Cleaning up relationships

“Keep only those things that build your energy, nourish your soul, or move your life forward – those that are handy, beautiful, or beloved.” – unknown

 I copied this quote from a magazine about 15 years ago – and I wish I had captured the author’s name.  I’d love to give him or her credit.  You see,  I have found this quote to be the KEY to helping me get my life in order. 

For many years I have used this as a guidepost to focus every house cleaning, purging, life simplifying bender I went on.  As I moved from room to room, I’d post this quote, and follow it to help me identify and discard (or donate) clutter from my life.  I found the practice cleansing, energizing, transforming.  I highly recommend it!

More recently, I’ve begun to toy with applying this to my relationships as well.  SCARY! What would my life be like if my relationships energized me, nourished me, or helped me to move forward?  What if I only focused on those that were helpful, beautiful, or beloved? 

And I wondered, how would my relationships stack up?  So – I made a list.  Who are the people I spend the most time with?  Who are the people I invest the most into? 

Here’s a sampling from my list:

1. my friend Sandy – she and I talk at least once a day
2. my friends: Guy, Carole, Francesca, Cathleen – we connect almost daily
3. my theater projects partners: Aaron, Janel – several times a week
4. my mom
5. my sister
6. my mentors: Garee, Jack

Next, my criteria for measuring my relationships:

a.  Energizing
b.  Nourishing
c.  Move my life forward
d.  Handy/Useful
e.  Beautiful
f.  Beloved

And, to make it less scary, I started at the bottom of my list of names: my family.  Certainly my family IMMEDIATELY falls into the beloved category.  I know not everyone has that experience, but I do (thankfully).

Next, my mentors, well they help me move my life forward.  And that can be energizing.  And useful, certainly. 

The next categories get tougher – as each one has a greater personal investment from me.  But I went through them all.  One relationship at a time, and I thought about how I felt spending time with each person, and how I felt after I spent time with them. 

At this point, results have been powerful.  I now see these relationships as integral to my life of passion and purpose.  While I valued them before, I’m clearer now on just how important each of these relationships is in my life, and what purpose they serve.  I’ve also begun to not waste my time with people (and by that, I don’t mean we don’t relish fun ‘do-nothing’ time – we still do; I mean, I don’t take my time with them for granted, I am more fully present with them now).

The lesson for me?  This works on ensuring my relationships are just as purposeful as my stuff.  And I have a more fulfilling life as a result.   Gotta love THAT!


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