Making Space

It’s not easy to make space in our lives to incorporate the things we know would be “good” for us or for what we feel we “should” do. Most often for us goal-driven-hyper-productive people/athletes we want to maximize the benefits of anything we do while making sure we do everything else in our lives is completed at the same level of intensity and proficiency. Some of us are really good at it and have their lives structured like a well-oiled machines (certainly not me). However, what happens when things change in life or when you change. What happens when you realize that there are things in your life that are no longer the things that bring you happiness, joy, or growth? What happens when you have come to a point in your life where everything else has a space except for YOU?

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I posted the above quote the other day and realized today that there is a deeper meaning in it for me. Being “all in” does not mean I have to ruthlessly suffer, deny my senses, and forge on with my head down, no it means I am making a conscious choice that what I am committing i.e. being “all in” about, is deeply meaningful for me and therefore I realize that the experience of it may come with pain, difficulty, and change. Likewise, “getting all out” means I recognize that this “something” is something I can let go of and I no longer need attachment to because it does not serve me. Recently I’ve really started to commit to being “all in” about incorporating certain practices in ways of being in my life. What this really means is that the time/stage to take action regarding these changes has become more apparent at this time in my life. I am/was ready to take action.

So I’ll share with you a few changes that have been in my life space in hopes that it may help you.

  • First, I did a “spring cleaning” of sorts regarding the material possessions in my life (at home and in my office space). I donated, recycled, or threw out things that I held on to “just in case” I needed it later or fit into it later. When in reality I had not used, wore, or touched in 3 years! I asked myself step-1“Does this make me happy? Do I really like this?” If it was “no” then it had to GO! For example, at my office I kept/ attached to certain psychology books and materials just because “I’m a clinical psychologist” and my other justification was that I paid for them, but when I checked in with myself and asked, “Do these materials truly reflect my passion? Do they reflect the kind of psychology I want to practice?” If the answer was “no” then it had to go! No more rationalizing about holding on to things that do not make me happy. After I had cleared out many things I did not need it was amazing how light and freeing my spaces felt. My goal is to keep it simple. Reference the 80/20 rule.
  • Another major change was really prioritizing my meditation practice. For the most part I have always been mindful and continue to teach mindfulness skills to others. By virtue of teaching the skills on a daily basis to students, athletes, and clients I too reaped the benefits. I also do my best to live mindfully and be present. However, I realized it was not enough and it was time for a more structured sitting meditation into my daily life. So I did and do. I meditate for 10-20 minutes daily and use various apps, YouTube guided meditation videos, and breathing meditations- whatever suits my intention or need at that time. This daily practice has made a world of difference in improving my mood, attitude, and approach to life in general. I would encourage anyone and everyone to practice even for just 5 minutes daily and notice the wonderful changes over the course of a few weeks. It’s addicting:)
  • Lastly I’ve started committing to a regular yoga practice. Now I’m no yogi but I realize I am an active person that loves to use her body so why not use my body as an active meditation?! I was also inspired by my soul sister long time friend former college roommate, yogi Lizaan. I love the physical benefits but going into a yoga space really helps me pay more attention to me. It helps me tune into to me and settle my active crazy mind:) Thus making space for ME in my life. Yoga space helps me become more aware of areas within that I need to be compassionate about. Trust me as much as I write about self acceptance, I am just as hard on myself as the next person. Yoga and meditation helps me to be more accepting and compassionate towards myself. It helps me step outside of comparison and labels. I really need that.

So there you have it and here I am. Today at yoga practice our teacher reminded us to live with an open heart but that even living with an open heart means it can some times break. However, she also reminded us that everything we need we already have within. I share that with you encourage you to continue to grow and make space for the things that challenge you to grow. I am truly grateful to be at this place in life and to have the inspirations that I do.

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Let me kindly remind you that personal change (even for the good and great things) come in waves and sometimes slowly. Making space in your life for what you want takes time, and that’s okay. There is not place or way that you should or should not be because everything you need to be will develop in time. All you have to do is recognize and honor it. Many times making space in our lives for things that are more authentically us means letting go of other things (that are old, useless, mindless, unhealthy) that are taking up space. That can be scary but you will come to a point of being ready. At this point in my life I realize that I am not one that can continue to add and add to my life (without taking away i.e. letting go) because I start to feel overwhelmed and suffocated by things, expectations, outcomes etc, and as a result feel like there is no excitement, curiosity, and wonder in my life. I am grateful for the awareness of it and I am grateful to have been guided towards the change that I need.

Shine on beautiful people! Lots of love,

Dr. G

Published by

Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is sport and performance psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California and works with elite sport teams and athletes across the country. She is competitive athlete herself and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family and traveling.