Spring is a time of New Beginnings. Historically it was a time for celebrating sowing seeds, fertility, renewal and hope. But what does marking this season-change look like in the 21st Century, when our lives are not as driven by agriculture and planting cycles? Spring is a great time to examine the year just passed, to clean out the old, then re-evaluate, plan, and germinate the new.
1. Spring Cleaning
Last year I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I was utterly impressed that the author was able to turn her OCD into a business and a best selling book! Of her entire de-cluttering methodology, the part that stayed with me is keep only that which gives you joy. Decluttering is seriously underway in our house right now, using the “Joy Method”. When you clear out physical junk and mental clutter, you make room for new stuff and, more importantly, new ideas and new experiences.
2. Resist, Remove, Replace
Spring Cleaning also extends to your inner world. Your thought patterns directly impact how you feel. In my self-evaluation, I realize I have a lot of thoughts that come up out of fears based on past negative experiences. I feel anxious when these thoughts overtake me. I do not feel joy or a sense of peaceful well being. When it comes to my thoughts, I have a choice. I can keep on in the same fear pattern and expect the same result. Or I can Recognize it, Resist it and Replace it.
To do this, I Recognize my feelings and the thoughts that led to them. I give it a rest and Resist, shut down that negativity. And then its Replace time. I use a variation of Byron Katie’s questions to help me shift perspective. About the fearful thoughts, I ask myself:
3. Set Goals and Intentions for the Year
Okay, so now you’ve cleaned out your junk in your space and in your spirit. It's time to germinate the new, some new ideas, new plans. My life partner Thom and I do this individually first and then as a team. We look at what went right and spend some time being seriously grateful and celebrating! Then we look at what was lousy and problem solve. We try to look at our lives holistically, at all the areas we need to pay attention to in order to experience a healthy, balanced, joyful life.
Then we make a dream board, a way to put on paper our intentions for the year. There are many ways to do this. You can photoshop collage it, scrapbook it, cut out images from magazines, create Pinterest boards or (what we do) just write it out on a large sheet of paper, flow chart style. Our map hangs on the wall the fridge, serving as reminder, inspiration and compass for the year. We consciously shape our decisions and choices throughout the course of each year to make us more joyful, fulfilled and satisfied.
4. Plant a garden, Make Something
This is how I concretize my intentions to create. It helps me connect with the Creative Flow in the earth and within myself. Both can be meditative experiences that give space for that “aha” moment, or for the Muse to speak to or for the imagination to fly. I’ve had some of my best ideas in these moments.
So take some time this spring to celebrate the new life that surrounds you in nature, and to celebrate the wonder that is YOU. Dream your dream and take steps to germinate it into being. Life is a work in progress. It’s not about perfection; it’s about finding joyful balance.