May 28, 2013

Spring Cleaning

By Maria Rudesill

Well, it is the end of May here in the Northwoods and it finally seems like Spring has arrived. Mind you, we will still need to cover our plants and adapt our clothing for at least another month, but the air is warmer and the days are longer.

With that comes the need for Spring Cleaning! Many of us spend a weekend (or longer) sorting through all of the things we collected over the winter and decide what goes and what stays. It gives us a chance to beat the dust from our rugs, clear the clutter, and remove the junk that gets in our way. Then, when we are done, we are tired, dirty, and filled with a sense of calm and contentment – able to see the evidence of a job well done.

What if we were to take this idea of Spring Cleaning, and instead of looking at the house, garage, and closets, turn our eyes inward – looking at our thoughts, emotions, behaviors and relationships. What if we applied the same efforts there? What would happen?

I think most of us can agree that there is at least one piece of baggage from our past that we carry with us everywhere we go. We may shove it into a mental closet in an attempt to hide it, but every time we pass by that door, we know something is there, waiting to be dealt with. Sometimes, just trying to avoid it causes us to hurt ourselves or others. It controls our thoughts and our behaviors.

There are times I have a mess in my house – laundry, dishes, toys on the floor - but instead of tackling the mess, I walk away, thinking I will take care of it later. But the mess gets bigger: the family runs out of clothes to wear, the dishes get slimy, and I end up stepping on marbles in the middle of the night. If I would have just spent the time cleaning up, I wouldn’t have the bigger problem now.

Our life is the same way. Clutter keeps us from seeing things clearly. Garbage from other people’s actions affects the way we think.  Grudges, frustration, and worry force us to tip-toe around others. It changes how we live.

I want to invite you to consider taking the next few months – one day a week – and give your personal life a good ol’ fashioned Spring Cleaning. I promise you will find things you want to keep and things you want to toss out – and I also promise that at the end of the experience, if you do the work, you will see the evidence of a job well done.

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