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Tag Archives: self-care

Spring Clean Your Life

This time of year many of us find ourselves automatically engaging in some sort of spring ritual. We’ve got spring break, spring fever, and of course, spring cleaning.

Spring is a celebration of renewal and change.  Nature wakes up and in the process brings us out of our own winter hibernation. Everything is fresh and new. And spring is deeply ingrained in our collective conscious not only because we come out of the darkness of winter and into the crisp light of spring, but also because the traditional religious holidays of spring lend themselves to spiritual cleaning as well.

Lent, Passover and Easter are steeped in traditions that provide a spiritual window of opportunity to reach another spiritual level and we all can expect to be affected by their influence, whether we observe the holidays or not.

Dr. Karen Berg, director of the Kabbalah Center, blogs that spring cleaning show us that “In our lives, many of us ask to gain freedom from challenges of all kinds: relationship difficulties, financial stress, worries about health. We also ask for the freedom to believe what we want to believe and to live how we want to live.   To find this freedom, we’ve got to look inside and find those places within ourselves that need to be cleansed—of ego, of anger, of sadness, of any negative emotion. And we do the external work of cleaning our surroundings because the physical effort we make creates a vessel, or a place, for a blessing to reside.”

Essentially, we are responsible for our spring cleaning and for planting the seeds for new growth.  To make this happen, we need to eliminate the clutter from the past year and create a clean space inside of ourselves.

Just as we face reluctance in getting started on our physical spring cleaning of the home, it may be difficult to get started on a spiritual spring cleaning -here’s 6 ways to get started moving that mountain of inner clutter!

1.  Eliminate what no longer serves you.  Get rid of distractions that block your spiritual flow. Are you watching too much television, working too much or going to bed too late?  Maybe you have some friendships or a relationship that is toxic.  Just as you’d set a broken couch on the curb, you can also curb undesirable personal patterns. Incorporate more activities that nurture your connection with spirit, such as meditating, reading, learning new skills, and practicing self-care. Eliminate clutter in your schedule to create space to focus on what’s truly important.

2.  Cleanse your body.  Your body is your soul’s temple.  Eliminate unhealthy eating or drinking behavioral patterns.  Do you find you eat poorly because someone else does the grocery shopping?  Volunteer to be the market manager for a while and play with new menu options.  If you find you drink more when out socially, order a sparkling water with lime instead of an alcoholic beverage.   You can also explore the world of juice cleansing. There is no better time than now to start an exciting cleanse with summer on the horizon.

3.  Rinse your mouth.  What you say reflects a lot about your inner reality.  Not to mention, shapes how others around you will proceed in their day.  Brush out judgment, a bad attitude and negative self-talk and only speak words of positive intention.  For example, instead of blasting off about how you and your passenger are stuck in wreck traffic, give thanks you are safely in your vehicle and use the opportunity to send loving vibes to those affected by the accident.

4.  Get rid of old baggage. Have an unresolved spat or bitterness lingering in the closet spaces of your mind? Address issues either directly or indirectly through personal reconciliation measures. Ask Spirit to help you learn how to deal well with difficult people and those whose personalities conflict with yours.  Whenever people offend you in minor ways, be willing to let the issues go.  Whenever people offend you in major ways, be willing to forgive them and reconcile if possible.  An open mind and forgiveness are the only bags you need.

5. Open your inner windows and let the sun in!  Open yourself up to being venerable and you will soon see the walls of others fade away as well.  Allowing your inner light to shine will attract more authentic people and personally rewarding opportunities to your doorstep. 

6. Top your cleaning off with a smudging ritual. With smudging, you can use sage, sweetgrass or other herbs. You can also use incense, if you like. The purpose of smudging is to use smoke to carry negative energy out of the area. When you light sage or sweetgrass, set your new intentions and allow it to flame for a moment, then blow out the flame. This will leave you with a burning herb bundle, which will create smoke.  Declare old, dirty energy is no longer welcome and invite new, love-based ambiance into your home.

Now that your body (your spiritual house) is spick and span, invite others to share the after-effect with you.  Look up a pleasant friend, join a new enlightening class or join like synergies at a retreat. The key to keeping clean is the periodical life reorganization and refresher.

Our community is full of life refreshers.  Check out our classes, retreats and books we recommend to keep your soul polished.

Inspired to get to work?  You will also enjoy the article “Clean up the Body Clear Out the Mind“.    

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10 Things to Do if You Are Alone on Valentine’s Day:

‘You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are, and that person is not to be found anywhere.  You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.’

–Buddha

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and if you are unmarried, you are part of 50% of the American public that is likely to feel left out at this time of the year.  If you have no significant other, you join millions of Americans whose numbers continue to grow.  Despite this fact, advertisers stage massive campaigns that equate love and affection with lavishing loved ones with material things.  These campaigns increase fear and anxiety about being alone, in addition to perpetuating heterosexism and limited cultural notions about love relationships.

Here are some helpful recommendations from couples and family therapist, Joe Elliott, for building a more conscious relationship to the pressures at this particular time.

  1. Be grateful for how far you have come, reflect on your own path, and look for evidence of how you have stayed true to your values by remaining single.  Journal or sit quietly to reflect on this issue.
  1. Connect with family members; nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers.  Spend time with those who have known you for a long time that can help provide counsel to you.
  1. Connect with friends, plan a get together and give yourself a chance to share about past relationships that you are no longer in that were unhealthy.
  1. Spend time with animals or in nature.  Spending time with a familiar pet can help us to feel needed and spending time in familiar places in nature helps us to feel embraced and less alone.
  1. Engage in meditation or yoga practice.  It will help to deal with the natural, human desire to be with someone and to develop the strength to examine it with skill and care. Contemplative practice can also help you to experience the love of something divine.
  1. Cook yourself a meal. Food is good medicine. Consider making a meal that leads you to feel a sense of comfort and nourishment.
  1. Masturbate – Get in touch with how it feels to be touched, caressed, and sexually excited so that the next time you are with a partner, you can help show them how to turn you on.
  1. Take a break from technology and advertising -give yourself an opportunity to avoid the bombardment by consumer culture that plays on our anxiety and fears about being alone.
  1. Practice self care. Get a massage, a haircut, or spend time at a spa.
  1. Take amusement at the hype. Go to a local drug store or supermarket and take delight in the fact that your affections are not being bargained for with teddy bears, helium balloons, cheap chocolate, and sappy cards- more money for the massage.

There are lots of good reasons for being single, those of which cannot be celebrated in the most conventional means.  Our culture continues to perpetuate the myth that being satisfied with our lives includes having fulfillment in a relationship.

Doing what makes you happy is obviously the best way to offer your unique gifts to the world and to live a genuinely healthy existence, and sometimes this path doesn’t lead towards long-term fulfillment in relationships.  Don’t forget that the most complex and important relationship that we have is with ourselves and that we must remain true to ourselves in order to feel whole and complete about our lives.

How have you celebrated Valentine’s solo-style? 

 

About Joe Elliott:    Joe received his undergraduate degree from Naropa University in Psychology and Religious Studies and his Masters in Counseling from Regis University in Denver.  He completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Denver Family Institute.  Joe has been a student of world religions and has practiced mindfulness for the past fifteen years.  He has also taught a course in Family Therapy to students at  Metro State University and provides consultation on Family Therapy to non-profit organizations.

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