Spring Cleaning

I’ve been missing in action. For me, it’s been a difficult time – but as usual, there is always some amusement to be had from difficult periods in our lives. My last blog post was very significant to my absence thereafter – which is rather funny (both funny ha ha, and funny weird) because I didn’t plan it that way at all.
Another thing that I found rather amusing is the fact that I have been ‘M.I.A’ for the entire season of Winter here where I live.
So perhaps this was made for me…….
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The only problem is that I haven’t been asleep the entire time…..although then again, maybe I have. Sleep is more than just eyes closed and snoring….it sometimes applies to a dormant soul and a closed heart – just some food for thought.

I have been Spring Cleaning, in more ways than one. The origin of the term ‘Spring Cleaning’ lies in Jewish tradition and was originally a custom preceding the Passover Holiday.
I also really enjoyed reading this blog post on the history and importance of Spring Cleaning.

I live in a country where central heating and cooling is  VERY scarce – although if you visit and stay at a Bed and Breakfast/Lodge/Hotel, you’ll be fortunate enough to be spared the experience of a cold interior, or humid nights sleep.
That said, I still have a well-aired home, which is kept pretty much dust free (only pretty much because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just an impossibility).

But we all have that surface (or surfaces) where everything just seems to get dumped. It lies there, craving attention. And every now and then we touch the items, and reshuffle them so that they appear different. But they’re still the same. And still in the same place. Still craving attention, needing to be dealt with, needing to be packed away where they belong – which is, in most cases, actually the trash.

We also all have those cupboards where things are ‘put away’ to be used at a later stage (or never) and eventually the cupboards grow to a stage of overflowing, and suddenly you  can no longer find what you’re actually looking for….but you know it’s in there somewhere. (I knew I had a brand new linen set for a boys bed that I wanted to donate to someone – my linen closet appeared to have swallowed it, however.)

My house reached a stage where I could no longer ‘cope with the clutter’. Two things inspired the deep clean that took place :

I urgently needed a school document, that I knew I had kept for later reading, and was somewhere in among the pile of papers at one of my dumpsites.
And then there was the appeal for bedding for a new children’s home that was being opened.

It took me way too long to find the items I needed, and I yelled out to my dog (since he’s the only one who really listens to what I say) that ‘Enough is enough’.
And the process began.
I thought I would hate it. I prepared myself to dislike every minute of it, and made sure there were adequate treats for both me and my dog for ‘break times’ – which I planned on having quite regularly….I’d worry about the scale and extra weight at a later stage.

There were some tears – tears of sadness, and tears of laughter and joy – as I unearthed various treasures and memories that had been packed away. I found the baby quilt I had made more than twenty years ago; I found an unopened box of tissues (which helped with the tears); I found craft supplies I had forgotten about. I found the pamphlet from the memorial service of a really good friend, and I found my late Granny’s book of poems that she had published. I even found the missing two chocolate Easter eggs that I had hidden from the kids, and couldn’t find when I wanted to prepare for their Easter egg hunt. (Yes, my son is eighteen. Yes, he still expects an Easter egg hunt.) They were not expired, and my children were excited when they returned home from school and found them on their pillows later that day.

There were moments of sheer exhaustion – where did all that paperwork come from and why the heck had I not filed it yet? And moments of great discovery. Where on earth did I get this extra box of cutlery from? Oh goodness, I didn’t even know that I owned a tea cozy, let alone a ‘cake serving set’.

It was a process. I have children, and work that needs to be done. So it took time. So what?
At the end of it all, I looked around and felt extremely satisfied as I emptied two waste paper baskets of used tissues into one of the many black bags that needed to be disposed of. Not only were all the dumpsite surfaces clear, but all inside places not visible to the naked eye were also rather organised. And since copious amounts of coffee had been consumed during the process, I made a pot of tea to celebrate and used my ‘new’ tea cozy!

Of course you know where I am going with all this now, right?
Yes. I needed to work on the clutter in my heart and my mind.
My ‘surface’ was not cluttered. In fact, it appeared so strong that my ‘ship‘ would not have even got lost in the Bermuda Triangle.
BUT….
if you looked inside, the chaos would be evident. I had a slow leak, and sooner or later it would sink me. I opted for not sinking. I began using buckets to empty those waters of turmoil.

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Inside, for some strange reason, I had become focused on negativity, and hurt, and anger. And I didn’t even realize it. A few situations revealed to me that the heart of the problem was definitely a problem with my heart. And that my mind had become so cluttered with the things that I THOUGHT were important, and yet they had no relevance to the ‘big picture’.
I took a step back and began searching, and emptying the boxes that I had sealed in the corners of my mind, and the walls of my heart. Sometimes it made me sad, and sometimes it made me laugh. Sometimes I was just plain exhausted and felt I could sleep forever.
But I have discovered some new things too – and I am as excited as a kid finding an Easter egg on their pillow four months after Easter has passed.

I’m still learning. It’s a process. But what an education! I’m happy on the outside AND on the inside….even when circumstances are not what they should be. Best of all? I am positively influencing others – and I cannot even begin to express the warmth I feel inside.
I am slowly making my way to a success that lasts!

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4 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning

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