This being the month when spring begins, a girl’s fancy turns naturally to spring cleaning (??!!). Well, sort of. Spring cleaning is an old ritual that grew out of the days when people were kept indoors for weeks on end due to raging prairie storms, cooking by smoky wood fires, the dust and dirt of the plains sifting in around the edges of windows and doors. When spring arrived, it was a relief to open everything up, give the place a good sweeping, and air out the last dregs of a long winter.
We honor this tradition this month with a new bookclub/class. Starting Thursday, March 10, 1 – 2 pm, and going for four weeks, we will be reading Peter Walsh’s “It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan For Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff.” (Available to order through our bookstore.) Peter Walsh has his own show on Oprah’s new network now, but many of us got to know him as her go-to guy on her show when it came to digging people out of horrendous amounts of clutter.
With Peter, it’s never a simple matter of organizing, buying bins, and throwing things away (as lovely as that is). He always looks at the spiritual malaise underlying the behavior that brings us to these states. What is it that causes us to keep all this stuff? Why are we unable to release anything, even when it clearly no longer serves any useful purpose, but actually hinders our ability to live the kind of life we really want?
He moves us beyond the clutter in our garages to the clutter in our minds and spirits. What are we holding onto in there? Too many grudges? Bitterness? Pain? False ideas about limitation or lack? Do we harbor fears of future needs or memories of regrets?
As Ernest Holmes has written, whatever is held in mind must eventually outpicture. All of these things we have been holding in mind have now outpictured as impossible environments. Peter has scary statistics about how much of our precious time (our very lives) we waste finding lost items, buying new things to replace the things we can’t find, the times we actually fall and are hurt by our own things! It’s important work to get done (and our bookclub will be a support group for doing it) but even more important than the physical weight is the metaphysical weight of holding on to all that negative waste.
This is a wonderful time of year to attend to both. We are told to “be ye therefore transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We’re all about transformation this year. Why not give yourself the utter joy of a transformed environment as well as a transformed consciousness? Since “the way you do one thing is the way you do everything,” we can accomplish both at once.
Spring cleaning is just a breath of fresh air away!
Rev. Mary Midkiff