Spring Cleaning

A dear friend recently lost his father. We helped them sort through his stuff, taking what we wanted, throwing away what WE didn’t think was useful or needed. And it got me thinking.. while it may not be useful to us, what if it meant something to him? With so much “stuff” how would we even know?
The thought of someone sorting through my things, tossing out that note my daughter wrote me the first time we had a fight, or the movie ticket from the first date with my husband, literally, brought me to tears! To anyone else, it may look like a piece of scrap paper – but to me, they were priceless!
Yes, yes, they don’t do me much good when I’m dead.. but that’s not the point here.. my point is that I need to get rid of everything that isn’t important so that if the need should arise when people are sifting through MY things, they will at least be able to distinguish between what’s important and what isn’t. With an already hectic life; why add to it by not being able to find what you need, when you need it? Right?
Initially, my plan was to go into every room, every cabinet, every drawer, every closet.. clear out my voicemail, my contacts, my friends list.. rid myself of anything and everything that brings me even the slightest amount of stress or annoyance. Then I came across one of those OM 28 Day Courses, Clear Your Home, Clear Your Life  and for a mere $10 they can TEACH me to do this, step by step, one day at a time…
So I figured I’d give it a try… I spend more than that rebuying batteries because I can’t find the 14 packages I know I already have…
So let’s get started:

Day 1:

Today was an INTRODUCTION DAY – and, it appears, this course is slightly more involved than I thought. It’s far more than taking a drawer or a cabinet a day. There is journaling involved and questions to contemplate. Aside from a few general questions I am supposed to journal about I was instructed to buy a brand new one. And it is only to be used for this purpose. I don’t know what it is about me and new journals but there is nothing I love more than buying a new one. So I will get on that right away…
Obviously, I can’t give you the details of the course but I can tell you that it appears to be WAY more than I thought. Aside from cleaning out your physical space, I will be tasked to clear out my emotional space, too. Shit – I better get bigger bags.

Day 2:

Sucked… I learned nothing.. other than the fact I cannot close my eyes and breathe. (ok, maybe I did learn SOMETHING – but it’s not what I had in mind).

Looks like learning to meditate might not be in the cards for me…

Hopefully, Day 3 will be somewhat better – because right now I WANT A REFUND!

Day 3:

Slightly better – at least I have an actual task – even if it’s just to ask myself a few questions which I ended up addressing right away ..

Little example here:

  • Is there something in your purse or wallet that doesn’t need to be there? I’m sure there is – let me clean it out. 
  • Is there something in the back seat or trunk of your car that’s been there longer than a week (that doesn’t need to be there)? Yup. along with dry cleaning I’ve been carrying around with me for weeks 
  • Is there something in your closet that you haven’t worn in over a year? Tons, Poshmark, here I come! 
  • Is your sock drawer a jumble of pair-less orphans? Yup.
  • Do you have stuff in the fridge or freezer that is over six months old? Probably
  • Is there something on the refrigerator door that is expired? About 8 bottles of mustard…
  • Are you feeling pissed-off at a family member, partner, or roommate for not doing their part to keep things clean and tidy? That’s a post of its own… 
  • Is there something you’re doing right now that can wait? Probably this – I have a car to clean out and clothes to take to the cleaners.
  • Are you feeling any twinges (even a hint) of overwhelm or anxiety as you scroll down this list? YES – ANXIETY IS IN FULL FORCE
  • Are your buttons getting pressed by these questions? Saving this for the journal entry. 

Day 4 & 5:

Pretty much the same thing – talking about feelings and stuff.

Not gonna lie; this course has kinda sucked so far.

Day 6:

Look around your office or home and move ONE THING that is out of place back to where it belongs.. we are FINALLY getting somewhere.

Day 7:

Put something in its PLACE.

“Place” — as in to. . .

  • Lay grocery bags in the trunk of your car in such a way that they don’t fall over and smash the eggs.
  • Take a few extra seconds to put the food in the refrigerator so you can see and find everything later.
  • Space the dishes in the dishwasher so that they wash and dry evenly.
  • Match shoes with mates.
  • Sort the mail into piles as soon it comes in the door: letters, bills, magazines, catalogs, recycling.
  • Park the car so that it’s easy to get in and out of and less likely to be rammed into by a bigger car.
  • Prominently display a gorgeous bouquet of flowers where you can see them every time you walk by.
  • Move the chairs back under the table when not in use

Day 8:

Meditation lesson about “enough” – how about enough of this bullshit! Get me cleaning! 

Day 9:

Sweep: sweep one part of your house or office – well enough to make a real visual difference. Now this I can work with. 

Day 10:

Take sixty seconds and clean something, anything….. ready, set go!  

Day 11:

Sort. Take all the crap from one room and pile it on a table. Separate into 4 piles: Stay, Go, Throw, Don’t Know.

Take one room; every day.. till you’re done. So I guess I’ll see you in a few months.

Day 12:

Still working on the last lesson – this one is gonna take a while..

