Letting Go of What No Longer Serves You
Spring is a time of renewal in nature. As the cold retreats, it leaves behind the detritus of winter.
All the junk that collected under the snow and the now-sodden leaves from last fall makes the outside world look like it needs a good washing. Now, think of a spring rain. As it falls, it carries away the dirt and the grit and the grime. It leaves behind a clean slate that’s ready for the fresh greens of spring.
The custom of spring cleaning is an imitation of nature’s seasonal house cleaning. The weather is finally warm enough to throw open the windows. The sunlight and the fresh air remind us that now is the time to get rid of all of our own dirt and junk that has accumulated during the cold and dark of winter.
In my house, that’s a lot of junk. You can’t believe the stuff that accumulates with four little ones. Developmental toys, parts and pieces of games, board books, broken crayons, markers long-since dried out. Baby blankets, soft toys, dolls, and piles of stuffed animals that somehow keep getting bigger. Then there are the piles of outgrown clothing, shoes, and accessories. (Please tell me, how did the time go by so quickly?) When it comes to this stuff, there isn’t a stage that I don’t adore. Newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, one year. I swear, by now I’m capable of starting my own Salvation Army Surplus Store.
I admit it, I’m a collector. I’m also unabashedly sentimental. I have a penchant to pack away everything in order to save it from the dumpster, the recycling center, and the second-hand store. In the wee hours of the night, I’ll gently unpack a box of old baby clothes, hold them to my heart, and reminisce about the old days. And then the tears are unleashed. My husband always says that if we lived in a smaller house, I could qualify as a true hoarder. He says it with love, but if I’m honest about my “collecting” tendency, it might be more than a little true. I think saving stuff is my way of trying to stop time from stealing away the present and turning it into the past.
When I hold an outgrown pair of shoes or a now-neglected toy, I have a visceral memory of little feet running in those shoes or the laughter that surrounded the toy. But those memories don’t change the fact that I am firmly in the present moment with the past still receding behind me. Nothing stops the train of time from carrying us into the future. So, I have to admit that the things I’ve collected and saved really no longer serve me.
In fact, I will never forget the look on my adult son Sam’s face when I showed him the suitcase of art and academic projects I had saved from preschool all the way through high school graduation. It was a sympathetic smirk that said, “Mom, you need a life.” While none of it was important to him, each thing represented a piece of our collective story from victimhood to freedom.
And at the end of the day, my formerly little buddha in ripped t-shirts and stinky tennis shoes kissed my cheek and whispered, “All that matters is how much we love each other right now, Mama. Throw it all away.”
Sam’s wise advice to me probably applies to each of us in one way or another. Spring is the perfect opportunity to throw it all away and make sure that both our inner and outer spaces are as clean and organized as can be. Now is the time to examine our hearts and our minds, looking for the things that we’re hanging on to that no longer serve us. What are we in the habit of doing that is keeping us from our most authentic lives? Listen up people, it’s time to grab a broom, a mop, or a giant trash bin and get to work.
1. Clean Up Your Inner Voice: What Are You Telling Yourself?
If you are quiet long enough, you quickly realize that your brain refuses to shut up. That voice inside your head is constantly influencing what you do and, more importantly, what you don’t do. The messages we continually feed ourselves can keep us trapped in a life that doesn’t reflect our greatest potential. Realize that the chatter in your head is simply a reflection of stories and beliefs that you’ve picked up along your journey in life. This distorted chatter doesn't serve you or the authentic life you are bringing into being.
Most of these stories and beliefs are lies and misrepresentations that we’ve elevated to the level of truth. Start your spring cleaning by taking a good long look at what your inner voice is saying, then get rid of the stuff that is obviously untrue.
2. Take Out the Trash: Stop Collecting Negative Emotions.
Dense emotions take up a lot of psychic space. Anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, and fear can all fill your head and heart with a heaviness that creates real blockages in your energy. We also tend to hang on to these more challenging emotions like little dark treasures and let them influence our mood and our attitude. As a result, anger begets more anger. Fearfulness causes more dread and worry. Like a hoarder, we become unable to let go of any adverse emotion, until our hearts are so full of useless junk that it becomes nearly impossible to experience any enjoyment, exuberance, or elation. Each of us is better than that. We are capable of more. We deserve more. So this spring, honor your divine greatness enough to know that it’s time to declutter your heart and make room for the meaning of both joy and peace, the true hallmarks of an authentic life.
3. Let in Some Fresh Air - Let go of the past and Live in the Present
We have all been hurt. We have all been treated unfairly and in some cases, cruelly. Sometimes, it's difficult to forget these hurts. We play the events that surrounded them over and over in our heads, trying to make sense of an oftentimes senseless situation.
The past is the past. The events that caused your hurt are only shadows now. Reliving the past only serves to hurt you further, as well as diminish the present. This spring, it’s time to move on. It takes courage to let go of the heavy baggage you’ve carried for decades.
Remember your forgiveness doesn’t justify the people who hurt you and their actions, instead, it frees YOU.
4. Dust Off Your Intentions - Send your highest energy out to the World.
We are energetic beings and everything we do, everything we say and everything that we believe emanates from us as an energy and is returned directly to us with force. If you project negativity, the universe will surround you with a morass of misery. Likewise, when you project positivity, the universe aligns itself with your energy and you’ll find the doors of possibility opening as you make your way through the world. Each day, we all face a simple choice - we can choose the light or we can choose the darkness.
When we choose the light and send our highest energy out into the world, we help those around us who may be struggling with the choice between light and dark. We also help ourselves to stay on the path of authenticity, building a joyful life, full of courage and meaning.
So, this spring make the conscious choice to choose the light. When your intentions are clear, the light within can shine out brightly and the light without can shine in, illuminating and warming all the corners of your soul.