Spring cleaning

Joey Garcia

Spring cleaning means more than washing grime from windows, shaking dust from rugs and tossing personal items too worn to give away. It’s also a sweet time to clear emotional debris from broken relationships. If you’re ready to Marie Kondo your heart, read on.

Escort skeletons from closets: We all have memories of things we wish we hadn’t said or done. Or that we wish hadn’t been said or done to us. Facing the skeletons in our closets may feel unbearable, but hiding the stories attached to our shame or embarrassment is worse. If you can’t face the past alone, pay a professional to guide you through the journey and into greater freedom. Once you let go, you’ll wonder why you chose to live with shame (the fear of being a bad person) and embarrassment (the fear of doing bad things) for so long.

Schedule a personal inventory: Every 12-step program advocates doing a personal inventory. It’s an honest assessment of shortcomings and character strengths that led us to where we are. An inventory is also an opportunity to reset the stars we use to steer our lives so that we become who we say we want to be. You don’t have to be in a 12-step program to benefit from reflecting on your personality and reshaping it to become more of who you yearn to be. Sit down with a journal and ask yourself what one area of your life you want to change. Note any feedback you have received from people you trust. For example, if you want closer relationships and friends tell you that you shut down a lot, be honest with yourself about that. Notice when it happens and consciously decide to push forward a tiny bit to be vulnerable and transparent. Take micro-steps, but encourage yourself consistently toward breaking through.

Toss break-up souvenirs: The coffee mug your ex-girlfriend left at your house? Give it to Goodwill. Still sleeping in your ex-boyfriend’s T-shirt? Dump it in the trash bin. You might think you have extricated the thing from the person who gave it to you, but your mind continues to link the two because that’s what minds do. Give away the mementos from past relationships and make space to be more present.

Review your relationship: What’s your love style? Do you give kindness, compliments or favors to get appreciation, compliments or favors? Transactional relationships do work, but lack the depth real love offers. People in love give for the joy of the experience while remaining thoughtfully aware of their sweetie’s personality and preferences. It’s not transactional. If you are, prune away those selfish tendencies and neediness. Slow down. Find pleasure in giving without expectation.

Prepare for new growth this spring by making conscious choices about what you want more of in your life. That way, you can rest in relationships that feed your soul, soften your ego and nourish your spirit.

Meditation of the week
“An open ear is the only believable sign of an open heart,” said Mennonite theologian David Augsburger. Who do you know that listens as an act of love?

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