Spring Cleaning

I was musing on the meaning of the two major holidays this past weekend. Easter is the day when Christ is said to have risen from the dead. The themes surrounding the holiday are rebirth, spring, joy, color and furry animals. Passover commemorates the freeing of the Jews who were enslaved in Egypt. Passover is also a spring holiday and according to tradition, it does not begin until the barley is ripe.

These spring holidays and the beautiful weather of late have led me to a desire to clean out my closets and cabinets, give away unneeded household items, tidy my yard, and get ready to plant. Although in Colorado we do not plant until Mother’s Day (it always seems to snow once more in early May), for me April is a time to get my fingers dirty, in the house and outside of the house, in preparation for warm weather.

Recently, there are have been a number of articles on decluttering. In her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” Marie Kondo, a native of Japan writes that we should get rid of anything at home that does not “spark joy.” The definition of decluttering can certainly expand to our mental lives as well as our households. I say, why not declutter, or at least strive to with the rest of our lives, including our minds?

Our minds are wonderful and fascinating parts of us. They can be enormously helpful in solving the problems of how to organize our schedule, build a rocket ship, figure out the best design for our backyard, and decide how many yards of new sod we need. And, they can be terribly devastating as they remind us of past and impending tragedies and painful memories. We do not have a choice about what pops into our minds. These thoughts and images just happen and we cannot control them. What we can control is how we respond to those thoughts, images, memories and predictions. Do they spark joy? Do they fit with our values? Do they help us move towards the things that are important to us? If not, we can learn to say thanks but no thanks. We can learn to accept the thoughts and images but not act upon them or even pay them attention. Like the annoying sounds of the toy car that Grandma bought for your son or that old pop song in the grocery store, you can tune out the mind and tune into what is in front of you.

Sometimes what is in front of you is not always beautiful and does not spark joy. But the possibility is always there if you look for what is right in front of you. If you tune in to what is on front you, you may find something that does spark joy, even for just a moment. In our case, we always have the possibility of rounding the corner and seeing the view of the Rocky Mountains. After 6 years, it still doesn’t get old for me. And even if it’s not the mountains you can see from where you are, you can turn on the radio and experience a laugh on 103.1, a view of the flowers blooming on the trees, or just a moment of calm while you breathe in and breathe out as you wait for the light to change.

Happy Spring from CBTDenver.

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