Spring cleaning for the soul

by Dandy

“To change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and the psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use.”
~Anaïs Nin~

It’s Spring!  For most of the U.S. this has been a very long and snowy Winter.  People are in need of the warmth of the sun and the chirping of birds to awaken the soul.  Nature is stepping out from her slumber and into the abundance of budding trees and sun reaching flowers.    These cues from nature are beautiful invitations to help us in identifying, releasing, and letting go of the excess, of the things that are perhaps weighing us down in our lives.

On an inner level we must “clean house” every now and then and take inventory of what we are holding onto.

Sometimes we find ourselves holding onto habits, resentments, limiting beliefs, fears and certain ways of being, because they feel safe and comfortable since we’ve been holding onto them for so long.  Yet if we were to take a closer look, we can start to see that these things no longer serve us and in fact we are standing in our own way of moving forward.

Imagine the old tree metaphor – what would happen if a tree never lost its leaves?  It would never look bare.  It would always be full and abundant.  Yet if trees never shed itself of their leaves there would never be the space or opportunity to grow new leafs, new ideas, new ways of thinking, new opportunities.  So how do we begin to identify and let go of the things that we are ready to release?

First we must claim some special time for ourselves.  We’ll need to go outside to a place that is special to us, a river, a park, an old hiking trail, a place that feels safe and sacred.  Bring a notebook and pen.

Second, center ourselves.  Feel the ground, take in deep breaths of the Spring air and the energy of release and letting go.  Next, answer these questions…

1.  What is wasting your time and energy?

2.  What feels like a burden to you?

3.  What habits or patterns leave you feeling tired, overwhelmed, or bored?

4.  What are you most fearful right now?

Analyse your answers and compose a list of 5 things you are ready to let go of.  These things should be what we know in our hearts that no longer serve us, even though  they may feel comfortable.

Next take 5 stones.  Each one of these stones represents the one thing we need to release, surrender, and let go.  Make it clear what each stone represents.  Take a moment as you pick each stone from the ground, take a breath, feel it in your hand as you say aloud, “this stone represents my resentment of _________”.  Or “this stone represents my relationship with ________”.  Allow each stone to take on the energy of the thing you need to release.

Then take a walk with your stones.  Make a note of how these stones burden you and weigh you down.  Note how they’ve gotten in your way of peace and contentment.  Then as you are ready, drop them to the ground, one by one.  Feel the symbolism of letting each one go.  If you are near water, toss them into it, listen to the splash, visualize it sinking and disappearing.

Notice how it feels in your body.  Where do you feel it the most?  Is it in your throat, your chest, your head, your shoulders?  Breathe.

The last step is for us to write down an action step for each of the items.  What will you do in replacement of what you have released?  Keep this list where you will always see it.

What do you need to let go of?  What beliefs have been holding you back?

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51 Responses to “Spring cleaning for the soul”

  1. Hi Dandy,

    Thanks for this post! I need to re-evaluate some things and see what matters most and go from there.

    Hmmm…I need to think about this. But right off hand, I need to let go of negative thoughts. I’m not a negative person, just on some issues…I can be a little negative. Never seeing the bright side of things. That has to go! :)

    Beliefs…simply that I can’t. When I know I can.

    Thanks, Dandy…you have me thinking.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Evelyn P.

    • That’s wonderful Evelyn! I know what you mean about just certain issues negativity can loom over. I struggle with that one too. But I believe peace of mind is worth the inner work we need to do. Thanks so much for your comment Evelyn!

  2. Once again, young lady, you’ve been reading my mail. Spring is certainly a good time to let go of alot of things, from spring cleaning in the house to cleaning out those so-called cobwebs in our minds that are begining to look like they belong there, When in fact they are weighing us down and possibly affecting not only our attitudes, but appetites and general health. Thank you for the insightful post Dandy.

    • Hi Deb! You are right about how things can affect our appetites and general health. I guess we need “lightening up” in more ways than one. Thanks so much for your comment! XOXO

  3. Allow the cleaning to begin. I’m in Dandy!

    My focus will be self-doubt and a persistent lack of confidence.

    Alex

  4. > the old tree metaphor
    The old tree metaphor is perfect … out with the old, in with the new. Or more precisely, make way for fresh stuff while tuning and pruning what we’ve got for our journey ahead.

  5. This is great Dandy! I have performed the stone ritual in a slightly modified way. I LOVE your idea of carrying them with you!
    What I added was this:
    I wrote the words or sentences with markers on the rock. I then threw each one in one at a time and watched the letters dissolve as the water took them away. I envisioned the challenge, or emotion drifting away with the current. Very very powerful!

    May you have a lovely spring. I think the weather is teasing us up here on my side of the state!
    Love,
    Jen

    • Hi Jen,
      I’m so glad a version of soul cleaning works for you. I hope everyone gives it a try to see how powerful it is. I hope you have a lovely Spring….if it ever decides to stick around:) Take care Jen!

