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TideWriters Tales


Celebrating the Past, Present & Future

Spring Cleaning is good for the soul
By RuthE Forest

    Ahhhhh the oniony smell of new mown grass, cold mud underneath my fingernails, the ache in my back and knees—it must be spring! Time to perform a much-honored ritual that has been handed down for generations known as Spring Cleaning.

    I prepare the gardens for new plantings, ready the barbeque grill for spectacular culinary feasts, pack away the heavy winter clothing, and hold my breath in hopes that last years’ lightweight clothing still fits. I scrub floors, and wash everything in sight including the windows.

    I do all of these things so that I can appreciate the bounty of life’s offerings during the growing season. I do them to ensure good health, and happiness. I know that I won’t want to do anything at all but veg-out in a shady spot and enjoy a tall sip of something cool when the August heat is sweltering. For a few weeks in April I am willing to put all of my energy into making my environment the best it can become. I know that the outcome is worth all of the effort.

    While going about my time-honored ritual this spring I have an epiphany. A light bulb in my brain switches on. I realize that what really needs to be cleaned out isn’t what I spy with my two eyes. What really needs some work is my internal file cabinet—the moldy gray matter file between my ears. When was the last time I swabbed that clutter?

    I begin by paying attention to those things I tell myself repeatedly. I believe that every cell in my body hears every thought generated by my mind. This makes rational sense because every cell is plugged into the same processing unit—my brain. So I start to listen to the thoughts that get recycled throughout the day. Repetition is a form of programming, and it is possible to interrupt the cycle. Regularly scheduled negative programming can be positively reprogrammed.

    This is not easy, just like pulling Virginia greenbrier it requires repeated attempts. Roots of certain thoughts can go as deep as the nastiest of weeds. Just when you think you’ve eradicated all of them they show up in another spot (thought).

    Sometimes it’s not what you take out, but what you put in that makes the difference. You may need a good soil amendment to grow healthy plants. I reprogram my tangled thoughts by asking a few simple questions. Who says? And so what? This is a good place to start, and I soon realize that with a bit of effort I can get really clean results.

    For example, I found phrases in my thought vocabulary such as: “I was never good at ___,” or “I can’t possibly do ____”, or “I should’ve ___.” The effect of these phrases is to make me feel bad about myself in some manner. They accomplish this in two different ways—by attacking my sense of freedom, or by sabotaging my attempts at creating joy.

    When one of these thoughts come around I stop myself in mid-thought and ask myself “WHO SAID?”

    I see that often the person who originally convinced me of the idea held a misconception that I agreed with at the time. But now, often years later, I have more information, and the facts are actually much different. I had not done the work of clearing out the old misconception, so I continued to program myself with a negative idea.

    Old concepts can strangle self-esteem like old vine weeds can pull down a strong pine tree. They do it with the same energy zapping process—a little at a time, day after day, an inch or two more. Soon you are sick and tired of fighting for yourself. It’s easier to just lean over and rest, or worse—accept defeat.

    Once I acknowledge that the thought is no longer valid, for whatever reason, I then state “SO WHAT?” So what would happen if I surrender that thought about myself? So what if others feel that way about me? So what if I no longer allow myself to believe this concept? So what if I do it differently this time? Then I might be free and joyous! Then I might be able to try something new! Then I might even have the courage to admit that I could be wrong. It is like having a nice clean bed of dirt just waiting to be planted with flowers of a different color.
After going through this positive self-talk process I am more patient with myself. I appreciate others around me more. I cultivate an attitude of gratitude for everything in my daily experience, and even for my own indomitable nature.
After I clean out my internal file cabinet I begin to clean out my body too. Effortlessly I accomplish drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day. I begin to take leisurely walks in the evening and behold! My summer clothing fits! I roll those (pinched) pennies and invest them in me. I schedule a great full body massage, and purchase new organic cosmetics that put fewer toxins onto my skin. I begin reading the labels on everything that comes into my house—but that’s another story for another time.

    Try this internal house cleaning. Even if it causes some aches and pains now, you’ll be happier in the long run. Be careful not to “should” on yourself, and be gentle with your feelings during the process. Refrain from placing blame, or digging up old hurts to justify your past actions. This is an opportunity to be a creative observer of your experience. Notice what comes up repeatedly for you. Ask yourself if this belief still holds true for you, or is it just an old way of looking at life that is no longer valuable to your current self. Have a hearty talk with yourself in the mirror. Say things to you that you would tell your most cherished friend.

    I know that change can be difficult, especially when we attempt to see ourselves from another viewpoint. I liken this process to those old LP records—you may be able to jump easily to the next song, but rarely will you be able to skip to the end of the record. A bit of positive change can be very freeing though! I am looking forward to what pops up when I clean out my gray matter file again this autumn…

Contact RuthE Forrest NCMT by calling Spa 2 U (804) 453-5367 or email Rspa2U@wmconnect.com


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