The Cleaning

It’s that time of year again, the time of spring cleaning. Cleaning out the cobwebs of the past winter and making space for all of the wonderful that is coming. Today was vacuuming and mopping, dusting…leaving nothing but the gleam of clean behind.

There is something so magnificent about nesting, and making home, homey. It is a great feeling to walk in the house, and see, feel and smell the clean. I think it also makes us slow down a bit. We have to take time to do a good job and not miss any spots. And we might even have to put on some gloves and apply some elbow grease. But that’s OK, because cleaning is good for soul.

I say that because it is often rather cathartic to clean out the old, to make parts of our house and life, shine again, There is redemption in the cleansing. To make what is dingy shiny and desirable again. To polish it until a clear reflection can be seen. To start fresh.

And this seems to be the season for it. Indeed one of my best friends just moved into a new place, starting a new chapter after cleaning out the old husband who wasn’t really a husband at all. And she is happy in her new clean place, with her new shiny life. Redemption after spending ears trying to make ut work with an unwilling non partner who was wearing a ring.

Another dear friend is getting on a plane tomorrow to start a new chapter, all the way around the world. Almost a year in planning and getting ready, and he is off to a beautiful land with fresh opportunity. He went through, cleaned out and sold almost all of his things. Redemption after running miles to make this choice and to be free. And what will they find? What will any of us find after the cleaning? A lighter soul perhaps? A new path?

Maybe Spring cleaning feels so good because it parallels that we ourselves are cleansed of what we have done, and what we have left undone. Maybe we clean because deep down where it is dark and quiet in the middle of the night, we want to be new as well. Maybe we dust and vacuum and disinfect too because we want to wash away the mud of bad decisions, missteps and backfires. And maybe it is in the process of cleansing that we forgive ourselves of the very shortcomings that make us most human,

Life is short. So enjoy the clean.

The Value

My last blog talked about things that make you proud. Both if my examples where extremely hard. And maybe that is why I am so proud of them – they were the hardest things that I have done in my life. The level of difficulty cannot truly be expressed, even with my extensive vocabulary. And this is not to complain, quite the opposite. It is to recognize that some of the most beautiful and wonderful lessons come out of the most difficult tasks.

And maybe that is because when we push ourselves beyond what we think we can do, or how far with think we can go, it expands our reference of knowledge, feeling and depth. And that expansion is in direct correlation with the adversity experienced. In this sense, we strive to to overcome.

In the process we learn lessons that we otherwise would not master. And isn’t that how we want it? Imagine accomplishing arduous, even painful responsibilities and undertakings, only to learn nothing? To be exactly where you were before, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually? it would be a bit disappointing. If I am going to sacrifice and work so hard, then I want more than a gold star at the end of it. Developing as a human being is the reward.

In in those experiences, you learn the value of perseverance, you learn the value of believing in yourself and your own abelites and you learn the value of being able to walk into a room knowing your value, even when others don’t know you at all. You learn the value of your own worth. You learn to ascertain what is needed and how to effectively use your talents.

And you also learn the value of failure, of mistakes, of being exhausted and crying in the floor of your closet. You learn the value of rejection and still going even when you aren’t sure. You learn the value exhaustion and rest and frustration and anger and being at your wits end, but getting it done anyway. Yes, you learn the of all of it.

When putting my nephew through college, I learned the importance of giving of yourself and being of service. And the joy of helping another truly succeed. The joy of cooking huge meals and sending him back to his place to share leftovers with roommates. And I learned the importance of making that promise to another, and following through. I learned things for which are worth the sacrifice.

I could write a book on what taking care of Dad taught me. The most important ones I think are to just keep going, and the value of rest. Also that you find the strength you need when you need it. Even when you think you don’t have it. And I learned what it truly takes to love someone so much that you would do simply do whatever it takes. You reach deep inside and handle it. I also learned the power and importance of discernment. That last one alone would be the subject for many blogs. And I learned that love is worth it, because whether it’s a friend, or lover and family member, those memories will carry you through the pain of the loss.

And maybe that is what we end up being proud of…that we did it anyway- despite the odds or ends. And in the end, we carry those lessons with our heads held high, because we earned those stripes.

Life is short. So be proud of your experiences. They didn’t break you, instead you took them and made them into a tangible measurement of the intangible Human Spirit. And there enlies the value.