I absolutely love spring. The last of the dirty snow piles melt away, the ice thaws, the gray skies slowly shift back to sunshine. Fresh breezes flow through open windows. The world around us begins to wake up. Trees fill with buds and leaves, a sure sign of the world coming back to life after a season of rest and hibernation.
DECLUTTERING AND DEEP CLEANING
Everything feels fresh and new, and the urge to declutter and lighten my space kicks in. It’s refreshing to scrub away the dust and dirt from the long winter spent inside. It’s freeing to toss all the things that have accumulated with no real purpose over the last several months. I start thinking about ways to purge and simplify, as well as spruce up our space to make it more life-giving and peaceful.
And while I love the springtime because of the opportunity to clean and declutter my physical space, I also love this season because it offers a chance to do a little spring cleaning in my soul as well. To scrub away the dirt and make space for new life and growth to happen.
So what do we do with the things keeping us from joy in our soul? How do we clear the clutter in our own minds that might be holding us back from a life of true joy and deeper connection with the spirit of love, ourselves, Universe, God and one another?
Here are six ways to achieve a little spring clean of the soul this season.
1.) Purge negative thoughts and feelings
Did you know even Bible say: ‘take every thought captive’ – to make space for more joy in our life, we have to intentionally ‘take captive’ every negative thought and actively let go of it. Holding on to negative thoughts about yourself, world or your life is a stumbling block to a life that ‘sparks joy’ everywhere you turn.
For me, these negative thoughts often look like “I am not good enough” or “the world is a dangerous place.” Time to sweep those thoughts straight into the trash! Intentionally swapping negative thought patterns for spiritual truths will lighten your soul and breathe fresh life into your spirit.
The truth is, that we can’t fight negative thoughts. It all starts with awareness. It is important to observe them as they come, embrace the fact you have them – as a human, for your brain, the primal task is to survive – and so these thought are naturally there to protect you and serve you from this perspective. Don’t make them wrong and don’t make yourself feel like you are wrong for having them. Remember, it is just a thought – it’s not an integral part of who you are! You are free and welcome to let go of this thought and a little tool to do so may even be asking yourself: ‘what if’….things are not the way I always used to thing they are….. For this level of practice, it is important for us to raise our level of awareness and being more in the now.
2.) Clear the clutter of unmet expectations and unanswered prayers
Once during my university studies, I was talking with a priest. He told me to imagine walking up to the altar during the Consecration at Mass and laying on the altar everything I wanted to offer to God that day. Maybe a thorny relationship, a disappointment, or even a victory! I absolutely love that image. It was symbolic, but played important part in my understanding of ‘offering’ being the way to let go.
As you work on spring cleaning your soul, consider if there are unmet expectations or unanswered prayers you can place on that table. Visualize taking them off your own shoulders and placing them on this altar. Offer them to God, Universe, Mother Nature – whatever resonates with your heart. They all can carry the weight of the burden of deep disappointments or an uncertain future far better than we.
3.) Dust away old resentments and past hurts
As new life blooms all around us in springtime, we can ask God to breathe new life into our relationships too.
Are you holding on to resentments or grudges? Be honest with yourself – are they taking up space in your mind and heart, leaving less room for joy and peace?
Maybe we can ask God to scrub our heart clean as we forgive and are forgiven.
This is a great time of year to consider people who need your forgiveness, and to extend that forgiveness to them.
Lent is also the perfect time to make a thorough Confession. Receive all the graces offered through the beauty of absolution. If we do this genuinely in any form chosen by you (doesn’t have to be in the church) – between friends or someone who is your committed listener, it truly feels like God is scrubbing away a layer of dirt and film off our heart. It’s like I can see more clearly once the dust is wiped away.
4.) Kick a bad habit to the curb
This, of course, is easier said than done. Put simply, bad habits are clutter in our life. And how freeing is it to stop rearranging piles of clutter and instead just get rid of it?
We are all works in progress. This is not about striving for perfection or beating ourselves up about all the things we’d like to change. It’s simply an opportunity to consider what bad habits may have crept in over the long winter. Too much time on Instagram? Snoozing the alarm every day? Having a sneaky fag in the evening?
5.) Evaluate your current spiritual routines and adjust as needed
Taking stock of where you are currently is the first step in creating a rich spiritual life that leads you closer to love and also the life you love.
Honestly evaluate your current spiritual routines. What are there areas you want to grow in? Are there spiritual routines that need to be adjusted for your current season of life (for instance, my usual routine of waking up early to meditate, read, write and study.
Ask yourself what an ideal spiritual life looks like in practical terms. Consider where you are currently. Only then can you make a plan to get from point A to point B.
6.) Clean with and for love
This spring, let’s meet our soul in the midst of our mopping and sweeping, dusting and decluttering. Let’s invite her to show us what needs to get cleaned up in our lives in order to be more joyful and fulfilled. Let us cling to what truly “sparks joy,” which is a life lived in communion with love and who we truly are deep inside.
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