Spring is in the air. Tonight we will “spring” the clocks ahead one hour, temperatures are rising, and just a couple days ago I spotted a bright red cardinal perched in the tree in our backyard.
Spring also means spring cleaning. The change in season and warmer weather inspires us to tackle those pesky home maintenance and renewal chores that we may have neglected for the past several months. This year, as we clean out our closets, air out our homes, and donate those unused items sitting in the back of the garage, why don’t we also undergo a little spring cleaning of the soul as well?
Cleaning Out the Mind
Often our minds become filled with dirty and cruddy emotions – anger, jealousy, self-doubt – that need to be cleaned out and cleared out, just like we clean out our garages and our closets. What past hurts are you hanging on to? What negative emotions are filling your heart? What self-doubts and insecurities are you harboring? Clean them out by choosing to fill the space with positivity, confidence, and forgiveness. Once we have removed the negative emotions, we can move on to the next step in our spring soul cleaning…organization.
Organize the Mind
Similarly, our minds can easily become cluttered with regrets and resentment that keep us from enjoying an organized mind. Once we have fully purged our mind and attitude of negatively charged emotions, we can begin to organize our mind. We can objectively analyze and take stock of our goals and aspirations. We can calmly and clearly explain our opinions to ourselves and others without the intrusion of irrelevant emotions into the conversation. By living with a clean and organized mind and heart, we can be truthful and authentic with ourselves and others.
Freshen our Hobbies
As we freshen our homes, let us also freshen our enthusiasm for life by trying something new. Perhaps we could try a cooking or photography class. We could read a book about a different culture or religion. Experiment with a new cuisine or visit a new restaurant. Rekindle a friendship with an old friend with whom you have lost touch. By refreshing our hobbies, we can tap into our creativity reserves that the soul needs in order to flourish.
Open our Minds
Just like we open our windows to let the cool, fresh air flow in, let us also open our minds to allow for the free flow of new and fresh ideas. Consider the viewpoint of someone with whom you disagree by allowing yourself to fully empathize with his or her position. Too often we remain affixed to our own opinion by censoring our sources of information – we listen to talk shows that express viewpoints similar to our own and we read articles that align with our opinions. Let us open the windows to our minds and souls by acquiring our information from a variety of sources and genuinely listening to the viewpoints of others with whom we disagree so that we can truly open our minds.
Do It Now
Whatever “it” is, do it now. Don’t delay. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today.” Many organization experts recommend breaking up a large project, like spring cleaning, into small parts and just doing something. The same is true for spring cleaning of the soul. Whatever it is that needs to be done in order to improve the health of your body or mind, just take one small step forward. Perhaps you want to lose weight, eat healthier, or start an exercise regime – start today. Do not worry about the daunting long-term challenges involved with the goal, just make smart decisions today. Perhaps you want to improve a friendship that has waned in recent years. Write an email, send a card, or telephone the person – today.
Perhaps there is a lifelong goal that you have been putting off, such as learning to play the violin or speak Spanish. If so, do it now. Sign up for a class; take lessons. For years I have wanted to write a book, but I never seemed to find the right topic or enough time. A few months ago, I tired of the excuses and resolved to just started writing. Before I knew it, I had written 150 pages. Certainly not the end of the book, and it may never be a published book, but at the end of the day, I am pleased with my meager progress toward the goal.
Donate the Unnecessary and Unused
Just like we donate our old clothes, furnishings, and household items when we no longer need or want them, we must also “donate” those chores and tasks that we no longer need or want by asking for help and limiting ourselves. We do not need to agree to coordinate every bake sale or fundraiser that comes our way, and we do not need to be the one responsible for every household task. When we try to do everything, we are unable to anything well and we make ourselves miserable in the meantime.
Accordingly, we must “donate” certain chores and tasks to others. I am certainly not suggesting that we shirk our responsibilities, but perhaps we could enlist the help of other family members to help with certain chores or we could politely turn down that request to coordinate the umpteenth school fundraiser of the year so that we can more fully devote our time and energy to the tasks that we do choose to undergo.
Lighten the Mood and Attitude
Finally, as we lighten our wardrobes, let us also lighten our moods and attitudes. Laugh often and easily. Forgive easily. Be silly. Have fun. Dance flamboyantly and sing loudly. Enjoy life.