January days can bring the clearest blue skies. The intense brightness allows us to see things we may have missed before the leaves had fallen from the trees. In these cold, clear days, I look out at the bones of my roof garden and think how lovely the space is, just as it is, with no distractions.

January is a good time to clear out the clutter in our lives so that we can see better what is really important. A dining room table that is set for dinner and conversation become clear to us only when mail and bookbags and homework and newspapers have been removed. The joy of cooking becomes clear to us after dishes and leftovers and wrappers and stuff from the dishwasher have been put away and the sink is empty. Even the pleasure of driving becomes clear when the car is in order and the process of getting somewhere is not just the shortest distance between two points.

Reducing mind clutter also has the capacity to bring clarity to our thoughts and to our decision making process. Ruminating through old hurts and grudges and deciding to let them go only takes a decision. Weeding out negative thoughts about ourselves and others and replacing them with thoughts of gratitude may take a little practice at first, but can clear the air in our heads and open us to new insights and ways of looking at things. Turning off external noise and sitting still for even a short period each day can introduce us to silence, a state of clarity that can lead to understandings we could have come to in no other way.

Winter hibernation or even our nightly “sleeping on it” is nature’s way of sorting things out. Clarity demands space.