“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” - Jan Glidewell
People like “stuff”, especially in America! We tend to hold onto it year after year. We accumulate physical things, toxins in the body, and emotional baggage. Stuff… the more the merrier? Definitely not. The more you hold onto, the more you’re held down and held back. If you’re feeling physically or emotionally cluttered, it’s probably time to Spring Clean your life! There is a saying that goes, “You have to get rid of the old to make way for the new.” Try these simple ideas to help you say goodbye to the past and welcome the new:
Go through your closet with open eyes and an open mind. If you see things that you haven’t worn in a year, chances are that you’ll never wear them! Round them up and drop them off at a local donation receptacle. Don’t know where one is, you say? Search here: http://www.donationtown.org/news/donate-clothes.html Some organizations will even pick up your donations right at your front door!
The same goes for your kitchen cabinets, your basement, your garage… Donate non-perishable food items to a local food pantry to help the less fortunate. Find one here: http://foodpantries.org/ If you have boxes from when you moved into your place 5 years ago, let them go! Tupperware, curtains, small appliances, sports equipment, books, toys, bedding, you name it and you can probably donate it! Find a complete list of things that you can donate here: http://www.donationtown.org/acceptable-donations/
Just like our homes, our bodies accumulate things that we don’t need or want in the form of old food residues and toxins. To spring clean your body, give it a break from processed, rich and complicated foods by either cleansing or fasting for a short period of time. Cleansing means reducing your food intake to just simple vegetables and fruits, lots of water and perhaps some whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, kasha, wild rice). Fasting means limiting most foods and drinking lots of water, fresh (not pasteurized!) vegetable and fruit juices, teas and occasional pureed soups. Without much energy going toward digestion, more energy is available to the rest of your body and mind. Try either method for a couple of days, a week, or a month if you can. Cleansing and fasting will make you feel lighter, can sharpen your concentration, help you gain insight (more on that in a moment), and promote spiritual awareness. Cleansing and fasting will both help cleanse your colon, which can aid in weight loss, promote improved immune function, reduce your risk of colon cancer, and improve overall digestion and nutrient absorption from your food. Experts say that the average person has at least 5-20 pounds of accumulated waste matter in his/her colon!
While you’re cleaning out your home and your body, you may notice that it’s helping you clear your mind, or that it’s at least increasing the flow of thoughts in your mind! I mentioned above that cleansing and fasting may help you gain insight. A clogged body can really affect the mind in a negative way. Digestion takes up an enormous amount of energy in the body. Therefore, when eating less and cleansing, your body has more energy to use for mental and emotional tasks. Take advantage of this spring cleaning time by identifying any negative thoughts or old habits that you’ve been harboring that no longer serve you. A cluttered mind and heart leave no room for life’s gifts and surprises to enter. A clean, open mind will allow you to receive the good that awaits you every day. Mantras are a great way to accomplish this! A mantra is a word or group of words used as an instrument of concentration when repeated, chanted, or sung. Try repeating these as often as possible throughout the day, especially during your morning routine (writing them down is powerful, too):
“___________ is over and done with. I live by a new vision now!”
“Life is about change; change is constant and I’m open to it!”
“Everything happens for a reason and then I move on! I choose to focus on how I want things to be next."
Sound too silly? A mantra is just as effective when chanted quietly in your mind.
In honor of the coming of spring and St. Patrick's Day, we celebrate the common clover! Did you know that clover is edible, and highly nutritious? It's abundant in your own back yard and beyond, and it's abundant in nutrients including calcium, lecithin, chromium, magnesium, potassium, silicium, vitamins A, E, C, B2, and B3. It also has anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and anti-asthmatic properties, as well as being a detoxifier in the body. I'd call that lucky clover, for sure! So, when you head out to hike this spring and come upon some wild clover sprouting from the ground, take a bunch and have a snack. The flavor is refreshingly light and mild, with the youngest shoots showing off a slight lemon flavor. Wild edibles have more to offer than many of us know!