SPRING CLEANING

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I called my older sister yesterday, and after a bit I asked what she was doing. Her response?

“I’m just cleaning out my closet.”

We talked for the next little while about the various things that she was finding and deciding the fate of. She mentioned how some things didn’t fit like they had before she’d had my nephew. She mentioned being tired of certain items that she had had for ten plus years.

Cleaning out her closet.

Last night, I returned home from a relatively busy day. It was a good day, nothing out of the ordinary, but I was feeling like I wanted to sit down and turn my brain off for a bit. However, an hour and a half later, I had the furniture scattered in every direction, bedding was confined to the innards of the washer, and I was spritzing surface cleaner all across the floor.

Cleaning.

There IS a rhythm to life, but it’s incredibly easy to forget that in our neck of the cultural/economic woods.

We have climate controlled houses.

We have graveyard shifts.

We have avocados available any time of the year.

I recently found myself irritated while visiting my hometown because there were NO gas stations open on MY side of town at 2 am.

Two…

……in the morning.

Inconceivable.*

BUT there IS rhythm, and I would argue that we are at our best when we recognize that and fight to build rhythm back into our lives.

Remarkably, the spring season has crept in again. In spite of pretty harrowing floods, road closures, and the potential collapse of the dam in Oroville, we made it.  I know that our Northern California forecast still has many a rainy day in it, but the WINTER rain is done. The very real seasonal depression is beginning to lift, and we can begin to…

…clean up the downed branches, open the windows, sit on our patios and porches, put away the cold weather clothes, begin to refresh our spaces, drive with the windows down, fix things that we neglected in the wet.

Cleaning.

Spring.

Making room for the epic things that are going burst forth when the sun hits them. Subconsciously, renewing our commitment to having only lively things in our worlds. Getting rid of dead weight. Clearing cobwebs, getting fresh air, getting clarity.

I wanted to give you four ideas that I’ve been feeling on an atomic level when it comes to spring cleaning. I hope that these help you to get creative in your own pursuits for spring or, even, just a nudge to quit hesitating on what you know you need to be doing.

  1. Assess your foundation. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking enough water? If your answer to one or both of these questions is no, then spring clean these FIRST. Do your best to turn the lights out earlier. The depth of your sleep will be affected if the nerves in your eyes are being stimulated by light. Put your phone away from your sleeping area or AT LEAST put it on do not disturb. If you have a reason that you can’t, that’s fine, but create times when you can. There are great alarm clocks available like the Sunrise Alarm Clock* to help with your sleep habits.  In addition to those, if you have trouble sleeping…you might not be drinking enough water. Knowing exactly how much water you should have regularly can involve some discovery though. Your best strategy is to discuss it with your doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer, or coach. However, a good starting point is to divide your bodyweight in half and then drink that many ounces. This amount can and should vary proportionally to how much you exercise, or whether you are taking certain supplements etc. You will want to avoid guzzling water with or immediately before/after meals – for the simple reason that you don’t want to dilute your stomach acid. A final tip for if you begin increasing your water intake – do so gradually. Beyond that, find a favorite water bottle and get started.
  2. Download “Unroll Me” * from the app store and take control of your inbox. You’ve probably been accumulating email subscriptions for years now, and have huge quantities of purposeless email stashed in your inboxes. Unroll me is an application that you can download on your mobile device or tablet that allows you to SWIFTLY manage that problem. Once you download the app and follow the initial setup instructions, it will present all of your subscriptions in a simple format. Then, you can decide to swipe left to unsubscribe or swipe right to continue your subscription. They will then send you a “roll-up” once a week that shows you your most recent/ newer subscriptions. My first go around with this app helped me to unsubscribe from around 120 email subscriptions. FREEEEEEDOMM!
  3. Declutter your environment. Envision taking everything out of the room you are currently in and then slowly bringing in only what you regularly used/needed over the next couple of months. What would make its way back in? What if you held each item in your hand and then asked yourself if it gave you joy or made your life more productive? What if you got rid of each item that didn’t? We have copious amounts of junk. Don’t argue with me; just declutter. Don’t just chuck it in the bin. Take the clutter to Recycle, Goodwill, or put it on Craigslist. Free yourself. Help others.
  4. START your day by acknowledging that your life is a GIFT. My friend, Megan, passed away one month ago after battling cancer for years. We studied together during the year that I lived in Australia. She was studying dance and actually invited me to dance in one of the pieces that she choreographed. She was gorgeous, laughed easily, and had an uncommon brilliance to her personality. I hadn’t been in touch with her in a long time, but that didn’t make her dying any less poignant.
    I’m not sure why I get the chance to be healthy and going on my 30th birthday, but I do. I wish that my beautiful friend did.
    YOUR life is a gift to you and the people around you. Don’t imagine otherwise.

I’ve included links below to aid your discovery. Enjoy cleaning!

Some of these ideas are mine and some of them I’ve gathered through Podcasts I’ve been listening to/things I’ve been reading. Feel free to check out the Robcast Podcast, Tim Ferriss Podcast, Art of Manliness Podcast or read up on Mr. MoneyMustache and BJ Miller of Zen Hospice Project.
*Princess Bride reference 🙂
* Sunrise Alarm Clock
*Unroll Me