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Letting Go - a month of vairagya

I'm trying to bring more yoga into my everyday life so I decided to explore one aspect of the philosophy more actively. Vairagya – non-attachment to or letting go of material things is one of the aspects of yoga that Patanjali describes in the yoga sutras (one of the classic yoga texts). So I decided to spend a month letting go of things I really don't need. I resolved to recycle, sell or throw away at least nine items a day, every day, for a month. Why nine? Well double figures just seemed too much somehow while nine felt achievable.

Some decisions are easy. Do I really need eight pairs of near identical black leggings that I never wear anyway? Emptying the cosmetics bag produced a scarlet lipstick I last wore at a 1940s themed fancy dress party some 15 years ago and haven’t touched since, along with a multitude of other barely used items.

The charming free meerkat cat toys are sold on eBay with a blurb about the distinguished aristocrats seeking a more discerning family to live with. Books went to charity shops along with the results of a ruthless wardrobe cull and a selection of ornaments that are just gathering dust.

Clearing out the paperwork from old insurances and jobs is highly satisfying although the shredder has to work overtime. And how did I manage to accumulate what looks like several hundred safety pins anyway?

I'm onto dangerous ground when I start to move in on my husband's wardrobe and other possessions. I don't consider myself a hoarder but he definitely is. Surprisingly, he only kept one book out of the sackful of his stuff I sorted out.

The food cupboards are a surprisingly fruitful source of things to let go of. Despite being a relatively frugal shopper who throws away little food, there are a surprising amount of out of date obscure ingredients bought for recipes that I tried once and never again.

It's a process that has been useful and on occasions cathartic. As well as gaining space in my cupboards, throwing out old love letters really felt like I had let go of old heartache. It's something I’ll definitely repeat next year. And when I told my friends, some of them starting doing it too. Like me they found it a great way to declutter and let go. So, is it your turn now?

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