I think of spring cleaning as this big once a year chore that has to happen so I don’t feel like my house or belongings or body is stuck in a rut. Yet any kind of cleaning I have done happened organically (spilling something this morning and finding old stains on the kitchen cabinet doors and consequently spending 30 minutes wiping down all kitchen cabinetry and drawers because once I start I can’t stop). But while I was scrubbing away grease and who knows what other kitchen mystery dinner leftovers it hit me: I do really well with this kinda stuff in small doses.
I read the Marie Kondo book on tidying up last year sometime in the fall. I cleaned out my closets, severely reduced the number of garments I own and the number of shoes I wear. Since then I have gotten rid of several other pieces of clothing that I realized I have not worn in the 6 months since I lied to myself that they brought me joy. Whatever… not going to get hung up on it. In any case, linen closets, small spaces, kitchen utensils, lots and lots of things came under my “does it bring me joy?” scrutiny and I have to say, in small doses I have been able to see and confront how little I need to be happy. Rarely anything I purchase now is to decorate or to be a “thing” in my house. Rather everything has a place, a purpose, and if something new comes in, it invariably replaces and old broken thing, not adding to a collection.
It feels liberating. I get emotionally attached to all kinds of crap. Often a thing someone says in passing. What did they mean, what was I supposed to think, the feelings I felt when it was said, and then inevitably the myriad of responses I did not think of at the moment. I get attached to the shirt I wore at this one concert, or a thing my sister made me 15 years ago.
Last week I went running for the first time in over a year. Short few miles, turtle pace, but I did it. Went right after work with a friend, nothing serious, not training for a fucking marathon. For the joy of being outside, getting active, breathing. Later I pondered the success of not stopping and actually enjoy the quick run with my friend, and I realized it was because I attached no outcome to the activity. I almost never do that.
You would think I have this shit down or have better answers because of teaching yoga… but you would be wrong. I fight every day to not overthink things which in turn makes me overthink things. I have slowly realized that spring cleaning for me has to happen in small doses. Little changes, few mile runs, one kitchen cabinet at a time. Not trying to solve everything at once, not having all the answers. It’s fucking hard. I want change, but I know I hate it when it happens all at once. So I’m just going to let the runs be what they are, stick to this CCF Ayurveda tea that I have been super loving (though stopping the rest of the cleanse) or who knows, maybe I won’t do any of it at all and find something else that brings me joy.