Attic clearing

spring flowersWelcome to Spring!

Actually, if you judge by the weather, we’re not there yet. In fact, I’d like to lodge a complaint to the weather department. My son thinks that the groundhog came out a second time and saw his shadow again so that’s why winter is back. When it comes to theories, it’s pretty sound.

Weather not withstanding, with spring comes the well known (and partially loathed) ritual called Spring Cleaning!


… yeah, that was forced on my behalf, how about you?

Still, the ritual is sound because throughout winter we hibernate, pull ourselves inward and become listless. Of course we would, it’s just too damn cold. Which means with spring we start shedding the heavy clothes, don the lighter stuff and stretch, breath, and clearing out the cobwebs.

Windows get thrown open, perhaps even the door is left only for the screen to let that air in, clearing away the musty smell while the thicker blankets get put back into the closet in exchange for the lighter ones. A lot of work that, in theory, comes with great reward.

A number of cleaning brushes.
A number of cleaning brushes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, there is another aspect of spring cleaning that I don’t think is discussed often enough. Or if it is, it’s done on self-help sites, books, or with gurus. If there is any place it’s discussed it’s where I am not visiting (or buying). It’s the act of spring cleaning ourselves, specifically our heads.

Or, in other words, our personal attic. Sometimes a cobweb forms (or perhaps you’d prefer to think of it as dust and fluff, both analogies work) that starts to cover our minds. We start working on rote, when thinking is more of a luxury that we’d rather avoid as we move from one moment to the next. Surviving on fumes as we go through our day. Unlike the seasonal cleaning of our physical environment, this mental cleaning can happen at any time of the year.

I am finding that if the cobweb stays in place for too long, say for a year and three months, you start to get comfortable with it and then you forget it’s even there. Sometimes you have to give it a serious cleaning, other times you have to brush away the web one strand at a time.

Over the last few months I’ve been struggling with the cobweb one strand at time. I kept trying to do more, to pull out a quarter at a time… unsuccessfully I might add… but unlike our houses, clearing out the head is harder to do. Not as physical, but requires the same effort in my opinion.

In a way, I think the difficulty is that there isn’t a way to gauge your progress. As you work on it, there isn’t any real proof of success or failure beyond how you feel and we all know how reliable that is to judge right?

Still, sometimes it’s the little signs that say you’re succeeding ranging from starting to hum more often, it’s easier to smile, or my personal favorite, is that added spring to your step as you are walking.

Other times you need a big sign to show some progress. As of late I haven’t had that sign from within to say I’m making progress. The closest I’ve gotten is a major crying fit recently that released emotions I didn’t realize were being held back because of all I am doing in my life. I get from one moment to the next so spending the time to search and clear out my head and soul is something I work when I’m able (which isn’t as frequent as it should be).

Recently I think I had another major clearing.

In my last post I discussed the realization that I had to create boundaries and establish what I’m willing to accept. One of them was not accepting bad treatment. By that I mean not feeding in or accepting anything but respect in my life from others and from myself.

This weekend, in what may have been an unintentional attack, a side comment that brought everything to the forefront, I released quite a bit of the anger and irritation that had been on a slow boil over the last year. You know, in thinking about it, I’m very surprised that it took as long as it did to come to a head. Perhaps it’s because I would vent my frustration to trusted friends and family, or maybe it’s because I poured it out into my journal.

Or maybe I was just too busy to notice.

Hitchcock-steps-1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In releasing some of that energy (and by no means is it all released by the way) I found it to be the first real sign that some of those cobwebs are starting to break loose. They aren’t gone, I can tell that for sure because I still feel a bit on the fuzzy side, but I finally had that sign I was hoping to find.

With that said, I have a few tips that I believe may help me continue to clean out the attic. At least I hope it will and I will probably continue to talk about it here so if anyone has some advice, I’m open to it!

Step 1: Recognize that you have some cobwebs.

Fact is, we all get them. The severity of it depends on your situation. I was told recently that we’re all broken people. Accepting that you’re a little broken makes it easier to realize the cobwebs exist. The trick is acknowledging the thickness of the cobweb.

Step 2: Vent

Sometimes you just have to vent. For some of us that means talking to someone you know, other times it’s screaming into a pillow. Whatever works for you, use it. Then, after some times passes, do it again… and again until the pent up issues begin to lessen enough to get the trusty broom.

Step 3: Release the pressure

If the cause of the cobwebs is someone, tell them your issues. If they are someone you care about like a family member or a good friend, and they love you, they’ll forgive and understand why you need to release it. If the cause is someone who has hurt you deeply and there is a lack of trust, then releasing the pressure at them can either improve the situation with them so you can start to trust them (and vice versa) or if it makes the situation worse you’ve lost nothing more.

In fact I believe the positive of feeling better and having the air cleared between you and that person will improve your life.

If the cause is an event or circumstances in your life, releasing the pressure will help you handle it better I think. The frustration gets into the air around us and makes it easier to breathe. At least that is how I feel about it.

Step 4: Repeat as needed

Fact of the matter is that it’s not something that can be accomplished in one full sweep. Instead it has to be done over and over again with each new situation.

The technical term for whatever is causing the cobwebs is stress. The stress of keeping it in. I’m typically a private person, the worst of my emotions, thoughts, and feelings stays locked up. I can’t help it, part of it comes from how I was raised and part of it is a natural gut reaction. Why burden others is a thought that frequently goes through my head. I can, from time to time, circumvent the natural instinct. When I fail at it, well, it continues to build so I try to repeat my process as often as I’m able.

How about you? What do you find as being useful in releasing the cobwebs in the brain?


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