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AS WE ROLL FROM APRIL INTO MAY, IT FELT NATURAL TO PULL ON A THREAD THAT WAS PART OF OUR APRIL THEME OF CLEARING OUT: RETENTION.

Because sometimes amidst the fervor of Clearing Out, the flush of liberation that often accompanies acts of release, letting go, dusting until everything sparkles – we can overlook the equally important choice to retain and preserve, keep some things around that will serve us well in our next chapter.

A case for not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes.

When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I relished cleansing cycles. I’d feverishly mix my apple cider vinegar::cayenne::maple syrup concoction and wish for an epic full-body flush. I would clean baseboards, window ledges and small, dark corners as if the fate of the world depended on it. If I discovered something on a shelf that wasn’t going to be used in the next 24 hours, it was immediately slated for the trash or recycle bin.

Somewhere in my 40’s, I started to feel the Scorched Earth energy of my cleansing efforts. Burning everything to the ground, no survivors, starting from ground zero.*

* Granted, there are times for that. When a life-sized bonfire is the way forward.

But most of the time, I find that Scorched Earth just leaves me feeling … scorched, chafed and uncomfortably vacant.

So I started a new practice, one that I’m welcoming you into for the month of May: Curated Retention.

A PRACTICE THAT INVOLVES MINDFUL BLENDING OF DISCERNMENT, TRUTH-TELLING AND SELF-ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. ALL CONSPIRING TO HELP YOU CHOOSE WHAT WISDOM YOU’LL BE HANGING ONTO AS YOU STEP INTO THE NEXT SEASON OF YOUR LIFE.

Part of my fervor for this practice is seated in my wish to not repeat (and repeat again) experiences that don’t need to be revisited; a skipping record ready to be taken off the turntable.

If we’re harvesting life’s lessons along the way, attuning to what is being taught and how we need to weave new knowledge into our hearts for good, we can intentionally and actively interrupt the hamster wheel of repeating cycles.

(This assumes that you’re truly taking in the lessons. Not just taking copious notes and never doing anything with them. A topic for another post!)

The other reason that I cherish this practice of Curated Retention more with each passing season is that my library of retained wisdom exponentially impacts my growth.

Compounding over time to yield more magnificent and magical results. Insights and breakthroughs that I believe never would have occurred (at least not in this lifetime) if I hadn’t been building my life on the foundation of that accumulated, microbe-rich knowledge.

It’s much like the explanation for compounding returns on investment: If you invest a small amount today, in 10 years without needing to have a high risk, on-the-edge portfolio, you’ll likely double your money.

Translate that to the spiritual realm:

IF YOU TAKE JUST ONE IMPORTANT LESSON FROM TODAY AND BUILD ON THAT OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS OF LIVING, USING IT AS A GUIDE AND REMINDER ABOUT WHERE YOUR ENERGY AND FOCUS SHOULD BE (AND NOT BE), IMAGINE THE MAGNIFIED IMPACT OF THAT COMPOUNDED WISDOM.

It’s really mind-boggling if you stop to think about that. <pause here to think about that>

An important note:
Usually, our most reliable wisdom, the sturdiest of insights, stem from tough passages. Our best knowledge forged through difficult circumstance. Fertile content to keep in the mix as we go forward; compost for future growth.

The invitation this month:
Take a look at what you’ve learned in the last one or two seasons, the primary takeaways that could serve you to do things differently as you step into the next season. Review the hardest passages for the gems you mined there. What specifically did you learn? And what is your intention – your mantra – for engaging that new insight, going forward?

BONUS:
Expand your viewfinder to include your entire life. Identify known markers, times when you moved through something that felt life-altering. Packed with the juice of Big Life Lessons. Are you incorporating that hard-won lesson into your life? Do you need to re-up your commitment to that spot of wisdom, allow it to amplify your current endeavors? Or is it something that you can celebrate as part of your “compounded wisdom”?

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