Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fresh Air

     When you live in a cold-weather climate, there's nothing as lovely as opening windows for the first time in the spring and letting in fresh air. My routine spring tasks include sweeping out the mounds of sand from the garage floor that had accumulated over months of snow, washing winter salt off of the car and putting screens back on casement windows. I practically dance whenever I do these chores, for it means one thing: spring! Warmer weather is on the way. It’s a time of newness.
      It's been our habit in recent years to remove the screens from our home’s windows in the fall, washing them down and storing them for the winter so we can get the most out of the precious daylight streaming through our windows during the long, dark months. Whenever I hear the temperature is supposed to soar into the 60s, I wash the insides of the windows, reinstall the screens and then let in the fresh breezes to release the stale, cooped-up winter air.
      Such activity makes me think of the stale energy that might be cooped up and cluttering my mind and heart.
      A few years ago, I didn’t want to admit I was stuck in a rut. Things were difficult in my life at that time between my own illness and caring for a dying parent. I felt stuck in chaos. In looking back, however, I realize I was indeed stuck in a rut. I was stuck in the mindset of how I thought things should be in my life, not how they actually were.
      Once I identified my true feelings and set into motion some new thoughts, I opened my mind and heart, letting go of the difficult things that weighed me down. That new perspective brought about an acceptance and gratitude that helped me through a tough time. Rather than staying stuck in “what should be,” I found peace in “what was.”
      When I breathe in gratitude and change my way of thinking, it’s as if that old energy dissipates and a new, affirming energy sweeps in to take its place. I grow by gaining new insights. Where I had been stuck, there is now release. The windows of my world become clearer. The salt and sand stuck in the crevices of my old mindset are swept away. That’s one type of cleaning that doesn’t have to wait until spring.