Four Paths, Five Steps: The Spacious Way to Clear

Zen-Path-300x291“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”–Lily Tomlin.

It took me years to break the code, to identify what could make clearing not only radically simple and sustainable, but also a powerful force for change.

While well-intentioned, most approaches to reducing excess in our homes and lives follow a more linear model that is based on speed and outcome. Quick fix efforts result in a missed opportunity to address root cause, cultivate ease, and grow new habits that lead to lasting change.

After two decades of study, self-inquiry, and lots of personal experience, I developed a new model that works to release anything that holds you back, be it physical, mental, or emotional stresses. This method is called The Spacious Way. It’s designed to play a much bigger game: to transform

The magic of this process boils down to the conscious and consistent blending of several key principles, which together, lead to sparkling clarity and lasting change.

To learn what they are and how they might apply to you in your daily life, keep reading.

The Four Pathways of Clearing

The basic idea is this: For clearing to work its magic in our homes and lives we need to integrate four key principles into a daily routine. I call them the “Four Pathways of Clearing”:

  1. Intention
  2. Action
  3. Non-Identification
  4. Compassion

As the words imply, intention invites you to engage the mind purposefully, clarify your desires, and shift the way you think, while action gets things moving. If intention steers your clearing vehicle, action is what gives it gas.

Non-identification is a form of non-attachment. This pathway invites you to become the silent observer of your experience: to accept things as they are, take things less personally, witness without judgment. What gives this whole detachment thing its humanity, is called compassion.

Compassion, as it relates to this work, is the ultimate self-acceptance, self-love, and self-care. Compassion makes room for failure, disappointment, and imperfection. Clearing with compassion helps you feel nourished, held, and safe enough to let go.

Though each pathway is worthy in its own right, the four working together creates a synergistic effect. Neglecting one would be like taking a leg off a table. The model loses its strength and stability and diminishes the return for effort. Together these pathways create a powerful effect that makes even the tiniest one-minute efforts significant and lasting.

And PS, for all of you who are wired for speed and outcomes:  You may have noticed that “action” only comprises one quarter of the work. This is where you’ll depart from most traditional clearing modalities and go off-road into a new way of being. Hang in there!

The Five Steps to Spaciousness

If the Four Pathways give you a big picture view of what you need to succeed with clearing, the Five Steps constitute the practical application: i.e. the daily practice. I call them the “Five S’s” for short:

  1. Slow down
  2. Simplify
  3. Sense
  4. Surrender
  5. Self-Care

Here’s what they mean:

Slowing down. The first “S” is all about cultivating ease. When you stop always rushing and make time for what matters, there’s a shift that happens to old habits and overwhelm, limiting thoughts and resisting patterns. (Spoiler alert: they begin to melt away).

Simplifying. With the second S you experience how the biggest changes, ironically, come from taking the smallest steps. And there’s no better way to practice than to connect with your best teacher: your home. When you consciously tend to your home in small ways every day, you might notice that you start feeling better. A lot better. And some things that made you go crazy with overwhelm don’t matter so much. They also start melting away.

Sensing. The third S gives you an opportunity to tune into, and fine-tune, your six senses (smell, taste, touch, hearing, seeing, and inner-knowing) as a way to experience the transformative effects of energy and light that abound. It is through conscious sensing where the actual work of clearing happens. Clearing “stuck energy,” by feeling it, clears the physical, mental, and emotional clutter by extension.

Surrendering. The fourth S helps you step back and become bigger than any challenge that may be holding you back and causing you pain. You learn that it’s not about “giving up” as many of us believe, but rather a conscious and powerful way of stepping up (your game) by stepping back.

Self-Care. The fifth S is not only about making time for yourself, feeling good, and putting the “spa” in spacious. It is also revolutionary act that can change how you feel about everything.

Though presented one at a time in a particular order (on purpose), ultimately it is through consistent application and integration of all five steps when you start to enjoy the magic benefits. Each step naturally builds one upon another over time to shift the way you act, think, and feel. For good!

Let’s Play

If you’re wondering how the four pathways and the five steps work together in a way that might be more practical and relevant to you, let’s take an example like SORTING THE MAIL that comes into your home every day:

  • With INTENTION you could set aside one minute a day to slow down, breathe into the task, and invite ease.
  • ACTION could be sorting the day’s mail, slowly for one minute, with awareness. If you’re in the red zone of overwhelm, you can simplify (another action step) the task even more. For example, focus only on that task (not any other), sort out only junk mail, or set a timer and stop at one minute.
  • With NON-IDENTIFICATION you allow yourself to sense (by feeling) whatever comes up with spacious detachment. Notice the jarring resistance when you see a utility bill, for example, or the judgments that get triggered by junk mail. By feeling and observing the discomfort simultaneously, you create more space within yourself to let go of attachment to the desired outcome. In short, when you surrender to things being what they are, you have more bandwidth to keep going and follow through on the task.
  • With COMPASSION you are kind and gentle with yourself during the process. You support yourself with self-care by giving yourself props for sticking with the task, for example, or noticing how good it feels to put the mail where it belongs.

This model, of course, applies to any issue or task that has you stuck. And if some of these steps don’t come naturally, that’s okay. It takes time to integrate these principles and grow your spacious muscle. That’s why it’s called a practice. And like with any practice that you do consistently, it gets easier with time. And more fun!

Try it and let us know how it goes in the comment thread!

Want more?

Read the four-part series of excerpts from my book A Year to Clear, beginning HERE.

Watch my series of free videos. You’ll learn how they work together to transform your life.


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