Note from Carolyn:  The 15% off sale of the popular detox herb product we share here at Meridian ends on Monday, 11/04.   It’s great for detoxing from too much Halloween candy and very helpful for managing the holiday foods that are coming our way. CLICK HERE Use coupon code EOY15.

 It’s the Monday after Halloween.  If your home is like mine was for many years when we were raising children, there’s still too much candy hanging around.  It isn’t pretty anymore.  It’s been mauled and played with.  Half of it is unwrapped.  It’s distracting them (and you) from anything productive. You might look around your desk, kitchen and bathroom counters and feel the same: “What is all this stuff???!!!!”

I recently read a little story that’s put a whole new spin on all things “too much”.

A long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. One day a wealthy man came who said “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. The man welcomed the time with the master, and began to tell him all he knew.  The master listened without saying a word as he poured the man a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”

The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full of your own things that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty, and then there will be room for more.”

How does this apply to Halloween candy?

I love the thrill and creativity of Halloween.  In principle, candy is just part of the deal!  My kids totally “got it.” They dressed up, partied, trick-or-treated, and played with the vast amounts they collected as much as they ate it.   By November 4th or 5th, they were done!   The bedraggled candy was pretty much forgotten in their bedrooms.  

For me, however, I had a hard time leaving it alone.  I could not ignore it as they did and would eat it while they were at school.  Yes.  Stealing, or “tax collecting” as one of my dear friends calls it.  My sons often gathered over ten or twenty pounds in their great thrill of the hunt, so it was really a problem for me.  I have learned that I’ve probably been a sugar addict all my life, unable to stop once I got started.  Long story short: instead of November being a month to prepare my heart and home for the beauties of the Thanksgiving and the holiday season, I was pre-occupied with candy, wasting time rooting through those bags like a little squirrel, extending my precious energy on something as silly as sugar, and no doubt, taking it out on everyone with the bad behavior that too much sugar elicits …not to mention feeling sick and very uncomfortable in my clothes.

My children have grown up, and so have I, treasuring and seeking an empty cup where there is room for more important things than cheap, common candy that has served its purpose.

Here are 10 ways to get rid of candy/”emptying the teacup” that I wish I had followed during those Novembers when my children were young.

1.  Halloween Candy Buy Back.  Yes, there is a national website HERE, where you can check and see if there is a buy back location near you.  The buy backs are sponsored by local dentists and other businesses.  BonusThe candy is sent to the military overseas through Operation Gratitude and other services.

2.  Operation Shoebox –  Mail in your candy donation and they send it to the military overseas in care packages.  Learn more HERE.

3.  Freeze it.  Most candy will last for months in the freezer – freeze it and enjoy it later.

4.  Decorate a gingerbread house or holiday baked goodies.  Candy corns work great for Thanksgiving.

5.  Give it away.  Friends, Neighbors, Teachers, Local charities, the trashmen, the postman …ask around, someone may have a use for it.  If you are really motivated, put up a free candy ad on Craigslist.

6.  Send it to the office with your spouse.  Candy never lasts long in any break room!

7.  The Halloween Fairy.  Some wonderful parent who is a lot nicer than me started this tradition, which involves sneaking the kids’ candy away while they sleep and leaving a toy in its place.  Kids wake up, see the toy and no longer care that their candy is gone.

8.  Throw it away.  Consider it as a disposable tablecloth or fun paper party plates and cups that have served their purpose and just throw it away!

9.  Decorate the house.  Make Christmas tree ornaments, table centerpieces and other decorations.

10.  Save it to use in your Christmas stockings or holiday treat bags.

With candy out of the way, you can extend that good feeling by bravely opening your eyes to the similar clutter on desktops, kitchen and bathroom counters, etc..  De-cluttering empties the teacup of your home for much more positive energies to flow and all just in time for the highlights of the year: Thanksgiving and Christmas!   These holidays can easily be overwhelming without adequate preparation, both mental and physical.  In a way, when our homes are too full of stuff and junk, there is no room in our own Inn to welcome the Christ Child.  De-cluttering in small ways early in November brings beautiful blessings by the end of December.

Think about it.  Our temples are places of inspiration because there is ROOM!  The beautiful furnishings are accented by SPACE where there is no clutter.  Even the offices, where there is a great deal of paperwork that is managed, have a sense of peace and order that invite the Spirit, inspiration, and no doubt the functionality to accomplish more in an easier, efficient way.

Even a small space feels better when it’s cleared of unnecessary clutter.

Katie Weber, an online feng shui master who has “Americanized” the Asian practice of “clearing harmful energies” by removing clutter and creating balanced order in your home, has become a favorite of mine.

  A recent tip from her weekly newsletter just might change your life – or at least your desk/kitchen counters. It has mine – with the …

Rule of 9″

Remove nine items from your desk/counters or put nine items away in your office or kitchen.

By focusing on the number nine and not cleaning up “the mess” on the desk/counters which can seem insurmountable, you can get the items put away individually and create a cleaner, clearer desk or kitchen.. Plus, your mind will be distracted counting the individual items instead of seeing the mess as a whole. With a cleaner desk/kitchen, you’ll be able to focus on the tasks at hand more effectively.

She adds another significant tip that is an essential one at our temples when you think about it:

Use storage to eliminate visual clutter

The more you can get into drawers and cabinets, and off your desktop/counter, the better. When items are out, you can easily get overwhelmed by visual clutter. This distracts your eyes, which are the principal way we interact with the world.

If our vision is constantly filled by stuff, so is our mind because our eyes are directly linked to our brain. Use drawer organizers, cover any bare cabinets or storage shelves or use boxes to store items and keep them out of sight.

As I’ve tried the rule of 9, it’s amazing how it clears a work surface in no time! Then you can see what needs to be done, and move forward from there.

November and December are gifts.  They are opportunities to reflect on blessings, enjoy family and loved ones in our sacred homes, and to welcome the Savior into our lives.  Wouldn’t He have us enjoy the blessings of less stuff, less clutter, less mess, for MORE of Him and the things that matter most?

Say a little prayer now. Ask which teacups most need emptying, and move forward with love for yourself and Him today!  

15% off Sale Ends Tonight on Meridian’s Favorite Herbal Detox. De-clutter from too much Halloween and enjoy your best health for the Holidays! Use coupon code”EOY15″CLICK HERE 

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success – One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website.

She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.

She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight. They live in the Washington D.C. area where they are delighted to serve each week as the nursery leaders. Learn more about them and the herbal detox product they share at Meridian HERE