I spent the last few days clearing out remnants of another life – a size 14 wardrobe consisting mainly of business suits and evening dresses. As I tried on each piece of clothing from my life as a corporate executive, to see if there was anything that still fit, I was continually amazed that there was once so much more of me. I just felt like me now, after three years living as a size 6.
Right-sizing was the buzzword when I left the corporate world. After this exercise, the word has taken on a broader meaning. My physical form was not the only thing that was right-sized over the course of my journey the last few years, my necessities of life were also re-engineered.
My transition from a miserable corporate strategist to a happy yoga teacher and author has been more about shifting beliefs, less about shifting shape. Making smarter and healthier choices came more naturally once my body was well-nourished and fit, and that laid the base for building a happier life. The real work then came in building the practices and beliefs to support me even during challenging times.
For three years, I avoided those wardrobe boxes, not wanting to deal with the rush of emotions that might spring forth from the daily uniforms of my other, less happy life. After a while, the boxes began to feel as if they were holding me prisoner, weighing me down. I had to pass by them to move forward. They blocked the way.
What was my reward for finally facing down the cardboard monsters? Well, as expected, none of my old clothes fit me anymore. I had to let go of a lot of expensive things, a significant investment of my past earnings. Whoosh, another part of the past jettisoned. Donating my wardrobe now allows it to serve someone less fortunate.
And I didn’t walk away from the experience completely empty-handed. Three jewels remained, along with some great memories and few important lessons to carry forward:
1) - a vintage purple cocktail dress that was my classy va-voom outfit for special occasions during my 20s. It reminds me to keep a vibrant youthful outlook through life, and that age doesn’t matter. It looks even better on me now.
2) - a sparkly fuschia evening gown, worn like glamorous skin to welcome the new Millennium at the Vizcaya in Miami. It reminds me to celebrate transitional moments, both big and small, and welcome what the future holds.
3) - a sexy black asymmetrical spaghetti-string sheath worn to a memorable dinner with some of my dearest friends in beloved Barcelona. It reminds me of the importance of being present and enjoying the pleasures of life, in a place and with people I love.
Perhaps most important, cleaning out the closet also taught me a valuable lesson to apply daily in all areas of life – that the things we avoid block our way. Facing and clearing them allows us to create a future that fits who we are now.