You have to be willing to let go of the life you’ve planned in order to have the life you were meant to have.
~ Joseph Campbell

This week, while my boys are with their dad on a fancy Caribbean cruise, I will be home, cleaning my house from top to bottom, inside and out, in that yearly ritual of soap and obsession called Spring Cleaning. I’m actually not bitter. Okay, I’d love to be on a Caribbean cruise, that’s true. But I also really love the sense of new beginnings that results from this yearly process.

For me, spring cleaning is not just a chance to clean out my closets and wash the windows. It’s more of an emotional and intellectual purging – a reminder of all the crap that builds up in my life while I’m not paying attention. Stuff that I need to let go of, in order to make room for the new, the fresh, the possibilities that are waiting only for a little space in order to show up.

This year, my spring cleaning has a more urgent purpose – I am preparing my house for sale. I am facing one of those mid-life transitions – downsizing – and the prospect is often sad, and scary, and overwhelming. I am faced with letting go of the home that has been a refuge for my boys and me for almost 10 years, a home that has witnessed birthday parties and skinned knees, Christmas mornings and late nights with a sick child, baby showers and the mourning of loved ones gone too soon. A home where we planted and raked and shoveled and scrubbed, where my boys learned how to tie their shoes, then how to shave, then how to drive.

It’s hard to let go of.

But it’s time. My oldest leaves for college in a few short months, and the downturn in the economy has made keeping the house difficult financially. It’s time to begin a new phase. And I know, from years of teaching this stuff, that in order to make room for a new future, we need to create room for it to occur, which means letting go of something we’ve been hanging onto that no longer serves us. Like a house. Or a resentment. Or a thought that “it should be different”. (This is so much easier to teach than to put into practice!!)

So while this transition is a tough one, filled with all the emotions of letting go, it can also be a time of promise and excitement, if I focus on what I’m making room for: financial ease, peace of mind, simplicity. Things worth creating space for.

So I gotta run – I’m off to clean some closets.

Author's Bio: 

Renee Cooper is the co-founder and coach of One Journey Consulting, a coaching practice dedicated to personal growth and renewal during life transitions.