  6. Dandy,

    There is so much that I need to let go of. If I was carry a stone for all of my burdens I would need a buldozer to help me push them along. I guess in my life I am still what many would call a work in progress. The freeing thought is that over the years I have thrown a lot of stones into the river. My load is not nearly as heavy as it used to be.

    Now I can feel the weight being lifted and evenly distributed in my life once I realized I can’t do it all alone. I learned to let others help me carry my load and now my burdens are slowly disappering. This is a great exercise that I can’t wait to put into practice. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Frank!
      I know what you mean about the bulldozer! It is good to remind ourselves of the burdens we have released ourselves of. We need to know that we’ve done it before and we can do it again! I wish you all the best in your inner work. Thanks so much Frank!

  7. I like this post Dandy. Right away I can visulize myself sitting ona river bank and finding my stones and releasing them into the water. Great exercise to do. We all have to clean house at times. Thanks you very much for the spring cleaning. Love it.

  8. Hi Dandy,

    This is a wonderful post! Many people cling on habits that they keep doing which have no benefits for them. Instead of holding on to them, they should get rid of them especially if those habits are interefering with their lives. I love the steps you outlined with taking a stone. To overcome habits, they must be substituted with something else and you have given us clear steps to do just that. Thanks for sharing my friend :)

    • Hi Dia,
      Yes it is so important to release bad habits and limiting thoughts. We really need to take a very close look at how the habits don’t benefit us. Once we see that we can do so much better than moving forward becomes so much easier. Thanks for your comment Dia! Take care!

  9. Happy Spring Cleaning to you Dandy!

    There lies a “smooth stone” on my shelf next to an antique ship in the bottle (The Star of England). The stone is heart shape. I found the stone while on one of my barefoot runs along the beach. At the time I felt an intense love for the essence of a woman that I have never met, but communicated with. Though the stone represents a genuine goodness of heart, it is also truely right to group it with four random stones to be thrown in the ocean during one of my runs.

    I have an antique ring of the acting muses that is on my finger…some may remember it as I used a picture of the ring when commenting. This also has some meaning to the above, but I will still wear it because it was pure “Serendipity” the day I found the ring.

    Thank you Dandy for this…

  10. Ah, I love springtime Dandy! Breathe deeply, let yourself become cleansed of negativity, and embrace the bountiful joys of life and all that’s within it.

    It’s this time of year that I start to look to make my life simpler, to rid myself of unwanted baggage and start some aspects afresh. Have you ever been over to ZenHabits.net Dandy? It’s a beautiful place to cut down on what you really don’t want, and to enjoy life more.

    Why work yourself to an early grave? Just smile, breathe deeply, and be patient with life :-)

    • Hi Stuart,
      It is so important to lighten our load. We need to do it from time to time. It’s giving ourselves permission not to be burdened. Thanks so much for your great comments & support Stuart!!!!!

  11. Hello Dandy, thanks for posting a simple ritual that we can take for releasing. Visualization is a very powerful technique. I like the idea of using stones and taking a walk in the garden.

    I was just thinking that I needed to let go of the “wanting” to accomplish a lot. I would get into the thinking that I am not doing enough. Being overly enthusiastic is making me lose sight of keeping things simple. In the process, I become overwhelmed. It’s clear that I need to take the day off tomorrow LOL!

    • Hi Evelyn!
      I know what you mean. I to want to accomplish alot. It actually throws off my balance of keeping things simple. It’s not always easy to find our rhythms, but it is essential to let go of old habits and beliefs in order to make room for the new opportunities. Thanks so much Evelyn & good luck!!

  12. Awesome. I really like all the good questions you asked in this post, got me thinking! The tree and leaves example is beautiful as well. It is interesting how this time of year really brings a cleansing spirit to a lot of people, I’ve been noticing that lately. Really enjoyed this, Dandy.

    • Thanks so much Nate. I really appreciate your comment. Yes, Spring does inspire a renewal of all kinds of sorts. A real awakening in more ways than one :) Take care Nate!

  13. Hi Dandy,
    I love the idea of spring cleaning from the inside out. We just moved so I actually went through a physical spring cleaning. I guess now it’s time for an internal one. :) I’m all for dropping layers any time of the year. Wonderful exercise. Instead of stones we use a burning bowl. My husband and I write down what we’re releasing, we through it in a bowl and burn it. We make a ritual of it every New Year.
    Thanks for the great exercise. Loving blessings

    • Hi Andrea,
      I love the idea of a burning bowl. It must be very powerful seeing what you need to let go of turn to ash! There is really nothing like an internal cleansing. It’s very hard to describe how powerful it can be, one just has to experience it for themselves. Thanks so much for your comment Andrea. It’s great hearing from you!!!

