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Time to spring-clean your heart

“To Every Thing There is a Season.” Ecclesiastes 3

The oft-quoted verse from Ecclesiastes tells us that “there is a time to every purpose under the heaven”. And if that’s true, then certainly Springtime is the season when we turn our minds to casting out the old in preparation for the new.

But instead of simply spring-cleaning your home this year, why not go a step further and spring-clean your heart? And if you can’t think how you might do that, then take your lead from the sort of things you do in your home.

Throwing out stuff no longer needed: We’ve all done this at home, getting rid of the occasional mini-skip of unwanted junk.

We carry just as much junk around in our hearts - in the form of unwanted thoughts and fears, negative beliefs that are holding us back, and emotional baggage that may have been weighing us down for decades.

Saying goodbye to clutter: We know how great it feels when we eventually get around to the big tidy up, and when we can eventually see our desk again (or the floor) for the first time in ages. 

The emotional counterpart to this might be to get rid of old goals or ambitions, or to cut down on activities, people or tasks that don’t give us a decent return on our investment. It can be difficult – but the yield can be huge if we get it right.

Throwing on a lick of paint: Have a look at how many of your neighbours are out over the longer Spring days with a paintbrush. It’s an instant pick-me-up and seems to be very much in keeping with the optimism of the season.

If we apply the same principle to our hearts, we might try to change our own internal colour scheme. For instance, do we look at the world as a grey, forbidding place? If we do, then that’s what we’re likely to encounter.

Similarly, if we can try to picture the world as having a beautiful golden hue, then that’s what it will become for us. So play around with your emotional colour scheme – it’s amazing the change it can bring about.

Tending to our gardens: The good gardener knows that there’s a time to sow and a time to reap. And the more positive, self-affirming thoughts we can plant in our minds, the greater the ‘crop’ of positive, healthy returns.

Examples of sewing positive thoughts would be to look forward to December 31st and visualize ourselves in situations that we desire. Driving that new Merc, settling in to that new job, moving to that new house – or maybe something simpler like being a nicer, happier person.

But whatever seed you plant, you increase the likelihood of the thought taking root and eventually yielding a bountiful crop. Don’t be afraid to sow as many seeds as you like.

Opening windows: How many of us tend to throw all the windows wide open at this time of year, blowing away the cobwebs and letting in fresh air to revitalize our homes?

Why not open some emotional windows by exposing yourself to new possibilities. If your previous thought was: “I can’t do this”, maybe you can change this around to “I haven’t been able to do this until now”.

It’s particularly useful if you’re being held back by your negative belief. Turn negatives into positives in the following manner. Instead of saying “I’d love to go on holiday but I’m afraid of flying” try framing it as “I’m afraid of flying but I’d love to go on holiday.

Put the positive half of the sentence after the ‘but’ and see what a difference it can make to your frame of mind. And if you can achieve even half of the above suggestions, you’re well on your way to an emotional spring clean whose effects you’ll feel all year long.