Cleansing Body, Heart and Soul

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IMG_1331Have you ever noticed that when you clean out a closet and take a few pieces of clothing to the Salvation Army that you feel good?

You may feel lighter and that you’ve done a good deed. The same thing happens for me when I clear my desk of all the papers that have been building up over the last few months. Some of those papers go in the trash. Others will be filed away. My energy level goes up and I feel my shoulders relax. I’m at ease.

For the past six months my studio/office has gone to hell. Often feeling overwhelmed by the things on my todo list, I let everything else pile up. The higher the pile gets, the deeper the pit in my stomach grows. My shoulders rise to the level of my ears and begin to hurt.

I’ve grown tired of looking at the stack of books I’ve read and want to review, the bits and pieces of paper with notes written on them that I no longer understand, and the many hardcopies of my memoir that keeps changing even when I think I’m done.

I can’t decide whether it’s best to keep all those paper copies or send them through the shredder. I’ve been saving them just in case I need to go back and reconsider a passage that I’ve deleted in the current revision. I do have all of it backed up on my computer and its connected storage gadget, as well as on Bill’s computer. Do I need all these copies? My studio is over my garage, a separate building from my house. The catastrophizer part of me says:

IMG_1335“God forbid the whole internet goes down or there is a fire and both buildings burn. Isn’t it a good idea to have a few paper copies, as well as all the digital backups? Should I put a hardcopy of the memoir in a strongbox and bury it somewhere in the garden just in case both buildings burn?” I tell myself, “Give me break,” then continue to let things pile up, secretly wishing for a fire to burn it all up so I can relax. 🙂

The new year is before me and I have about a week before I start working with my new editor. I desperately need to clean up of the studio so that I can work more efficiently.

Clearing my space will equal a cleansing of my heart and soul. I will know where everything is. My physical body will walk upright, rather than stooped under the weight of the “stuff” I’m saving. My energy level will rev up, all my worries will fade, and my next revision will be even better than the last. Holding this space for my work, is the best thing that I can do for myself, the manuscript, and it will keep my muse from taking a vacation.

IMG_1336So far I’ve got a bag of books that will go to the local library for their used book sale in the spring. My desk where I sit writing now, is cleared of unnecessary papers and even my computer desk top is looking spacious. I’m sorting through the pile of papers that either need trashing or filing. There is now only one of receipts and such, that need to be filed away. And I’ve already made several trips to the garbage can with stuff that I don’t need.

I feel great.

The next cleansing I’ll do is a 10 day sugar detox. I did a 21 day sugar detox last April, lost 18 pounds and felt terrific. I’ve done really well until late fall and the arrival of the holidays. I not only started eating sugary things again, I felt deprived and started eating things made from wheat, which I’m supposed to stay away from because I have an intolerance to gluten. Thankfully, I’ve only gained four pounds back which I feel I can get rid of easily.

But while I was busy satisfying my sweet tooth and eating yummy home made bread, I felt sick. Brain fog and exhaustion took over. Once I caught on to what was happeningand stopped eating that crap, it took four days to feel better.  I’m now off gluten again and most sugar. My energy levels are up again and my brain is thinking clearly. The 10 day detox, coming up next week, will be a time of getting rid of all the residual toxins that are still causing cravings.

When that’s done I’ll be good as new and will most likely begin letting piles of stuff grow again. This time around I hope I’ll do something about all that stuff before I need a fire to clean the place up.

What are your ways of cleansing your, body, heart and soul? I’d love to hear about them!


  1. This post really resonated with me, Joan. I’m a catastrophizer, too, but I’m determined to give my home a detox—I’m definitely a hoarder when it comes to papers (and books!). It’s amazing how taking a few boxes to the library or a local charity energizes you, isn’t it?

    • Joan Rough says:

      It is truly amazing, Candace. Yesterday afternoon I was able to clear off one more surface and find homes for all of the stuff that was there. I felt like I was walking on air!

  2. I completely agree with you – I cannot work in a cluttered space or live in a cluttered home. It weighs me down physically just as you described, and causes my brain to completely freeze up. Since we moved and downsized our old house, I am especially vigilant about keeping the clutter and the amount of stuff under control.

    I keep my desktop cleared all the time, even though they say that a cluttered desk is the sign of a creative mind. Not for me, it isn’t!!

    Good luck with maintaining order in your life this year!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Becca, I’m so glad I’m not alone in this. A couple of months ago I wondered why I didn’t enjoy going over to my studio anymore. Now I’m here all day!

