you come across something in your life that you know is toxic, put it in the GO pile. If you cherish something in your life, put it in the STAY pile. If you are unsure about something, ask yourself if it serves you and your ultimate life goals…and then categorize it. No indecisiveness. Gut reactions.
Sometimes we realize certain people don’t serve us, or a career pursuit isn’t turning out to be what we had hoped, or even that the things we surround ourselves with don’t bring us joy.
Sometimes we realize that things we didn’t put a lot of emphasis on are actually more helpful than we realized, or that a certain passion deserves more attention.
Life evolves so beautifully. We can enact change whenever we want to. Let this article serve as a shifting moment. Start to categorize your life and start making piles. You may even pull out note cards or post-its to write on so that you can physically move them into piles.
I’ve done this exercise myself and wanted to share it here so you can see exactly how I put this into effect. I used YELLOW post-its for STAY, RED post-its for GO, BLUE post-its for ADD (meaning I want it to become a yellow post-it! They are things I don’t do enough of and want to do more of).
My list could easily continue…
STAY: Retreats, Promoting Passion Convention, inspiring video games, mentoring sessions, nonprofit work, yoga…
ADD: Discovering new places, creating a new fine art series, trying new techniques, regular poetry writing, talking to strangers, making a documentary…
GO: Frequent interviews, wasted free time, driving when walking would suffice, fear of social engagements…
Try this exercise out and let me know if you find it helpful. For me, even though a lot of this is something I know instinctively, it helps to see it written out. I look at my red post-its and I actively remember to do away with those things that don’t serve me anymore. I see the yellow post-its and I feel good about decisions I’ve made. I see the blue post-its and I am motivated to do more with my life.
Tell me, what are you STAY, GO and ADD lists?
Did you find this exercise to be helpful? Share below!
I have made some active changes, like walking to the grocery store instead of driving,
filming more of my creative process, and reading 50 pages of fiction every day!
I did some purging, like scraping away old Facebook groups and making a donation pile of gear.
For my STAY list, I made some changes, too! I added a SPEAKING page to my website so that my
motivational speaking services are actively promoted. Hoorah for taking control!