Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Cleaning

With the change of seasons many people traditionally clean their house more thoroughly.  Baseboards, light fixtures, windows and trying to declutter are some of the tasks done.  Being Jewish, I do a spring cleaning that includes searching for "chometz" (normal leavened grain products eaten during the year).  Most religions have a physical task that is done, but the task has a spiritual significance or commemorates a special event.  In this case, the chometz represents our ego and the unsavory habit patterns we perpetuate.  When looking for the chometz, we should be simultaneously evaluating and clearing out parts of our personality that we would like to change.  Just like Passover commemorates the release from enslavement by the Egyptians, Passover is a time to become free from the things that enslave us personally and stunt our growth.

Even people who are not Jewish and observe the spring cleaning ritual can feel cleansed and lightened by really cleaning and decluttering their home.  I loved an article by Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal detailing her personal odyssey clearing out 800 pounds of clutter.  She attempted different methods that were focused into house zones or fixed time periods.  She tried a few and diligently followed through the different approaches.  Her success gave her a clean office and a garage in which she can actually park her car.  She is also more efficient when she deals with her papers and possessions.  Her enthusiasm and perserverance were really inspiring.

In Ayurveda spring is the time for growth and renewal.  It can be a difficult season to transition to physically, since the accumulated dry, hard toxins from the vata winter season need to liquify and be expelled.  A light diet with emphasis on green vegetables like kale, collards, broccolli and spinach is reommended.  Try to avoid heavy meats and cheeses and instead consume more whole grains.  A moderate increase in exercise will also help remove accumulated toxins.

Cleaning out our houses, our souls and our bodies may take a little effort, but the opportunity to free ourselves from dust, dirt, too many possessions, poor character traits and body toxins is a great gift.  Take advantage of the seasonal energy and use it for your growth.

Stay healthy & well,

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