Spring Clean for the Soul

For the first time ever, I have embarked on a Staycation. Finally home after six months of travel that had me on the road more often than not, I am luxuriating in the relief of not having to get on a plane for the next few months. While I wait for some bigger projects to take shape, I find myself irresistibly drawn to cleaning and purging. I’ve been spending long hours going through old boxes in the basement, cleaning out drawers, shampooing carpets, and shredding years of old financial documents. The sheer volume of things I’ve accumulated over these many years of adulthood have become an unwelcome weight, and I want to feel lighter, more nimble, less acquisitive. With each box I get rid of, each bag of stuff put aside for Goodwill, I feel more spaciousness in my life.

Which is not to say that I haven’t inherited my parents’ depression-era desire to keep the mangiest of things “just in case” they’re ever needed. I fight against this tendency with every used notebook, every pair of ripped garden gloves I let go of.  Yet when I can release it, I know I’m opening the space for something better to enter my life.

It seems to be a near-universal tendency at this time of year for a deep clean as the seasons change and we emerge from winter hibernation mode. And being one who believes that the outer reflects the inner, I’m also drawn to examine what it might be that can use some spring cleaning on the inside. What do I want to I tidy up in the way I show up in the world?

Where does your spring cleaning take you?

Meaning vs. Purpose

The question "What is my purpose in life?" can generate a lot of angst if you feel that you haven't figured it out yet, and that life won’t really start until you have.  Amazon has over 150,000 titles that propose to help you determine what you’re “meant” to do in the world, with the notion that only this will bring you deep satisfaction and fulfillment. While having a sense of certainty about your purpose will give you direction and drive, those who struggle with either too many options or lack of a clear direction often feel unhappy, stuck and thwarted. But changing your focus to look at life through a sense of meaning gives you immediate positive results.  

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Meaningful events or things can often be very small, sometimes transitory, but feel deeply satisfying on a heart or soul level. They can pull you back into connection with the bigger picture, such as seeing the seeds you’ve planted in your garden begin to emerge as baby plants -- a simple joy that reconnects you with the power of nature. Being present for a friend who is going through a hard time, working on a project that engages your creativity, or just taking time to reflect on all the blessings your life holds bring a sense of gratitude and belonging that reminds you that Life is Good. Remembering to notice these things will increase your satisfaction with life and make it feel richer, even if the “life purpose” question continues to elude you.

What in your life feels meaningful to you? Take a moment today to sink into one of those experiences, and feel its power to enrich your life.

Welcome to my new, cared-for website!

After seven years, I figured it was probably time for an update. After all, the human body totally regenerates itself in seven years' time, but my website had just languished, not updating a single page on its own. So I guessed it was dead. Or maybe it was just up to me?

Where else in life do we not put energy into things and expect them to maintain themselves on their own? Like any good gardener, I know that only with care and attention -- along with a certain amount of water and compost -- will the seeds I plant produce fruit (or veggies). To just plant the seed then walk away, and expect good results to come from that is merely wishful (at best) thinking. We know theoretically that results will reflect the time and attention paid to the endeavor, but often we back-burner the care for things, thinking we can put it off...and off...and off.

Today, I challenge you to find one thing in your life -- a relationship, a hobby or passion, a straggly plant -- that could use a dose of caring. And then actually take the time to nourish it -- now. 

Then watch it grow.