Spring Cleaning, for the Body, Heart, and Mind

If you listen very carefully you can hear that the earth is beginning to wake up, with bulbs pushing out of the soil and new buds on the trees. What had become brown, dry, frozen and mineralized over the winter is now enlivened and reinvigorated. Sometimes we are right there with this process and have already started clearing out the garage, or our sock drawer, and maybe even made a trip to the goodwill to give away what we don’t need. Sometimes, however, we feel more like molasses, and getting started is very, very hard.  What to do?
In Anthroposophic Medicine there is clear recognition that a part of our own physiology works to continually lift physical substance into a living state; and, reciprocally, that living substance eventually falls back into a gravity, mineral state.  We are therefore beings of constant lifting and releasing. We feel sluggish if we aren’t lifting enough substance into living activity, and/or when what has been released back to a mineral state can’t be adequately shed or gotten rid of.  So here are some suggestions for helping this process find renewed strength on the levels of body, heart and mind. Consider it a small springtime primer.
• Drink more water—not only the plants need water to grow! Adequate hydration helps us heal and regenerate. Coffee and caffeine teas don’t count as hydration (because they have a small diuretic effect)
• So instead of coffee, drink water with a little lemon, or add a squirt of herbal bitters (like dandelion)
• Or, do a footbath in the morning with lemon juice or lemon oil in warm water
• No time for a footbath? Try adding some dry skin brushing of your arms and legs when you first wake up, then rub a little bit of rosemary oil into your hands and feet
• Get a haircut, trim your fingernails and toenails! You’ll feel more awake.
• A good rule of thumb for spring cleaning: look in your closet.  If you haven’t worn something or used it in a year, consider clearing it out.
• Look in your feeling life.  What are you holding from more than a year ago?  If it is joy, remember and celebrate it.  Take it out, wear it around for a while—say “I forgot I even had that tucked away!” If it is anger or grief, do something to resolve it. Or, if there is nothing to do that will change or solve it, consider clearing it out. Maybe it served its purpose and you don’t need it anymore?
• Open up some space.  Stare out the window. Go for a walk.
• Take a break from habits of maximal entertainment, or maximal social connection, or maximal work efficiency.
• Leave breath for new ideas to come, to blossom from the inside and work their way out. There will be no space for them if they are constantly bombarded by demands and impressions from the outside. Offer them some time.

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