It’s that time of year again! Spring cleaning is the annual ritual of cleaning a house from top to bottom in the first warm days of the year – typically in the spring. Historically this was done in the spring as the cold weather was giving way to warmer temperatures, because, it was widely held, houses are more difficult to clean during winter.
The origins of spring cleaning probably date back to the Iranian Norouz, the Persian new year, which falls on the first day of spring. Iranians continue the practice of “khooneh takouni” which literally means “shaking the house” just before the new year. Everything in the house is thoroughly cleaned, from the drapes to the furniture.
Another possible origin of spring cleaning can be traced to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the spring-time holiday of Passover. Observant Jews conduct a thorough cleaning of the house, followed by the traditional Passover festivities.
In Greece and other Orthodox nations, it is tradition to clean the house thoroughly either right before or during the first week of Great Lent, which is referred to as Clean Week.
During this spring cleaning season, I invite you to join me and check out what’s dusty, out-dated, or has been over-looked within yourself. Let’s take a trip into your inner attic or basement; look around and decide what should be cleaned up, put away or tossed into the trash altogether.
Let’s start by identifying the 8 Major Life Categories that will form the framework of your spring cleaning efforts:
- Body (health, exercise, nutrition, avoiding the “isms”)
- Mind (intuition, inspiration, creativity, feelings, assumptions…)
- Spirit (perhaps our relationship to God; a Higher Power; gratitude or LOA)
- Family and Friends
- Vision and Life Purpose (passion, hopes and dreams)
- Leisure Time
Now let’s identify the 5 Essential Elements that are the basis of your personal operating system.
In the same way you go through your closet at the start of each season, carefully examining each garment and accessory one by one, let’s take some time and examine the threads in the fabric of your life.
Be methodical and thorough about this process. Make a detailed list of your Values that are the centerpiece of your life; your Thoughts, Attitudes and Beliefs that guide and inform your choices and decisions; and your Behaviors – the way you treat yourself; and the way you are proactive, reactive or interactive with others.
Examine and explore the 5 Essential Elements in each of the 8 Major Life Categories that I identified above. Please add any life categories that are a part of your life that I didn’t include above.
Do your values drive your behaviors? Or, do you react from your feelings and perceived hurts or injustices?
Are your attitudes aligned with your values?
Do your beliefs and behavior affirm and esteem your best and most brilliant and passionate Self?
Are you dragging baggage from the past with you? Sometimes we drag the painful experiences we had with others in the past with us into the present moment. Those others, I might add, were not being their best selves! And still, we dignify their bad behavior and continue to let it negatively affect and impact us!
Are you so crippled by the mistakes and bad choices you made in the past that you are…
…Unable to act on your own behalf today;
…Unable to say your real YES! and your real NO!;
…Unable to consider that your needs and wants are completely legitimate; and
…Unable to ask for what you need and want from others?
Over the next couple of weeks, as you vacuum the drapes, dust the shutters, shake out the rugs, move all the heavy furniture and sweep behind and under them, flip the mattresses and wash the windows—carve out some important time for YOU; go inside yourself; and ask some very important questions:
- What is my inner voice saying to me?
- Is anything nagging at me? Do I have any unfinished business with anyone?
- What is holding me back in my life today?
- Am I deliberately choosing how to spend my time and money?
- Who or what is cluttering up my Inside Self and causing stress or discomfort or dis-ease?
- Who am I angry with? Disappointed in? Deeply wounded by?
- Do I need to forgive myself or someone else?
- What is the lesson I learned (very well indeed!) long ago that is limiting me in my life or in the possibilities of my life today? This lesson may not be aligned anymore with my life as an adult.
- What mistakes did I make in the past that are holding me hostage in the present and keeping me from risking and making decisions on my own behalf today?
- Is my job or career dictating my life? Health? Relationships?
- Would I be well served to prioritize or re-prioritize decisions, choices, responsibilities and obligations differently? What’s the risk? What’s the short-term benefit? Long-term benefit?
I invite you to call time-out on abandoning your values; being a reactor; making decisions from fear and erroneously held beliefs; and believing at all that others-whoever they are-know more or are better than you.
Let this spring cleaning be your opportunity to discard the emotional clutter that is limiting you or stopping you from being the full richness that is YOU!
Decide today, that you are going to fully embrace the values that are the centerpiece of your life; and be proactive and chose your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that affirm and accurately reflect your special and unique YOU!
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!