Winter Refresh

It’s time to clear a few things. I don’t mean to clear things up, rather, in my case, I suffer from a light seasonal disorder that I like to call Winter Cleaning. Essentially, it is the cold weather equivalent of the Spring clean that most of you may be familiar with. 

It takes over, gently yet insistently, as I ready myself to hibernate or cocoon before the holidays. The prospect of spending more leisurely time indoors, especially since it started to snow where I live just a few days ago, fills me with a childish joy. 

As the end of the year approaches, There’s an opportunity to do some inner clearing before the end of the year. At least, that is the suggestion I got (and read) from several coaches that I follow. Perhaps given my Winter Clearing mood, I seem to agree with the sentiment. Taking stock of what worked and what didn’t, and especially what we want more of vs what we’d like to let go of, seems a healthy exercise before we step into a new year. 

Bearing in mind that 2021 was no picnic, we need all the help we can get for 2022. 

There are a few tips I can share to give those of you who feel, like me, the need to make space, both internally and externally, in a mindful way you may not have considered. It’s a simple four-step plan: 



Let go 



When making external space in our lives, it’s good to review the things that ‘need to go’ from our wardrobes, cupboards, basements or attics. But the more things we sort through, the more we find ourselves wondering how to move forward. 

Do we give, sell, throw away? Often, I feel pulled to do the simplest thing first, which is to throw away the items. 

But my first tip is to practice generosity. Before we make a decision, we can ask ourselves: how could this item be of benefit to someone I know? 

There’s more than one way to answer this question, but we can start by calling our friends or creating a WhatsApp group (unless it’s safe to gather where you are) to show and share with them the  items we are parting with. I once put together a very rough PowerPoint presentation, having dragged and dropped photos of the things that I was ready to part with, to send to my friends. The equivalent of a Google Doc would also be easy for friends to put comments into and call dibs or ask questions.

You’d be surprised how some of the things we don’t want anymore can fill others with joy, and how much joy we can feel at giving this gift. 


It may feel like an extra effort to contact a charity and prepare our items for donation. But in these times, when many are experiencing difficulty, every little bit helps. If, after sharing with your friends, you have some leftover items that you can offer to a charity shop to help them raise funds, I encourage you to take that extra step. It is a wonderful way to honor the items you are letting go of. 

My tip: go hyper-local and/or see who can pick up from you if you have a lot to get rid of. 

Let go 

Unlike clearing our physical items, clearing the inner abode (our heart-mind) is a little trickier — at least, it may feel like it.

It’s a work in progress for me, but I have help! I follow the sage advice offered by Deepak Chopra, written in a little book of his I randomly got a long time ago in a German airport while I was waiting for my connection. It’s called ‘The Ultimate Happiness Prescription’ and you may be surprised to hear I have found it one of the best books I’ve bought, having had many a-ha moments when reading it. My battered copy, soiled from the times I dropped water on it, is covered in my scribbled notes. (I like to be active with my reading, pen in hand, particularly when I find myself energised or motivated by a specific book.) 

Chopra offers tons of great advice, one of which is writing down what we want to let go of. It can be a list, a letter to ourselves or a letter to the persons we want to free ourselves from. In any case, the pages we write are not meant to be shared but to be disposed of, either by tearing them into bits and throwing them out or safely burning them, as a way to signal that we are ready to move on to bright new beginnings in whatever areas we have decided to create clearing. 


There are few things that we can do for ourselves that are as life-altering as letting go of blame and resentment. And when we do – at least in my experience – it opens up a new world of freedom, compassion and a path for connection. It is the ultimate kind of clearing.

Forgiveness is a powerful practice, which I was lucky to learn more about thanks to the wonderful teachers Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, back when I first followed their online program, The Power of Awareness.

Tara now offers a course geared specifically towards forgiveness (and if I hadn’t already studied the matter, I’d get myself enrolled right now).

For those of you who’d like to give the practice of forgiveness a try without signing on to a course, here are a couple of other options:

Try a Forgiveness guided meditation with Jack Kornfield

Try an ancient healing practice – see below 

The Hawaiian people have a wonderful prayer that is considered a practice of reconciliation and forgiveness with the charming name of Hoʻoponopono

Bring to mind a person you wish to forgive, follow the mantra below, and repeat it a few times. 

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”

If you, like me, feel a bit at odds about saying ‘Thank you, I love you’ to someone you feel has wronged you, I suggest you stay curious, respect the wisdom of the Hawaiian elders and do it anyway! 

There are abundant stories available about how strange yet powerful this reconciliation process is. Offering forgiveness within our own minds, if done energetically, can change things in ways we don’t need to understand. We only need to be present, and thankful, when we see the shifts that happen as a result. 

If you still need convincing, I’ll quote Albert Einstein, who said:

“You can’t solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level.”

Happy clearing!