One morning as you leave your house you begin to feel something that you have not felt since mid-October. The air smells dewier— you didn’t even register this as possible. It’s not warm, but it’s not shrewdly freezing, and it’s when this cold-though-perhaps-cool air hits your skin that you realize: it’s spring.
Spring, ah, yes, the season before summer, after winter. In like a lion, out like a sauna. Memories of spring include a palette of pastel colors, the first crocus to break winter ground, yellow dust of tree pollen on windshields, and the plague of hay fever. Spring also has various event-centric connotations: spring flings, spring shopping, spring break, and most importantly within the frame of this article, spring cleaning.
The unpleasurable but eventually rewarding process of throwing away clutter and dusting what had gone undusted for the past year; spring cleaning is the literal 'Mother of All Rituals.' You nag yourself into decidedly throwing away that toaster oven, and then clean your actual oven to ensure that you really don’t need that toaster oven. It’s a give-and-take process, but usually, its conclusion leaves you with about two weeks of feeling new, the sort of rebirth that a secular spring has taken on for the masses, surprisingly.
But what if instead of cleaning out a closet or scrubbing a toilet, spring cleaning took on a completely different meaning this year? Something perhaps more directly connected to that which a half-watered-down bottle of Fabuloso can’t resolve: a cleansing of the SOUL. If you think I’m getting metaphysical with this, you would only be partially right.
A lot of the time the idea of mentally or physically cleansing brings to mind images of drinking kombucha on a silent retreat in Nepal. In reality, we don’t need to get all namaste to do some mental spring cleaning. Instead, we need to be able to recognize our most toxic, self-indulging habits and practices, and try to clear our mind of whatever allows us to perpetuate them.
Let me be less indirect: if something is bothering you or if someone is upsetting you without resolve, the best possible thing you can do for yourself is to take a step back, and say “goodbye.” Not allowing these issues to build also means that you’re not allowing dust to accumulate, anger to rise, distractions to perpetuate. Sweeping your hallways in frustration might be a great way to combat dirt, but won’t help to resolve the issues you’re having with a significant other.
We might feel cleaner after we color-coordinate your closet, but ultimately the problem is so often rooted not in your turquoise sweater having spent most of the year next to an orange flannel, but it's that you are taking control of something, anything, and that something functions as a distraction from real problems.
Dustbust every fuzzy bunny of lint that claims ownership of the space between your couch and your loveseat, and organize every pot and pan you own until you are stainless steel in the face. In the end, if springtime has not allowed you to be a bigger, better, more independent person, did it really happen? The weather hardly tells me it did, what with the gap shrinking between summer and winter, so it’s really up to you to give spring the sort of pseudo-secular rebirth it desires.