Spring Cleaning

For more posts like this one, check out my new yoga blog: http://studentsutras.wordpress.com/

I’ve moved a lot over the past few years, and every time I move I’m shocked by how much stuff I’ve managed to accumulate. Unworn clothes, unread books, plastic shelves of all shapes and sizes, cardboard boxes from online purchases that I’m sure I never needed, shoes that I only wear on sunny Tuesdays, posters for my walls that I still haven’t hung, organic moisturizers, free t-shirts from charity walks, enough candles to host a seance… if you can name it, then I’ve got it. Actually, if you can name it, then I’ve probably got two of it.

Every time I pack up to move, I feel weighed down by the burden of all of this stuff, as if the excessive uselessness of everything I own is weighing on every inch of my being, even after I put the boxes down. (On the bright side, at least I feel virtuous for finally making use of those cardboard boxes.) And every time I move, I tell myself that I’ll stop shopping, that I don’t need any new clothes until 2027, that I need to start saying no when people offer me free things.

That’s why I find it so ironic when marketers manage to convince you (and by “you” I mean “me”, because I fall for these tricks at least as easily as everybody else) that in order to cleanse your life, you should buy more stuff. You need to purchase a $500 juice cleanse if you want to detoxify your liver. You need a different spray to clean your bathroom, sink, mirror, and kitchen, and a different detergent for your work out clothes than for your towels. You need to buy more plastic shampoo bottles to clean your hair, and a different kind of soap for your hands than for your body.

We seem to be caught in this paradox where we’ve convinced ourselves that buying more stuff is the only solution to having too much stuff. So instead of purchasing a fancy juice cleanse to detoxify my body, or a new set of aromatherapy candles to cleanse my mind, I want to spend this spring detoxifying from that which no longer serves me. I’ll give away the clothes that somebody else will wear more than I ever have. I’ll lend some books to friends, and if they forget to give them back to me when they’re done reading, then that’s even better. I’ll donate the Race for the Free T-Shirt shirts that I’ve accumulated over the years, and the shoes that I only wear on sunny Tuesdays.

But even more important than physically reducing the amount of material stuff that is cluttering my room and clogging my mental space, a spring detox cleanse is an opportunity to rid oneself of everything that is no longer serving oneself. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is still carrying around a few rusty relationships, and I know I’m not the only one who holds onto habits that I could (and should) do without.

Cleansing yourself of toxins doesn’t mean that you can only drink green juice, can never have a sip of wine or a bite of chocolate, and must start doing backbends to wake yourself up instead of drinking coffee. What about toxic thought patterns and toxic habits, like an addiction to Facebook and Twitter, or a self-deprecating mantra that you’ve been subconsciously reciting for longer than you care to remember?

Losing weight doesn’t have to start with fat cells, and spring detox doesn’t have to start with a diet. Whatever you’ve been holding onto, now is a perfect opportunity to let it go.

For more posts like this one, check out my new yoga blog: http://studentsutras.wordpress.com/

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