by Bulbul Beri
Diwali is a special time for many Indians and South Asians around the world, a celebration of new beginnings, triumph of good over evil, light over dark and knowledge over ignorance.
The Story of Diwali
Diwali marks the story of the return of King Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman to his people in Ayodhya. The city lit lamps to welcome and guide him back home after 14 years of exile, during which he fought and won a battle against the demon king, Ravana after Sita was abducted by him.
How is Diwali celebrated?
The festival of light, togetherness and cleaning up is celebrated in a huge way with loved ones coming together, prayers, creating rangoli art, preparing feasts, lighting candles and fireworks, buying new clothes and serving sweets to loved ones and neighbours to wish them sweet new beginnings.
Homes are given a thorough deep clean and decorated with lights and candles as it is believed that Goddess Lakhsmi enters the house that is clean and bright to bestow all inside with good blessings for a happy, healthy, prosperous life.
Cleaning and Decluttering this Diwali
Diwali is a time when most people with an Indian subcontinent background, do a massive spring clean of their homes and wardrobes, cleaning out closets and purging old clothes. It is a time to release the old to make way for the new.
Most of us generally do this physically, but how often do we do this mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
This Diwali, how about we apply this cleaning and decluttering philosophy to our lives as well as our homes.
We can declutter and clean up mentally by examining and letting go of our negative beliefs, thoughts and ruminations. We often beat ourselves up with the constant negative messages that we have on replay over and over in our minds. Whatever we focus on increases in our lives – our thoughts create our reality. They shape our words and actions, which, in turn, become our habits which determine the direction of our life.
“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” Peace Pilgrim
By letting go of our negative thoughts we can make space to recreate a better attitude, allow grace and gratitude to permeate our mindset and reframe our story to allow ourselves to create a better life for ourselves.
We can declutter and clean up our emotions by letting go of past hurts, resentments, grudges, jealousies and anger. Holding onto emotional grievances gradually takes over our lives without us realising. These painful emotions get swept under the carpet, never dealt with, but continuously smouldering just below the surface of our awareness, eroding our mental peace.
Emotional clutter is extremely difficult to let go of as doing so forces us to confront the original source of pain. Ultimately the choice is ours, we can choose to let go of our negative emotions and to move on with our lives, no matter how painful the events that created them.
If we do the work, however, we will feel a sense of freedom, lightness and peace and have much more energy and attention to create the life we want and show up for the people who matter to us.
And how often do we cleanse our spiritual self, spending time alone to just be?
How often do we sit still and listen to our inner voice and inner guidance?
We must understand and let go of what is not in our control and focus on what is: our breath, our thoughts, our attitudes and our emotional responses.
With so much hardship, livelihoods and lives being lost, disruptions, anxiety, loneliness, grief and uncertainty, this year due to Covid -19, Diwali around the world will be celebrated in a very different way.
How can we make a positive shift out of this darkness?
In the spirit of Diwali, let us all declutter our lives and our environment, releasing old baggage, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to pave a way for a better, more peaceful, joyful state of being, creating a ripple effect towards a more harmonious world and future.
May you and your loved ones receive many blessings of love and light this Diwali and beyond.