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The Excitement of Spring Cleaning

Are you thinking that your life would have to be incredibly dull if spring cleaning served as a source of excitement? Or are you the type who can’t wait to de-clutter, lining up the garbage bags (throw out / give away) and filling them up with glee? Or maybe someone in between?

As I was hauling out my own junk the other day, during that incredibly beautiful spring/ summer weather we had here in the Northeast US, my moods vacillated. Sorting and purging, I envied all the lucky people having just plain fun on this gorgeous day, as pity-party violins boo-hoo’d in the background. Later on, seeing the success of my work, I was encouraged and excited to continue, imaging the aesthetic possibility of the torn apart area. Even later, I was exhausted, and feeling that I would NEVER finish this, and then so what, it will all get messed up again, so why bother?

An undercurrent of emotions, from happy to nostalgic, to sad, to angry, to disappointed kept running ….. an incredible gamut of feelings. This was big time DRAMA – Shakespearean tragedies and comedies mere soap operas compared with this theatre.

Initially, I was condescending towards this play, scolding myself with such lines as: ‘Oh,come on, it’s just cleaning a small room’ or ‘Get off it, there’s real suffering out there and this is not it’. But after a while, I thought – just experience the feeling fully, and then – fully – let it go.

And all of this high drama was brought on by these things – the stuff of lifethat was overfilling my house. There were old toys, and I would recall the joy of watching my children play with them. There were unfinished projects, and I would experience regret and loser overwhelm for not having completed them. Clothes that didn’t fit me or my life, or the family’s, recalled events that were happy, sad, nostalgic – as fitting. Gifts from old relationships, no longer viable. These objects all carried energetic resonances– they took up space, they triggered an emotional connection, and ultimately they crowded out clarity by clutter.

I would pick up a certain item, no longer useful, and decide its fate. Hmmmm. Do I give this away to someone I know who could use it well? Who would best appreciate it? Donate to Goodwill? Throw out? Throw out??!Looking it over, turning it around in my hands, seeing if something – anything – could be salvaged from this object. A sigh, as it’s tossed into the garbage bag.

Pretty much all these things represented certain stages of my life, and saying a permanent goodbye to them was like leaving old friends forever. It’s hard to let go.

Since I had a lot of mess, I had a lot of opportunity to wonder about the very notion of spring cleaning. Why am I doing this anyway? For one, pragmatism – the room was practically a dangerous war zone, strewn with junk. (Perhaps I’m being a little dramatic, but you get the picture.) For another, it was aesthetically unpleasing. It’s a beautiful room – with many windows, but not one that we put to good use, more or less a walkway through to the tiny laundry room just off it. It was bad feng shui – the ancient Chinese body of knowledge used to balance the energies of any given space to ensure health and good fortune for those inhabiting it.

All the clutter was limiting, tying me down to these things as I allowed myself to get drawn into their drama – the emotional pull of each item, if it held that, or the disappointment with myself for allowing such a mess, the exasperation, the boredom. But if I could hold onto my vision, let go of the emotions, the promise of possibility was truly exhilarating. It was old stuff, and it was time for a new, clean slate. Out with the old, in with the new. Move on dot org!!!

Safety, improving appearance, moving energy, peace of mind, creating possibility, FREEDOM! All achievable by clearing out junk! Wouldn’t life be great if we could do that in all areas?

Why stop with just the physical since it ultimately completely lifted my moods, and opened space for creating a beautiful, useful part of my home? Why not extend the spring cleaning to my body, mind and spirit?

In Chinese medicine, spring is connected with the element of Wood. Think of a tree, firmly rooted in the ground, branches touching the sky. The color is (naturally) green, and the emotion is anger. Out of balance, it’s the type of emotion that loses it at an intersection, road rage with little provocation. In its integrity, the emotion becomes a benevolent sense of justice that sees the picture as it could be and works persistently to achieve that vision. The wood energy is truly the visionary – that little dandelion sprout that somehow manages to grow this way and that way through the miniscule cracks in the pavement, seeing the goal of being a plant (OK, not to anthropromorphize

DandyLion, but it is imprinted in its DNA!). The tiny sprout “sees” the possibility of becoming a plant, it “envisions” the sun, and one day, the tiny sprout arrives! Yellow and green and busting out of the road! I did it!

Cleaning out the sun room is not so different from cleaning out my body, my emotions, my spirit life. The tools change, but the process is still the same. Letting go, clearing out, supporting the process the entire time. Stopping to rest. Checking in with my vision, whether it’s the clean room, emotional freedom, peace of mind and spirit.

Over the next postings, I will describe some tools that will help you spring clean your life.