In last week’s issue we covered Detox. Another Springtime favorite is of course – Spring Cleaning. I like to cover the usual topics from a different angle that include a personal growth/wellness and relational enrichment component…
Personal – There is tons to clean out in our personal domain. I’m sure you’ve heard of Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Her philosophy is of only keeping things that Spark Joy… This concept is a great addition to the Minimalism and Essentialism Themes I like to play with for not everything needs to be functional, have utility or a purpose. The purpose can be purely to Spark Joy. Isn’t that a marvelous concept?
Yes, it’s great to Spring Clean in the usual sense – declutter, clear out any build ups, make everything fresh and sparkling. But I like to take this concept to the next level, that of getting rid of accumulation and what doesn’t serve us.This is when the Minimalist/Essentialist lens comes in very handy…
And, I like to apply this concept not just to physical/tangible items, I actually like to apply this concept primarily to non-physical/tangible items… This is why I find the concept of only keeping things that Spark Joy so wonderful.
How many commitments, tasks, projects, people, routines and such are currently in your life that don’t Spark Joy for you? If you’ve been reading me for a while, you probably noticed a weaved-in theme of consistently clearing our environment… A way of keeping up with our lives so we don’t drown in it. Our lives are too full, and a lot of times not of the good stuff… Or the stuff that serves us, enriches our life, Spark Joy for us… So,
H.W. number 1 – do the usual-plus Spring Cleaning, and then super-size it! Organize, freshen up, clear out, and polish your physical environments and systems…
This can range from things like getting a facial and exfoliating your whole body to backing up your significant email from the past 10 years and deleting it from your machine… We did this recently. I kept my email going back only 5 years, and stored everything else back to when I started the Practice… So liberating!
Another example is shredding legal and financial paper documents (if older than 7 years and no longer relevant), converting anything remaining to electronic format as long as it has relevancy and value, and no longer accumulating paper… This was hard for me, I love paper… I’m still making my way out of it. But, I’m making a dent and it makes me super happy to have better systems that really support how I work and play.
As you can see, it’s not just about mopping floors and dusting shelves. It’s about getting rid of stuff from dead cells, to superfluous clothing, to old email, to clunky systems. You with me?
H.W. number 2 – do the deluxe Spring Cleaning! Now, this is where the fun comes in. This is actually a process for enriching and upgrading your life beyond what resulted from the above … The above flows from the Minimalist/Essentialist approach. Now we fine tune with the what Sparks Joy approach.
Step back and take a look at your life. After you cleaned it from the noise, clutter, build-up and extras, it’s time to remove any lingering negativity producing items. Or better yet, anything that doesn’t Spark Joy!
This ranges from what you eat, how you exercise, the music you listen to, what you wear, how you commute, the plants you have (hence the addition of Peonies to my garden!), the pictures on your wall, the subscriptions you allow, the social media you partake in, the groups you belong to, people you spend time with, the daily tasks you perform, everything is up for question… Why have anything in your life you don’t like?
This might feel a bit radical to you (Radical begets change…). Specially if you subscribe to the mindset that life is a struggle, that you should endure suffering, that you become a better person by overcoming challenges, and such…
I believe there is value in those beliefs, but I’m also becoming a stronger proponent of making life as simple, enjoyable and meaningful as possible. There is no need to get stuck in the struggle… We can take what we are meant to have from it when faced with it, and then move on to the next best thing…
Review everything with this new lens. Make it a mission to start removing things that don’t Spark Joy, and to only allow things in your life that Spark Joy…
Relational – And, speaking of which, what better source of Joy than our loved ones? Specially our Partner?
Believe me I know that our loved ones, including our Partner, are not always a source of Joy… Sometimes it’s actually quite the opposite. But it doesn’t have to be. The same concept as above can be applied to relationships…
You say, What? Yes, I’m not kidding. Translate H.W.1 and H.W.2 to relational terms…
Relational HW1 – Clean the basics and then some…
Context/Mindset – Clean your negative, blaming, assuming, reactive thinking
Communication/Alignment – Clean your verbal and non-verbal communication from interruptions, poor eye-contact, distracted listening, raising your voice, name calling
Clarity/Dynamics – Clean your predictable response, let go of the script, the chip on the shoulder, the defenses
Connection/Intimacy – Clean/close your exits, remove activities and things that take away from connection, intimacy, and fun
Collaboration/Partnership – Clean your systems, routines, plans, calendars, to-dos
Relational HW2 – do the deluxe cleaning…
This means that after you remove all the junk you put in your interactions and contribute to your dissatisfying dynamics (which is no easy feat to begin with…), that you step it up a notch. The next level is to clean out responses, tendencies, habits, and idiosyncrasies that don’t serve you nor your loved one. These are subtle but still carry negativity and have a corrosive impact on the relationship.
These might include things like talking too loud, driving too fast, taking long showers, leaving stuff all over the place, keeping a pristine environment at whatever cost, burping and other unseemly behaviors, digging into a meal before the other joins, having poor manners, being noisy while the other sleeps, being on your device while the other is talking, etc. etc. Being inconsiderate… These definitely don’t Spark Joy!
Sometimes relationships get so flooded with these types of behaviors that the partners stop liking each other. It’s so silly! To disrupt this pattern, I have been known to tell partners to treat their partner as if they are roommates… for they’d actually be nicer and more considerate!
We can be really annoying and even mean without even realizing it, or realizing it but not giving a hoot about it. This carelessness chips away at the bond and the beauty of the relationship, at the possibilities of the partnership… These suck the Joy out of the relationship…
So, what say you? Are you ready to Spring Clean your personal domain and your relationship? When you get to the Deluxe Cleaning, it’ll be like cleaning the windows of your Soul… You’ll be stepping it up, Aligning with Joy…
I covered a lot of territory to assist you in whatever area, way, and level is right for you… Note, you don’t have to do it all, and definitely not all at once… Start playing with one item from the Personal Domain and one from the Relational. That small investment will give you massive returns in and of itself. Keep targeting small bits at a time for a richer life and relationship…
Share your experience by leaving a comment below! I’d love to know what are your and your partner’s pet peeves – what would you target in your Deluxe Cleaning?
P.S. If you need more support creating your successful and meaningful life, we are here to help. I’d be honored to speak with you about how we can help you. Schedule a Get Acquainted Call to connect, and discuss how we can help you and how to get started. Look forward to Connecting with you!
~ Some Related Issues
What do you need to declutter
Detox your life and your relationship
Spring clean your relationship
Spring clean your relationship!
How do you renew yourself?
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