Spring-cleaning is in full swing to prepare. Accordingly, I just spent a couple of days transplanting hostas from our yard to his and happily cleaning out his garage. Spring is naturally a time of renewal. It felt good.
There was the usual accumulation of debris that collects over the winter. I guess it is easy to toss stuff into the garage, especially during the winter, when one isn’t as likely to be spending any time out there. The clutter starts to pile up, some items are important and some others, well…not so much.
For example, maybe a hungry mouse or two (or three) chews a hole into the side of the sunflower seed bag leaving the evidence in all the nooks and crannies. Perhaps the cardboard boxes from Christmas and beyond have taken over a whole corner. They are stacked but need to be broken down and stuffed into the recycling bin. Wait! Do I spy a workbench counter under that can(s) of paint, miscellaneous tools, a bunch of plastic bags, a glass bottle that exploded in the cold, a solo cotton work glove, an extension cord, some tangled up green string and of course, the obligatory assortment of rolls of duct tape? Maybe you have clutter too?
Sweeping out the garage, I was reminded that mindfulness meditation is a way of spring-cleaning the mind. We find the lingering debris that fills the nooks and crannies. Sweep it up, and let it go. We sit with the stack of thoughts and feelings that have taken over a whole corner of the mind. Break 'em down, stuff 'em in the recycling bin, and let 'em go. We can shift through the miscellany collecting on the “workbench of the mind” - storing the important items. Anything else, let it go. In every moment, mindfulness is a way of letting go of all that threatens to clutter the mind.
I read a column recently that recommended one start the day by sweeping the front steps. Sweeping, first thing in the morning, represents the intention to create a fresh beginning. In mindfulness meditation every breath is a fresh beginning - contained in every in-out breath is your whole life.
Allow your morning practice to set your intention, sweep the front steps of your mind. Allow mindfulness, during the day, to help you to choose what to “bring home.” Do you really need to put that negative thought, lousy feeling, or mean word someone said to you in today's shopping cart? Allow your evening practice to sort through everything you laid on the “workbench” of your mind for the day. It feels good.
Now, where did my broom go?