Spring Cleaning has been in the air for several weeks now at my house. It was the theme at Blue Sun Studio for the entire month of March, and a topic of conversation with several clients and friends.
As soon as the weather starts to warm up and our bodies begin to thaw out, we get the urge to shed much more than our winter coats, scarves and mittens.
Spring cleaning can take on many forms. It can be clearing away the physical clutter that gathers in our homes. Or the cobwebs in our mindsets as old patterns and bad habits build up and drag us into moods and places we don’t want to be.
It can be ditching the extra pounds that winter brought on while we were hibernating.
The extra burst of energy that spring brings propels us into the mood for our own version of Spring Cleaning.
But what happens when the clutter is gone and you have that shiny new open free space? Do you feel lighter than a feather? Do you take a few moments to celebrate that accomplishment? Did you pay attention to the steps and strategies of how you obtained this new success or were you simply a flurry of activity and don’t really know how you got from clutter to clean?
From Clutter to Clean to Cluttered Again.
The trouble with the wild banshee decluttering, or fad diet, or temper tantrum, “That’s It, I’m changing my stupid mindset right now!” approach, is that it never lasts. As fast as that space opens up in our physical, personal or mental space, we will find a way to sabotage ourselves and fill it back up again.
Why in the blazing @@#!@$ do we do that???
The answer is both simple and profound. We do it because we have not strategically and purposefully planned for something new, positive and long-lasting to fill that space.
Let’s take a living room for example.
Let’s imagine that you had an old ugly sofa that you hated and didn’t care about. Because you had a bad attitude about it, you don’t really care if the family dog sleeps on it, the kids eat ice cream on it and leave their bowl resting on the arm of it, the newspapers pile on one side, your spouse dumps the laundry on one half and then leaves it there for a week. (After all, dressers are so last decade.)
You get a burst of Spring energy and muster up the force to clean it up, including kicking the family dog off and pointing him to his own ignored dog bed.
You celebrate the clean sofa for a few days and make the family announcement that from now on… nobody is to throw their “Stuff” on the couch.
How long do you think it will last?
If it is my house, the dog will be back the minute you turn your back. The kids, maybe a day.
But, let’s say you get a new sofa. A well constructed, beautiful sofa that you saved up for, daydreamed about, stuck the picture on your vision board and cracked open the champagne for when it arrived. Believe me, the dog and kids will feel the different vibration radiating off of your skin.
“Don’t even think about putting your crap on my new sofa!” your body language will say. Because the conviction will be so deep that it goes all the way down to your soul, no one will dream of crossing it. Not even the dog.
It’s not just for living rooms and furniture.
Let’s take weight. One way to lose weight is to go all gung ho, find some latest fad or tape our lips together, (ouch) and drop ten or fifty. We high-five ourselves when we hit the magic number, and then we go right back to piling the pounds on. Why does that happen? Because we didn’t employ new lifestyle habits, strategies, healthy mindsets, recipes, and possibly hobbies and friends to sustain our new life. So, in the absence of filling up that space left by those pounds, (mentally, physically and emotionally,) the pounds jump right back on, and often bring their friends.
How about the mental spring cleaning? The “That’s it, I’m getting a new attitude, from now on I will meditate-exercise- be more loving-positive-focused-organized…(name that thing you beat yourself up about regularly).”
You chuck your bad habits right out the window and swear to your favorite deity that they are never coming back again. You resolve to never yell. (Good luck with that), never be messy again, (If you figure that out, call me) never be late, never be mean, never gossip, judge, compare, lie… and so forth.
But low and behold, imperfection seeps in, (Because here is some bad news, you are still human) and so, rather than cutting yourself some grace, you say, “I give up” and you open the window and invite all the bad habits back in again, and then also invite their friend self-abuse to come along and tell you how horrible you are and remind you what a failure you are.
A Better Way.
Spring cleaning for dusting, vacuuming, raking up the yard, and cleaning your closet has its place. Personally, several bag of clothes, bed sheets and boxes of books have made their way to new homes this spring from our home.
But for other types of spring cleaning that leave us with big empty spaces to fill, consider how you can fill that empty space with new habits, purposeful intentions, strategies, and systems that will support the new mindset, lifestyle and space that you want to have.
Because expecting the space to stay empty is a dangerous expectation. In the absence of purposeful filling of space, accidental filling will take place, or the old stuff will just come back and bring its friends.
Stay awake to your free space. Turns out it isn’t quite as “Free” as it looks.
Need some help with those mindsets, strategies and new habits? Contact Wendi and have a chat about how she can help you turn around your patterns and lifestyle once and for all!