Spring forward is the trick for remembering to move your clock ahead by one hour this time of year in the northern hemisphere. It’s also the perfect way to describe the feeling spring evokes.
Even in places with warm climates year-round you can feel a difference in the air. The days are longer and we’re shaking off the hibernation urge, throwing open the windows (literally and metaphorically).
In most of the Western world we don’t have formal celebrations to welcome the season as do many other cultures. The closest thing we have is spring cleaning :-).
There’s a reason this time of year inspires the desire to clear out the old. It’s a primal urge to make room for new growth.
Spring brims with hope and re-birth. Everything is getting a fresh start.
A few days ago while out jogging (which is way more enjoyable than it was in the dead of winter!) I rounded a corner and saw a tree covered in a riot of pink flowers. Two days before it had been bare. In one way it had literally changed overnight.
But in truth, much had been happening below the surface to lay the groundwork for the metamorphosis.
Whatever you want to bring into bloom – your next career step, a new sense of balance in your life, or just getting in flow – here are five steps to help you successfully create your transformation.
1. Take stock
I clean out my closet every year, but last month I was ruthless. By the time I finished I had a stack of items I’d been holding onto despite not having worn in years. They were a combination of old favorites that no longer worked and pieces that kinda, sorta served a purpose but I never felt great wearing (so I never did). And still, they were absurdly difficult to part with.
Our lives often look like our closets – a mishmash of what works and what needs to change.
Although you can’t make a physical pile of what needs to change in your life, a great way to take stock is to create an energy-drain list.
Include everything, from the seemingly minor, like the doorknob that sticks, to the significant, such as job or relationship. The more honest you are, the better you’ll be able to identify what you what’s standing in your way of new growth.
2. Get rid of the physical clutter.
This is the step that literally helps you create space.
A good rule of thumb is to dispose of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose, create beauty, or make you happy. Just like in nature your mind and spirit reflect your physical surroundings.
3. Clear out the mental clutter.
In her book, Finding Your Own North Star, Martha Beck described her head as housing a demented squirrel. It was also an apt depiction of mine! Learning to quiet my mind was one of the initial reasons I became interested in yoga.
What’s strewn about in your head? A running to-do list? Write it down and let your calendar or to-do list do the work of remembering. Half-finished decisions and unresolved issues? A highly effective way to clear out mental clutter is through physical movement … it’s very calming to the squirrel or whatever hyper-active creature inhabits your mind ;-). Another is journaling; a powerful way work through those places you feel stuck.
4. Establish, or re-establish, rituals.
Nature is full of ritual; without it there would be no renewal and change. Bears hibernate in the winter and birds push their young out of the nest to teach them to fly.
With the busy lives most of us lead, it’s easy to drop the practices that keep us centered. Watching the sun rise with a hot cup of tea or coffee, working out the same day or time each week, a daily yoga practice, or a standing date night with your partner are all examples of rituals.
5. Surround yourself with beauty.
Bring a bit of spring’s inspiration into your life. Whether fresh flowers on your desk or in your home, pictures of loved ones, or art on your walls, beauty sweeps away the cobwebs and opens you up to new ideas and possibilities.
Before you close up this email, pull out your calendar and schedule time to work on your spring cleaning.
I’m not sure that Mother Nature requires this kind of planning, but it definitely helps us mere mortals!
Once you clear out space to let the new in, you’ll be amazed at how easily growth begins to flow.
“Spring is a true reconstructionist.”
~Henry Timrod (1828 – 1867), Poet