The Annual Ritual
Each year we engage in the time-honored tradition of spring cleaning. For generations the annual ritual has served as an opportunity to start the year anew, with fresh linens, laundered draperies, and a deep cleaning of the hard to reach nooks and crannies of the home. And folks have long told of its health benefits, both mental and physical, which got me to thinking, “What if we spent as much time and care on our own health and wellness as we do on keeping our home tidy? Is it time to clean beyond the house?”
Beyond the House
Once I realized the benefits of deep cleaning the house, I started to take inventory of my world and all that influenced it. I asked, “Are the people that I am surrounding myself with a positive influence? Are the activities I am investing my time in equally rewarding?” I systematically began to re-evaluate my environment and take stock of what made me happy and what I could change.
The first step, evaluating my relationships. After moving to the ‘burbs, we met a lot of new people and sadly lost touch with a few old friends due to distance and the time commitments of work and having children. It was time to ask myself whether my inner circle was positive, supportive, and encouraging. Turns out, I had unwittingly embraced a couple of emotional vampires and that some of my old friendships had become one-sided. In each of these cases, I was the one doing all of the calling and texting, the listening and the reassuring. I read one of those fake Buddha quotes once, but it resonated, “In the end only three things matter: How deeply you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.” And it was time to let these folks go.
But what about the great friends? The ones that call, ask how you are doing, and cheer you on when the going gets tough? Well, thankfully they are still around. I am more mindful of nurturing those relationships, and I have been fortunate enough to meet more wonderfully supportive friends. After all, it is the real Buddha which says, “Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.”
The next step was to examine the activities in which I was investing my time. Is my job fulfilling? Am I satisfied with the organizations where I am donating my time? Are my hobbies serving to better my mindset and improve my overall well-being? Luckily, I have a pretty cool job, but the organizations where I volunteered required consideration. And those hobbies? They had been non-existent for a while.
I stepped away from the organizations that were not mutually beneficial. And surprisingly, I found myself raising my hand to volunteer with a pretty rad group of ladies on the local PTA board. With the extra time I have, I have delved back into my creative side.
For years, folks have been raving about the health benefits of spring cleaning. Turns out, the same rings true for cleaning out the cobwebs of your life. For starters, I feel so much less stress and so much more joy. I feel fulfilled.
And when you feel better, you naturally have more pep in your step. I have more energy and I am more productive. I make better choices with my eating habits, and I sleep better since less is weighing on my mind. Most importantly, I have more patience for my two beautiful little cherubs.
So the next time you are feeling down or maybe even downright ill due to a negative energy in your life, consider this: Maybe it’s time to take the spring cleaning beyond the house. Jay Shetty is a former monk turned motivational speaker and he asks how you would spend $86,400 each day. The fact is, you have 86,400 seconds each day of your life. How do you want to spend it? Maybe, just maybe, its time to get out the broom.