For millennia, people have used the coming of Spring to get themselves ready for a fresh start. Spring is a bit like the starting block to the year. It’s a normal and natural human response to a little more sun, a little less cold, and to looking forward to the race ahead.
Nature shouts “new beginnings!” wherever we look, from fresh white lambs to the bright shock of daffodils on grassy verges and gardens. We, too, may harness the energy of a sunny spring day to get us moving forward and growing, and it feels good. However, it only takes a day of grey and mist to dampen our enthusiasm and make us feel like we are going nowhere again, perhaps even heading back into a winter of the soul.
We’ve all been there but we don’t have to stay in that place of feeling like we are regressing. Just as Spring yo-yos back and forth in its moods, so do we. A resolve for change can quickly fizzle out as we lose momentum, get side-tracked, or tired. But just like Spring swings between dull and delightful, and then finally makes progress into full-bloom, we can take heart that moving forward is a process, and a season of life in itself.
Regardless of the date on the calendar, any day can be the first day of your choice for change. We can wait for the atmosphere around us to shift, for things to get better, more hopeful or more prosperous by themselves (and we might be waiting for a long time for that!) or we can make that shift happen ourselves by growing a Spring-Clean Mindset that brings a springtime into our lives, which will eventually result in a better future.
A Spring-Clean Mindset is one where we take action physically and mentally to clear out, clean up, and move forward. Just three thought-steps can help us on this journey. This isn’t just a good idea we think you’ll find beneficial. These are steps that we are taking too. We dare you to take them with us!
Spring Cleans are sweeping through living rooms, lofts and garages right now. It’s a time to work out what stays and what goes, to sort and to organise. The same can go for our minds. Contemplating these things passively isn’t enough; sometimes we need to actively and physically play them out.
I chose to Spring Clean my bathroom last week. Nothing could stay that isn’t beautiful or useful or out-of-date. Nothing could stay unless it had somewhere to be stored. During the sort-out I let my mind de-clutter, too. Thoughts or scenarios that don’t lead to a sense of life or possibility were identified and thrown out. Burdens and worries I’m carrying were let go of. Out-of-date perspectives and thought-space that was being occupied un-necessarily was replaced with inspiration, truth and hope. So, as things were thrown out, I simply named that thought, told it that it is not wanted, and then replaced it with the truth I do believe now… or want to believe.
Spring Cleans aren’t the time for a quick once-over with the vacuum cleaner. I tackled the skirting boards, washed down surfaces and walls, polished the mirror, and cleaned the nooks and crannies I would otherwise ignore. I steam-cleaned the floor and scrubbed hard around the toilet. These were jobs I would rather not do but, once they were completed, everything seemed much nicer. As I went through this process, I let myself think through some of my relationships with other people, and I mulled over events in my life recently where I have come out feeling embittered or jaded. As I scrubbed the sink, I cleaned up my attitude. I chose to forgive, and let go, and replace the dirt of unforgiveness and bitterness with a clean start. You can do the same. Just one person, just one life event being forgiven can bring a radical sense of cleansing.
Now my bathroom was in good order and clean, there were two things I changed as I move forward. Taking out the books that we don’t really read on the loo meant that there was space for a plant. So in it went. Already the bathroom looks nicer, and I’m told the air will be cleaner, too. The other thing is because it looks tidy and I want to keep it that way, I have started a “quickly to the recycling bin” policy for used loo rolls, boxes and bottles. Nothing is to stay on the floor or in the corner waiting to be taken downstairs. One week in and I’ve managed this!
A sense of new beginning and fresh start really does kick-start good habits. On an emotional and thought-level, I am using this to remind myself to take stock of un-useful or “spent” thoughts. Every time I take a cardboard item away from the bathroom, I can think “Is there anything mulling around in my mind that needs throwing out right now?” I think it, name it, and chuck it out.
We can't do everything at once
Yes, of course some things have been shoved under the bed to be sorted next time through, and that’s ok - we can’t do everything at once – there’ll be opportunities for more clearing. For now, I’ve done what I could in a week, and I’m already experiencing how much better things are starting to look and feel. Why don’t you choose a small space in your home to tackle, and grow a Spring-Clean Mindset of your own? Just a few hours over a few days can help you as you move forward. Just remember those three steps:
- Clear out your thoughts
- Clean up your relationships
- Move forward in your life
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