  3. Good for you Joan! I too am a “just in case” person…. But I also believe in creating spaciousness in our lives. I think this will be an inner struggle for the rest of my days 🙂
    De-cluttering the physical space opens up so much more within us at the same time!
    You are an inspiration!
    Val x

    • Joan Rough says:

      Val, I think creating space for ourselves is a struggle, especially in this time, when we all want instant gratification and we do 3 or more things all at the same time. It’s absolutely crazy. So I’ll continue to struggle too, and sometimes when I look at what I’ve left behind, I think I’m winning!

  4. Body, heart and soul doesn’t leave anything out. Like you, I have started with physically cleaning/clearing out my work spaces. You can find my version in a January 2 entry on my Facebook page. Also, I have taken clothing to Angel Aid across the street and tons of financial pages to the recycling chute at our bank.

    There is enough “sweet” in my life, so I want to cut down, way down, on sugar in 2015. I admire your willingness to go all the way with detox! Yes, feeling lighter is my goal too! Great post, Joan.

    • Joan Rough says:

      I did see that post of yours, Marion, and was digging into all my stuff at the same time you were. It feels wonderful to be almost done.

      As far as the sugar goes, I have to cut it out. It does nothing for healthy living and makes me feel awful when I overindulge. Being a sugar addict, overindulging is what happens even when I have a little bit.

  5. Nice reminder, Joan. I’m in the midst of working with my business coach, which I suppose is similar to an editor. Focus really does require clearing away the superfluous bullshit!

    Miss you, dearie!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Susan, Miss you, too! It sounds like you’re doing well and hope the next time you come east we’ll manage a visit. Hope you have a wonderful year clearing away the “superfluous bullshit.” It’s around every corner just waiting for us to relax and climb on board.

  6. Sharon Martinelli says:

    Amen sister. In a fit of toxification due to the holiday stress, aided by sugar and yes, gluten, I literally fell apart at the seams today. The only two things I could do to feel better was: clean up the kitchen and repeat the mantra, “let the light in, let the light in” over and over again. Finally, the courage came to empty out all the leftover sweets into the garbage, cancel appointments for the week and just face the exhaustion and start back on the healing highway. I miss you and hope to schedule a call soon. Maybe next week.
    As always, you hit the mark.

    • Sharon, I hope you’re on your way to being put back together again. Those holidays are hard when we’re tempted by all those glorious sweets and homemade cookies. Taking a break is a great idea and remember not to beat yourself up for falling off the wagon. I also threw away lots of goodies. It’s great therapy! And I’d never donate all that toxic stuff the hungry. Let’s do it right by donating “real” food.

      I would LOVE to to talk. Let me know when.


  7. We must be on the same wavelength, Joan. I took five big loads of clothing out of my closet and gave them to Gift and Thrift. Also three bags of books. I need to give even more away, because I want only what is useful or beautiful left. Someone gave me that guideline long ago, and it has stuck.

    I too indulged too much over the holidays. Trying to make up for it. Fortunately, the only negative result from wheat and sugar for me is a little more padding in the belly and hips. When I get rid of that, I’ll feel much better too!

    Here’s to a lean but not mean 2015!

    • Shirley, I know a lot of other people doing the same thing. Maybe the arrival of a new year, after one that was tough worldwide, is making us think about get rid of unimportant things so we can focus on what really counts.

  8. Joan — WOW! Your office space is so clean and tidy that even I feel better!

    My muse is loads of space. Empty space. I write with a desk that’s completely empty except for my laptop and a scented tea-light candle. I light it at the beginning of a “session” and don’t stop until the flame goes out of its own accord. I think of that flame as my writing “contract” — it serves to keep my butt in the seat and my fingers on the keys.

  9. Well it’s not Done yet, Laurie, but I’m getting close. I love empty space too and hope to keep my studio spacious for as long as I can. I love your candle as a writing contract.

  10. At some point, all the good intentions swirling in my head will have to convert to action! I have always believed that my surrounding environment has been a reflection of my state of mind. Your clean desk gives me inspiration. Thanks, Joan!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Kathy, When I started writing this post I thought no one would be interested in a cleansing of their space. I guess I was wrong and am happy to have inspired others.

      Can’t wait to meet you in person next month!

  11. “Cleansing space.” I do love this. When I’m working with clients, I often talk about creating a clearing. There needs to be space for what you wish to create to manifest in. I hadn’t thought of it as a cleansing process, but it is. 🙂

  12. Joan Rough says:

    Yes it is, Susan. When you clear your physical space, you also clear your interior space where the creative hides. When there’s no space to be creative both outside and inside we are blocked.