"When your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state." - Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
For many of us, spring cleaning typically brings to mind images of clearing out the overabundance of clutter in our garage, attic, home, or office, and perhaps even painting or rearranging our living spaces to give us a new sense of freedom, openness, and expanse in our immediate environment. Yet, rarely do we consider purging the clutter of our mind a necessary step in our annual spring purification processes.
Marie Kondo, in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, suggests an efficient process by which we can select the things we want to keep. She has her readers filter their criterion through the simple question, “Does it spark joy?” While Kondo’s book is primarily focused on how to tidy up one’s physical environment, her guidance can be metaphorically superimposed over the concept of clearing out mind clutter as well.
Marie writes, “There are several common patterns when it comes to discarding. One is to discard things when they cease being functional—for example, when something breaks down beyond repair or when part of a set is broken. Another is to discard things that are out of date, such as clothes that are no longer in fashion or things related to an event that has passed. It’s easy to get rid of things when there is an obvious reason for doing so.” Marie invites people to ask themselves, “Does this item spark joy?”
We’ve all heard that if our environment is a mess, so is our mind and vice versa. A home or office that is overwrought with clutter will likely have a similar effect on our mind, which will take on characteristics of being overburdened. Likewise, when our minds are overrun by thoughts, ideas, deadlines, and to-do’s, our environment will usually be a mirror image of what’s going on inside our internal world. Taking the time to clear out the old thoughts and ideas from our mind is an essential ingredient to keeping our head on straight and focused on things that are new, fresh, inspiring, and purposeful.
In nature, spring represents the cycle of birth with the thawing of ice and budding of new flowers. It's the beginning stages of nature waking up after a long, deep rest and stretching her arms to greet a new season. So too, can we explore the metaphor of 'waking up' in the springtime after having retreated inward for the past several months to rest and recharge. What thoughts or ideas in our mind are ready to be pruned and what fresh, new ones are waiting to be birthed?
Meditation for Spring Cleaning the Mind
- Sit comfortably in an upright position, either in a chair with your legs uncrossed and your feet flat on the ground, or in Sukanasa on a cushion.
- Close your eyes and begin to take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Next, bring to mind any thoughts, ideas, or beliefs that have become stagnant, non-serving, or irrelevant.
- One by one, or all at once, see if you can connect to what their original purpose was. Do they have a reason for still existing? Is there something further to explore or is the energy ready to be dissolved and returned to its purest form?
- When you come to the realization that it's time to let go of mind clutter—much in the same way you would give away an old jacket that you never wear anymore—thank it for having served its purpose and take in any learning or wisdom it has to impart.
- Next, imagine seeing it dissolve like a morning layer of fog as the sun shines through, or visualize erasing it from a chalkboard to reveal a fresh, clean slate.
- Once you've cleared away that which no longer needs to occupy your mind, spend some time connecting to the open space you have created in your internal world. The space that you've cultivated doesn't mean the mind is now empty. Rather, see it as being filled with the element of space, which represents pure potentiality.
- Next, invite in a new thought or belief in the form of an intention for something you would like to manifest in the coming days, weeks, or months. Perhaps there is an old idea that you want to take off the shelf, dust off a bit, and revisit—maybe it's finally writing that book or starting the project that's been in the back of your mind for years.
- Bring your new intention to the forefront of your mind and imagine planting it like a seed in the fertile soil of your soul and then ask the Universe to orchestrate the mechanics for its fulfillment on your behalf.
- Then, let go of the intention—trusting that the Universe will work out the details—and take a few slow, deep breaths before opening your eyes.
Any way you look at it, spring cleaning is a great time to clear out anything that is no longer serving you so you can make way for new ideas, perspectives, intentions, and desires.