Spring Cleaning, aka releasing that which no longer serves you

by Stephanie Estice

There’s an interesting thing that happens when you begin to lean into a more expansive way of being in life. As you listen to your soul’s calling and learn new things and feel things that you haven’t experienced before, you run into your old limits. Or, to put it another way, you reveal deeper layers of your old patterns.

The theme for the month of March at Yoga on High is to release that which no longer serves us. When you go to the High Street location of the studio, in the back hall, there is a display of beautiful photos. Just above this wall of images there are slips of paper where you can write what you want to release and then tie the paper wish to a branch on the wall. It made my heart feel warm to find this display. It speaks to me on many levels: it is aesthetically pleasing and reminds me of the papers that I saw people tie to tree branches in shrines and temples when I was in Japan – the papers containing bad fortunes that they wished to release.

Yet, when I take the time to sit and contemplate that which no longer serves me, what I find is discomfort. It doesn’t feel good in my body. Don’t get me wrong…I have used this expression, and I just used it again in class the other night, tying it in to the theme of the month. I have now done that twice in class, and after each class where I have brought an intention of releasing that which no longer serves us, I have left the class feeling uncomfortable.

So, what does it mean when I ask myself this question? Inherently, it means that there is something that I want to get rid of. There are things that once served me, patterns or ways of being, or perhaps actual physical objects in my life, that at one time were very useful, maybe even life-saving, but now, where I live now in my being, they are no longer beneficial.

And, as I notice this discomfort and this desire to have the discomfort be gone, what do I do with it? I continue to notice it. I acknowledge how I want to label the discomfort as a bad feeling, and then I play with it, by simply experiencing where in my body I feel the sensation that is connected with discomfort. I sit with the desire I am having to get rid of something and how that longing is part of why it is so uncomfortable. Then I explore what if I could just be with all the sensation that is here, and what if it is through being with it that I will transcend it.

It is through this practice that I begin to integrate the understanding of that which is no longer serving me. Through being with all that is there, in all its varying levels of sensation – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual –  I come to a place of integration.