Spring has arrived! I always look forward to this time of year to bring fresh energy into my home and life! It is time for some Mindful Spring Cleaning!
Here in GA, we experienced a warmer than usual Winter and daytime temperatures are already in the 60’s & 70s. Last weekend I spent time in our backyard, clearing out fallen branches and potting fresh herbs into pots that I bought years ago but have sat empty for years. I never would have said this, even just a couple of years ago, but I truly enjoyed these activities. I have discovered something that changed my whole outlook on how to live the rest of my life…Mindfulness.
You can call it other names: conscious focus, being present, or being in the moment, but I prefer the term mindfulness. I explain it as a state of being conscious or aware of something in the present moment.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve done things on auto-pilot, clueless about why or how I was performing the task. I’ve zoned out washing the dishes, doing grocery shopping and mostly, while cleaning the house. My mind would be wandering to other thoughts rushing around in my head. Thoughts that usually related to some problem or concern I had at the time. Before I knew it, I was done with the activity or reached my destination and couldn’t remember much about the process.
Although this may sound wonderful (especially performing chores that are less than enjoyable), over the past year I realized how much of life I was living in a numb state. The passing of my oldest brother a couple of years ago made me realize that I no longer want to fritter away any of life’s moments being blind to what I am doing. I now wish to look upon my life and appreciate the blessings I already have and look forward to future blessings with excitement.
So 2017 is my first year learning to live in mindfulness. Mindfulness about my physical and emotional wellness, my relationships, and about the physical spaces I choose to spend time in. The physical space I am addressing here is my home.
Here are my ideas about turning annual Spring cleaning projects into Mindfulness Spring Cleaning. I hope they will be helpful and inspiring to you as well!
Yard clean up/gardening: I began by appreciating the fact that I was able to go out into nature and help my surroundings wake up to Spring’s fresh new energy. I cleared debris from under our hardwood trees which allowed me, as well as the yard, extra breathing space. I smiled when I saw new blades of grass or fresh buds on the trees starting to come alive. I enjoyed transferring new plants into pots with the intention that they will thrive. I actually took my time to do this, which previously I would not have even attempted. I felt connected to the plants and committed to nurturing them. In return, I know nature will be supporting me in enjoying a fresh start as well.
The kitchen: The kitchen is where you store, prepare and cook the sustenance for your health and growth. It is the ultimate symbol of abundance. It is important to keep this area clean, open and supplied with only what you use on a regular basis. Food that is kept fresh and items that are used maintain that continued feeling of abundance.
This week, I am focusing on updating and simplifying my kitchenware. Since my husband and I adopted a modified paleo eating pattern late last year, I haven’t taken the time to clean out pantry items we no longer desire to eat and remove paraphernalia I no longer use. When I tried a new recipe last week, I pulled out my ground mustard spice and saw that it had an expiration date of 2013, so my spice shelf is getting a once-over as well. As I perform these activities, I am in a state of gratitude and appreciation for everything that we already have and send positive energy along with items that I am donating with the thought that someone looking to use it will find it.
Mindfully editing out items that I don’t use anymore will allow me to be more organized and open to new adventures in cooking. I feel my spirit lifting even as I think about the prospect of walking into a fully functioning kitchen!
The Bedroom: I feel bedrooms need the most re-energization when Spring arrives. It is where we rest, rejuvenate and re-charge every night and during the colder, darker Winter months, they accumulate more yin energy due to the extra layers of bedding, the windows staying closed and the darker colors we tend to bring out during the season. An excess of yin energy leads to heavy energy, which can lead to depression in the occupants. It is now time to yang up the room a bit with lighter colors and fabrics on the bed, and to also shift from darker, heavier winter clothes in your closet to a fresher, happier wardrobe. I have already cleaned out our closet, which felt great as my hubby and I put out our too-large clothes for donation and made a list of what we needed to replace. Our closet has breathing room, and is now open for new pieces that better reflect us now!
Once the temps rose into the 50s, I began lifting the blinds and opening the bedroom windows to let fresh air in, and dusted and vacuumed out the stale energy. I also use my air diffuser with the revitalizing scents of peppermint and lemon essential oils combined. Yes, I cleaned during the Winter as well, but the yang energy of doing the housework with the windows opened, listening to the birds outside singing and seeing the light streaming into the room is more refreshing. Funny, I just had the scene from Disney’s Snow White flash through my mind, when she is cleaning up the seven dwarfs home!
The Living/Family Room: Our home only has one main living space, but you can apply this to both areas if you also have a living room. The first thing I did was switch out my heavier red toss pillows on the sofa for my lighter, happier blue and green ones, which immediately brightened up the room. I put the lap blankets in the closet, and changed out the mantel decor to less items. Next, I looked at every piece of art and decor that is hanging on my walls and notice how I feel when I look at each one. If it makes me smile, or lifts my energy, it stays. If I had a neutral or less than positive connection to it, I removed it from my space. It is amazing how having artwork you actually enjoy can lift your mood.
During the Winter months, I keep a lot more reading material around for those cold, rainy days when I just sit and relax with a hot cup of tea and do some light reading. I reviewed my collection of magazines, cut out specific articles I wanted to save for future reference and tossed the rest into the recycling bin. I also removed the heavier table runners on my glass top sofa table and heirloom bar and replaced them with much lighter fabrics.
My focus is now light, happy and being in constant appreciation as I make the energetic shift from one season to the next. When you begin your Spring cleaning, I hope you will consider becoming more mindful of the process too.
Here’s to celebrating a Wonderful Spring!