Day 2783 – Day 2801
Today is Easter or Resurrection Sunday in the Christian faith, following the feast of Passover. I was raised a Catholic and so not going to church on Easter Sunday is considered a mortal sin, but I prefer to just keep the Sabbath in my own way and to keep it holy. A walk in the forest is a great way to celebrate the resurrection, in my opinion.
I suspect that the Roman church designated the death and resurrection of Christ to coincide with Springtime (and the birth of Christ to coincide with the winter solstice) as a way to bring in more pagans to the faith. All you need to do is look around and see that all things are being resurrected in Spring. The trees bud and begin to blossom, the daffodils and crocuses and tulips begin to blossom and the weather returns the longer days of sun into our lives. I struggle with this natural rhythm because my mother was dying in springtime and looking back, so was my sister. Spring always seems a little bit melancholy to me.
I’ve been spending some time this weekend tearing my house apart and sorting out what I want to keep and what I want to give away. I’ve been going through my pantry looking for items to give to the Foodbank (people need help now more than ever, and I see that donations are way down as we all feel the pinch of inflation). I think this ritual has something to do with “lightening up” as the days grow longer, or there wouldn’t be this universal phenomenon of Spring cleaning. In the Christian tradition, this really is the start of the new year and so – as in all faith traditions – we clean to make way for a fresh start.
I think I have a long way to go before I can claim that. After two years of working from home without a filing cabinet and six years of living in the same place with mountains of things that belonged to my mother (and were “gifted” (read: unloaded) to me by my father upon my return to Canada), I feel the weight of too much stuff. I took a load of goods to the charity shop yesterday and was surprised at how much more there already is, waiting to be taken over. Two years of pandemic pantry stuffing means we are all overflowing with stuff.
When I moved back to Canada I remember my sister saying that I would feel better once I was in a place where I could be surrounded by all my stuff. I guess that’s the thing about family – sometimes they know you the least of anyone. I had spent years and years in New York and London living in rented accommodation that was tiny and what you might term “service.” The amount of stuff I had was minimal. Granted, I had a storage locker in both countries but I’ve always found that the less I have, the better. I feel much more free, the less I have.
I am grateful for all that I have – whether they are things, ideas that have served a purpose in my life (even if that is no longer needed), and relationships that have been a joy or, in sorrow, have been a lesson. I hope to release them all with gratitude for how they have served me.
I hope that over the next few weeks or even months, that I will be able to cull at least half of what I own. I probably won’t cull my crock pot or my dehydrator or my painting easel but I am beginning to feel a bit of distress over creating artworks that mostly end up needing to be stored. I want to walk softly on this earth and mounds of artwork in a closet is not aligned with that value.
Whenever we shed, whether it is weight or possessions or relationships, there are emotions that go along with the process. Yesterday I struggled to give away a favourite teddy bear even though it was just sitting in a cupboard. It is in good shape and I hope that some mother who struggles with money or who values items of a second life will be able to give it to be loved by a child. It wasn’t serving the purpose of “Christmas Bear” to sit in the closet, even though I did have lovely memories attached to the toy.
As I’m going through my things now, I am asking myself whether holding on to this item is really filling a good purpose in my life. Marie Kondo would ask if it sparks joy. Christmas Bear sparked joy but the purpose of a toy itself must be considered, and it wasn’t fair to Christmas Bear to hold on to it. Holding on was also filling space in my life and weighing me down. As we open up more space, we can feel anxious. We might be inclined to rush to fill the space with more stuff or more relationships that may not be a good fit and only serve to bury us. I know that this will be a struggle ahead and so I have made a low spend pledge to myself and a caution pledge on new relationships.
I’m digging out corners of my closets that have not been touched in 6 years, and digging myself out of a life that seems to have stopped serving me well. Right now, my home is in worse shape than when I started. Everything is out on the counters and floors so that I can assess and make choices. With the stuff are memories, hopes, dreams and distractions and many of them need to be released. I hope that I can move quickly through this part of my life and rise up from the ashes of all that burdens me.
A new year is a great time for a fresh start and I hope that if you are drawn to spring cleaning that you can rid yourself of outworn ideas, fears, relationships and things so that you can be more aligned with your true purpose here on earth. I hope that this is a time of resurrection for you, as much as it feels like it is beginning to be, for me.
For what are you most grateful, today?