Spring has sprung with bursts of new growth, colour and energy. This is a time when the sun is above us and the length of night and day is almost equal (vernal equinox). The long winter shadows of this year’s lockdown are shifting, and the sun is rising earlier. There is a slow awakening from the winter slumber.
Many of us have associated spring cleaning with this time of year. I am not usually a spring cleaner. However, during this lockdown winter, I have noticed the clutter and stuff that needs to be sorted. Spring cleaning became a tradition after winter to clear the dust from fires and oil lamps which were used for heating and lighting. Spring welcomed warmer weather so doors and windows could be opened for the removal of ash and dust. This coincided in the northern hemisphere with some religious celebrations that included Passover and Easter.
Spring cleaning is a time for getting rid of gathered clutter, dirt and mess. For me, this is a slow and tedious process, like any chore, yet I am always glad to live with some order and neatness after the effort of tidying. I have been thinking about what clutter needs sorting and moving out. My cupboard has some old, neglected and frayed clothes. I have even have a pair of old school socks! A spring-cleaned cupboard could make space for some new clothes. Yet some possessions are hard to get rid of. It is easy to get attached to favourite clothes and possessions as they remind me of places and people.
I have also been wondering about the clutter that we store up in our hearts and minds. I have some dusty memories of my military green school uniform with tie, white panama hat and school panties. I am wondering whether we all tend towards hoarding our past stories, grudges against others, hurts, joys, achievements, disappointments and failures. I am also wondering how keeping our stories and inner stuff clutters our internal home while letting go may open room for new beginnings. It seems there may be a need for a seasonal chore of letting go to make space for the new. This could be a lesson from nature waiting for us, like a patient winter.
It is not just our inner and outer storage spaces that gather up stuff. Our communities are gathering up loads of plastic that are choking the environment. Our behaviour towards our natural world is having an effect. What would it mean if we each had to do a little bit of community spring cleaning, if we each picked up a piece of rubbish or even better did not throw our litter on the streets? There are some wonderful examples not only of spring cleaning our communities but also of giving to our environment. My neighbour is a good example; with her team, she has already planted over 150 trees in one small area and has plans for more. There are already more birds and insects around the trees within the short period of time since the first planting.
Here are some tips for spring cleaning:
Let us make space for the joy of spring and new life.
Let us make space for life-giving moments.