  14. Awesome I never thought about cleaning my soul :) Sounds very benefical.

  15. Hi Dandy,

    This is a little different, but I need to let go of information that I’ve learned and never used. Saying that challenges me to act upon my learnings. It’s useless to read constantly, receive unlimited amount of theoretical information but not put it all to work.

    The reality is that if we don’t use it, we loose it. So, either need to let ideas go, or work towards ideas that I have.

    Kind of off kilter – but for me, these things are everything!

    Nice reminder in keeping my mind clean and free.

    • Hi Jk,
      It’s not off kilter at all. It sounds like there must be other feelings there when you say you need to let go of information that’s never been used. Once those feelings are explored it can be really powerful to let it all go. Thanks so much for your great comment Jk. Take good care!

  16. You have the best ideas! I know I say that over and over, but it’s true! You have a real talent for presenting a concept and then offering practical steps for applying it. The walk with stones is so tangible and powerful. I’m going to do that for sure. Thank you so much.

  17. Dandy: That is such a powerful quote you shared from Anaïs Nin. I really really loved it. I also appreciated your advice to clean house. I think we have to continually be aware of how we feel and what things may be holding us back and working against us. I am a fan of letting go and breaking free from the status quo so that you can discover new things and open your life up to the next phase of the journey. Really great post and advice. Also, love the new look of the blog :)

  18. Dandy, I am not the first to weigh in here, obviously, but it looks like you struck a chord with a bunch of people here. I love the idea. And the questions! We need to put ourselves under the microscope more often and answer these. If we don’t know our purpose, what the heck are we doing? For me, I have put a challenge to myself about trusting people and being less of a perfectionist just because I’m afraid something won’t get done. There’s always a balance. Thanks so much for your commitment to what you do! You’re a great blogger! And a great person to know!

  19. Hey Dandy,

    I believe what I’m most fearful of right now is going to sleep, because I know once I get in my bed theirs no getting out. I know that everyone needs sleep, but i personally don’t like sleeping. I know when i’m ahsleep the rest of the world is still running. This week I’m going to try to go the whole week without any sleep. If I can do that i will be so far ahead of my schedule. When I don’t sleep im constantly getting things finished. A couple days of no sleep means that I’m a day ahead of plans. A week of no sleep and i’ll be working at a level no one else can maintain. I live with the curse of always wanting to outwork anyone staying in my path.

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • Wow William, good luck with that :) I for one need lots of sleep. I’m early to bed and late to rise. My body won’t let me have it any other way. Some people just don’t need that much sleep & that’s ok, just as long as you eat healthy and exercise. Ok there’s my unsolicited advice for the day :) Take care William!

  20. Hello Dandy,

    What a wonderful idea to spring-clean the soul! And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could wash our souls as well at the end of the day? To free it from all the stress and anxiety, from minor irritations that bothered our peace, from anger and all kinds of negative thoughts? May God’s blessing be with you today and always. ;)

    Joyce

    • Hi Joyce!
      You are right it would be wonderful to give the soul a good scrubbing now and then. Sometimes when I’m really stressed out I’ll go wash my hands and visualize I’m washing off all the tension and lingering negative thoughts. It helps a little. Thanks so much for your great comment! I hope to hear from you again!!

      • …or like Hemingway’s ‘Harry’ in ‘The Snow’s of Kilimanjaro’ going back to Africa to “burn some fat off the soul”

  21. Hi Dandy,
    Indeed there is something about the Spring that cannot be denied, isn’t there? Taking inventory is a wonderful idea. We unwittingly accumulate habits and concepts that serve only to limit us. Spring is the perfect time to be refreshed with the truth; to see ourselves as we really are, not as the world implies we are. The strong wings of an eagle are meaningless to the eagle that forgets he has them. A strong, creative mind is meaningless to the individual who forgets he has it.

  22. Hi Dandy,

    What a beautiful observation! Spring is indeed nature’s way of reminding us that we need to let go of the needless excess in life. Ah it can indeed be hard to get rid of old habits and limiting beliefs. They are so familiar after all. But this is necessary as these limiting beliefs will only shackle us and end up being a dead weight around our necks.

    For me, I have to work on not letting myself get too distracted and obsessed by my PC games as this can eat into my time management. I also need to work on my balance since I can go to extremes in trying to get work done and then swing to the other extreme and relaxing for too long.

    I am glad that you have shared your method with us on how to let go. It will definitely help me to manage the things I have to let go of.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hi Irving! I’m glad I could help. We all have things we can be rid of. There are always feelings and emotions that hold us back. I personally enjoy “the work” it takes to lead a content and mindful life. Thanks Irving!!!!

  23. hello dandy
    howare you?
    thanks for the wake up call and like frank if i were to carry my stones i will need a bulldozer lol!! because they are soooo heavy.
    however the central point still stands we must constantly work on things that stunt our personal growth.
    sometimes they may appear harmless and derive temporary pleasure but in the long run they need to be shed off.
    take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of the day.

  24. Thanks Evelyn. That’s awesome!

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