Spring Cleaning

By Lisa Garber

We are all familiar with the idea of spring cleaning, right? At least when it comes to our homes or cars. But what about our mental homes? What about the clutter that clogs our minds, our thoughts and feelings? Cleaning out the clutter of our minds is every bit as important as cleaning out the gutters. When I was counseling at an alcohol and drug rehab center, we taught our clients the importance of cleaning out the emotional and mental clutter to stay sober. We called it making amends.

Mistakenly, we sometimes think we make amends to others so that they can feel better. But really, we make amends so that we can feel better. We do it because when we swallow our pride and apologize, we rise up out of darkness and into the light. We feel as if a weight has been lifted. Whether in recovery or not, the weight of the unspoken apology can really color one’s mood. To practice mood hygiene, we really have to be vigilant to keep our minds clear of the clutter of pride or self-righteousness.  Making amends clears that clutter and scrubs us clean.

How to do it? Start by making a list. Am I carrying anger or resentment towards anyone?  Did I behave in ways I am not so proud of with anyone? (Like the parking attendant I blamed and swore at when my credit card wouldn’t work. SO not his fault!) Then think about how to make amends. Can you go and actually apologize? Can you make the wrong right? If not, if it would make things worse, then pay it forward. Give thanks and appreciation to someone else. Or even donate some money or clothes in the spirit of making amends.

There is always a way to clean up the leftover mess of the winter that is sitting in our mental closet. Be inventive. (I might just send an anonymous box of chocolates to that poor attendant with an apologetic explanation.) Spring is all about the return of the light. Let the light shine through your newly cleaned mind and into the world.


Lisa Garber is a Life and Leadership Coach and author of “Becoming a Mother on Fire: How to be a mom without losing yourself.”

www.mothersonfire.com  or amazon.com or amazon.ca


She lives in Toronto and is rushing out to buy a box of chocolates immediately.



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