Days are growing longer, flowers are bursting into bloom, birds are singing, our hearts are lifting with a sense of new beginnings – it must be spring! Along with the awareness of rebirth, renewal and regeneration comes the impulse to clean up and sort out, to clear out the old to make way for the new, to ‘set our houses in order’.
How about using some of that positive energy to tackle the cobwebs in our minds, the deadwood in our hearts, the dust-balls in the corners of our lives? Spring-cleaning is about lightening, simplifying, creating space – not only externally, but in our inner selves too. So what are the things that are blocking us, the stuff we’re holding on to that we need to let go? How can we declutter our mental and emotional lives to allow the sunshine in? Like all spring-cleaning, it’s a process of removing what no longer fits, getting rid of what we no longer need, and organising what we want to keep.
Polish your attitudes
Let’s stop complaining about what we don’t have, and start being grateful for everything we do have. Your grandmother’s advice about counting your blessings really does work – look for abundance in your life and you’ll surely find it! Start a gratitude journal, refocus and regroup your thoughts, get rid of negativity. We can’t always control our circumstances, but (with awareness and practice) we can learn to control our responses to them and consciously to choose a new, more positive, perspective. A sense of humour helps enormously – make space for even a little fun and laughter every day!
Straighten up your relationships
Are you carrying a lot of baggage from the past? Now’s your chance to get rid of it – clear out anger, hatred, jealousy and bitterness; throw away misunderstanding, impatience and offendedness – and let the light of forgiveness and hope into your heart. Are there people in your life who drag you down instead of lifting you up? You may not need to get rid of them completely, but you could consider ‘repositioning’ them, and spending more time with those whose company brings you joy and nourishes your soul. If you want anything to change in your relationships, consider what you can do differently – trying to make other people change will never make you happy (besides, it doesn’t work!).
Sweep out unhelpful habits
It’s easy to get stuck in lifestyle choices, which sabotage and distract us without our realising it, and we need to clear some of the clutter from these areas too. Procrastination and delay, for example, mean that we’re living constantly in the past, always scrambling to catch up with ourselves, weighed down with guilt and stress. Planning ahead and getting organised can start with making lists – realistic ones, with achievable goals – after which, of course, you have to follow through with action! But the rewards of ticking off completed tasks and clearing them from your mind will amaze you. Do you need to clean up your finances? Again, be proactive: be honest with yourself, make a list of priorities and address them one by one. It won’t happen overnight, and it takes dedicated effort, but you’ll be making space in your life for beautiful new possibilities.
Dust off your schedule
Our lives can so easily become cluttered with commitments and obligations and an endless round of busy-ness, leaving us no time or energy to connect with ourselves. Just 20 minutes a day of ‘quiet time’ can make an enormous difference, allowing you to settle your mind and nurture your spirit, which in turn gives you the opportunity to reframe your thinking, refresh your perspectives and clear the way to making new choices. It’s worth considering too whether all the activities that fill your days do in fact still serve you well – if they don’t bring you joy and fulfillment, and they’re not unavoidable obligations, perhaps it’s time to do away with some of them.
Spring is an invitation to grow, to blossom, to shine – to make a conscious decision to choose the life you really want rather than just the one you’ve ended up with. Of course, nothing changes if nothing changes. It may seem scary even to look at some of the clutter in our lives, but try taking just one step at a time. Recognise and acknowledge any progress you make, and build on that. When we start getting rid of the grime and the garbage, we can really let the sunshine in!