Delete. “Email… I ignore much of it, not because it isn’t important, but because my first commitment is to life — to nature, to health, to relationships, to joy.   Most email can wait, but life has an expiration date.”­- I saw this quote and I LOVED it.. it just may be my new favorite..  back to the lesson…

Sort all of the email, put them in folders, set rules, schedule email time. The end… If only it were that easy.. 

Day 13:

Accept. More meditation. What part of “I can’t close my eyes” do you not understand?

Day 14:

Like Nike: Just do it. Do it imperfectly and keep doing it. Till it’s perfect. No matter how long it takes. Do it like your soul depends on it. And if you don’t know what “It” is; do anything and everything until it finds you. I love this so so much! 

Day 15:

Learn to say “no” – gracefully… as if I don’t try to do that every single day.. when did I become such a pushover???? 

Day 16:

Make a mistake and don’t fix it. – yeah, daily occurrence for me.. and just when I thought this couldn’t get any more stupid.

Day 17:

Allow the mystery. Accept not knowing – I accepted this a long time ago.. I seriously want a refund. 

Day 18:

Shift happens. Sometime today when you feel any kind of nudgy feeling of frustration or even despair, take a step back. Pause. Breathe.

Give the situation some space to play itself out. Allow your feelings (of anxiety, worry, despair, sadness) to arise. Allow the discomfort to sit with you, like a compassionate friend, until something shifts.

Then wait and watch what happens.

Isn’t this what I was supposed to AVOID… (sigh) I hate this. 

Day 19:

Do Nothing and see what it feels like…. it feels like I’m being jipped, that’s what it feels like. 

Day 20:

Lean in and embrace your pain. The only thing causing me pain is all the crap I have around my house I THOUGHT I was going to learn to manage. This sucks.

Day 21:

Be still – more freaking meditation.

Day 22:

Opt Out – ok, this I MIGHT be able to do. They provided a few examples on how to accomplish this. And because i’m so pissed off at how crappy this class is; i’m going to share them all here:

  • Decline graciously with “Thanks for asking, I’m sorry it’s not going to work for me this time.”
  • Put a message on your voicemail letting callers know that it may take a few days to return their call. Who in the hell still leaves vmail? Send me a text!
  • Put an auto-responder message on your email service saying that you will not be replying to any emails for a while. If their email is important, ask them to resend it after a certain date. You are obviously not in sales but might work for personal email. 
  • Unsubscribe to email lists that no longer serve and support you. This one I should def do – I get so much crap I no longer know what’s valid and what’s not. 
  • Unsubscribe to a magazine that you never read. Uh no, I read them all – yes, in paper format. 

Day 23:

Rest – seriously?

Take one minute and just sink into deep relaxation. Here’s how:

  • Find a comfy place to sit.
  • Wrap yourself in yummy “blankey.” (It’s good to have one handy, even at the office. I have super-soft oversized shawl that I love to drape around me that goes with me everywhere.)
  • Put your feet up if you can. Wiggle into your seat and feel yourself settling into the most perfect support.
  • Once settled, close your eyes.
  • Take a nice easy breath in, and a slow emptying breath out.
  • Breathe in the words “I choose ease”; breathe out “I release.”
  • Stay in as long as you can.
  • Notice how it feels afterward. It feels like I’ve been duped, that’s how it feels. 

Day 24:

Let it all go – um, can you be a little bit more specific?

Day 25:

Bless My Home – ok, I kinda like this one.. 

House Blessing

By Stephanie Bennett Vogt

Dear home,

Thank you for being.

Thank you for being a sanctuary for all who have lived here before, reside here now, and will make their home here afterward.

Thank you for being a place of laughter, discovery, and spacious magic.

Thank you for holding a space for us to heal quickly when we are out of balance.

Thank you for holding a space for us to breathe again when we shut down and feel afraid.

Thank you for holding a space for us to rest, renew, and remember who we truly are.

Thank you for teaching us what it means to be truly unconditional and present.

And so it is.

And so it shall be.”

Day 26:

Release – release what? Why are you teaching me how to sit? You need to teach me how long I need to keep the crap I have in my drawers and what to do with what I need to keep… that’s what you need to be teaching me – I already know how to sit!

Day 27:

Prioritize – ok, this one is kinda deep. Basically, you are given a list of the top things people on their death bed regret..

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.  yeah, totes agree… 
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. I wish I didn’t HAVE to. 
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. this hasnt really been an issue – I need more practice on keeping my mouth SHUT instead.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. Oh, but I do! Have you ever heard of facebook?
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.. kinda vague, don’t ya think. 

But here is where the good part comes in (finally). Sit down for 60 seconds and, without thinking about logistics make a list of things you want to do, see, hear and/or feel before you go… Ready, Set, Go!

Day 28:

“Today marks the end of this 28-day program. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a dip in these rich waters of your Spacious Self.” – uh, how about NO. This was one of the dumbest things I ever did and I totally want my money back. STAR RATING:1

But OK, I get it – declutter everything. Not just the kitchen drawers or your closet or that hall storage that could probably serve as an emergency shelter IF you could actually step into it… That part makes sense.. the rest, not so much. Or who knows, maybe it was JUST ME who didn’t get it… either way, I will continue to do each and every one of these things (sorta – in my own way .. and no, I will not write about it.

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