Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Cleaning

One of my favorite anual events is spring cleaning. I get this ridiculously disproportionate sense of satisfaction sweeping the garage or buffing streaks from the windows or tossing out all the stuff that seemed so necessary in late autumn. The process is meditative, even spiritual. It's cleansing and renewing.

For me, spring cleaning is one of life's do-overs. It's a chance to step back, reset and try again. It's also a chance recalibrate intentions and expectations. Perhaps most importantly, it's a chance to purge.

I think that the power of spring cleaning lies in the purging. Purging is multidimensional. Sure, you can purge the accumulated deposits of winter dirt and filth, but you can also purge other things. You can discard or give away unnecessary physical possessions. You can abandon old plans and goals the motivations for which you forgot long ago. You can forgive debts (financial and otherwise). You can be forgiven. You can watch the vestiges of resentment and indignation wash down drain along with the dirty mop water.

Purging is important because each of us is finite. Every little thing we carry forward requires us to forgo something new. Each one may not seem like much on its own, but that twist in your stomach every time you think about an interaction you wished had gone differently, that irking sensation you feel at the mention of the name of someone who slighted you, that sigh you utter each time you look at your pile of unfulfilled commitments, all those things add up one-by-one like newspapers collecting in the garage. Before you know it, there's no room for the car. After a while you can't get to the bicycles.

Yeah, spring cleaning can be a wonderful experience, physically and metaphysically, especially when you pursue it liberally. By liberally I mean this: if there's any question at all as to whether or not you keep something, you toss it. You don't second guess. You don't look back. You don't sneak down to the trash can late at night. You toss it and move forward.

Sure, it's not quite spring, but then it's never too early for a little spring cleaning.

Happy Saturday,

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