Spring cleaning the psyche

May 3, 2016

clean-psycheSpring Cleaning the Psyche

by Lisa Froman

Stay in the moment. It’s all we have.

Many self-help teachers and spiritual advisors–including Eckhart Tolle— advance this philosophy, and for good reason. This is where the past and the future connect—in the moment.

But there are times when the past, gone unaddressed, hides like mothballs in the back of the closet, clings like dust to the bottom of the rug, until it is examined. And cleaned.

I believe the past shapes us, mostly for better, sometimes for worse, especially when we avoid looking at it without filters. The past holds the nakedness of who we are, the truth, the clues to why we react the way we do, why we balk, why we rage, why we retreat into our tried and true archetypes.

Looking at our past, deep diving into those dark dusty corners of our psyches can be scary. Especially when we’re so often taught to shrug it off, less we awaken the gremlins that dwell in the land of the forgotten.

We learn early it’s probably best to lock things away for safe keeping, or bury it and let what’s dead stay dead. That way we won’t have to take an honest look at what grew in the dark, alone and cold, and left to fester from the lack of light or attention.

But here’s a truth: the past is never truly forgotten or buried until we’ve done our work. Some of the same things that haunted us in the past, bad relationships, feelings of unworthiness, a sense of lack or insecurity, will find a way to the surface.

It’s much better if we do the unearthing ourselves.

Now, let me be clear. I do not believe we should build monuments to our past or worship at the altar of the Wounded Self. I am not a proponent of living in the past or the wearing of a victim crown as a symbol of martyrdom. We all have our crosses to carry.

What I am saying is that an unexamined life is an ungrounded life, a life that cannot fully root in the present. Much less the future.

In Taoism, much is said about the importance of balancing the energies of life, the light, the dark, the masculine, the feminine. I believe this is how “living in the moment” should be fully expressed, with a respectful nod to and understanding of the past, and a hopeful gaze focused into the future.

To me, this is the truth of a balanced life.

So if you’re planning on doing some Spring cleaning soon, consider starting with your past.

What do you need to unearth, pull out of the closet, address, release? Make a conscious decision to look at it with loving eyes and be grateful for the lessons. After you do this, see where the past is intersecting with the present and decide if it’s a good thing or not.
And make choices that ground you now, so you can build a happier, healthier, more balanced and peaceful future.

I’m rooting for you.

Note from Carol: I follow every word my friend, Lisa Froman, writes on her blog, which you can find here. If you’re interested in thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace, particularly at midlife, read her excellent book, Tao Flashes.

32 comments on “Spring cleaning the psyche
  1. I agree, Lisa. I believe that we must live with gratitude for the past, be completely alive in the present, and hopeful of the future!

  2. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Sage advice, Lisa. I need to do my own spring cleaning, and soon.

  3. Sheryl says:

    Always perfect relatable advice. Thank you!

  4. Hi Lisa and Carol! This is wonderful advice and I completely agree that if we don’t take the time to become conscious of our patterns or even our “shadows” they will often pop up in unexpected and unpleaant ways in our future. Far better to accept, learn to love and then let go of anything that does not serve us. I’m currently writing a post about my mom in honor of Mother’s Day and your advice helps to process it in a good, loving and helpful way. Thank you. ~Kathy

  5. Great Advice, thank you for sharing!

  6. Barbara says:

    As I am in the middle of writing my memoir, I can attest to the importance of coming to terms with the past and moving forward. It is very freeing, even as it is difficult to relive. Moving forward is only easy when you aren’t dragging the past with you.

    • Lisa Froman says:

      Yes, letting go of the past is important. But it is not easy work. I find sometimes it will revisit at the oddest hours. Lol. And then I do a little more spring cleaning.

  7. Yes…there are things I need to release. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Wonderful advice! Just what I needed to read this morning.

  9. Lisa, I totally agree and have written at length about this subject. Fantastic post!

  10. It’s all about balance. You can over analyze and under analyze. And sometimes, you just have to let it go.

  11. Well said. That balance is so important. You have to acknowledge the past, but you don’t have to be buried by it. Great post.

  12. Carolann says:

    I just subbed to Lisa’s blog so thank you for that! I agree with you totally. You have to examine your life to move forward and past all of the baggage. As a matter of fact, I’ve been doing a lot of that lately myself…it’s the best gift I’ve given myself in a long time! Thanks Carol. Great post.

    • Lisa Froman says:

      Sounds like you are in a period of reflection. I think doing inner work is important so I wish you the best. I hope you find valuable jewels.

  13. Mary says:

    Wonderful advice. It’s all about the balance!

  14. Rosemond says:

    I so need a spring cleaning too! I’m still hauling around way too much negativity!

  15. Lisa Froman says:

    Have you heard of Hay House radio? Google Hay House and you can find lots of inspirational teachers and authors. See who resonates with you …good luck with your spring cleaning!

  16. joan stommen says:

    I love this piece, Lisa! I can examine, clean and let go most of the time. What’s hard is when the past keeps rearing into present day! Meditating and busyness helps…thanks for reminding me about balance…but that facing it is okay too.

  17. Lisa Froman says:

    I completely understand. Yes, work for balance– that’s the thing!

  18. Lisa, I’m so excited to see you on Carol’s blog. As always I’m inspired by your words. When I divorced 10 years ago, I knew it was important to understand why I was originally drawn to my ex. I wanted to learn and not repeat unhealthy patterns. And I did learn what was good and what was unhealthy.I am now in a relationship that is healthy. Understanding your past is important to knowing your present.

  19. Lisa Froman says:

    Connie, you and I have talked. Looking at the past with honest eyes makes it easier to move into the present– and future! Xo

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