I don’t think we do Spring Cleaning in the way it was done years ago. I remember a lovely great aunt, indeed the wonderful lady who rescued my mother and brought her up (that’s a story in itself), who did it all the traditional way. She lived in a very old cottage with no running hot water, or bathroom and no electricity, but boy, was everything clean, scrubbed and tidy. I can see her now, a petite figure wrapped in a flower-print ‘pinny’, sleeves rolled up, hair tied back and ready for action.
Heavy fabrics, rugs and carpets would be taken to the back yard and beaten with terrifying ferocity, while the old copper boiler in the scullery bubbled and heaved with linen and anything that would withstand the rigours of that wash-tub. I was very young, but the memory remains of the smells and heat of the laundry and I loved it.
Maybe I’m showing hints of my OCD tendencies but I find it curiously pleasing to see lines of clean, white sheets drying in the wind, or neatly stacked piles of ironed clothes. My friends may laugh at me, but I think it’s a natural human need to clear space and impose some kind of order. It seems to be a national obsession now to watch TV programmes about room and house makeovers, which to my mind equates with the need for Spring Cleaning. We love to have things clean and tidy.
So, if we have a need to create clarity and order in the world around us, what about the clutter we carry around in our heads? It’s just as important to find clarity of thought and get rid of all the unnecessary and untidy emotional baggage that weighs us down. Other women will understand this one – when we pick up a fairly substantial handbag we don’t notice the weight, but if you’ve carried it around all day it starts to make your shoulder ache and you curse the fact that you didn’t empty out all the unnecessary ‘stuff’ that seems to accumulate without you being consciously aware of it. We do the same with negative or unnecessary thoughts and memories. We often carry them around and they lay like thick dust over the shiny polished surface of our true selves.
Exercise, yoga and meditation are all great ways to clear the mind and of course (sorry to bang the drum again) self-hypnosis. It is so easy and simple to learn self-hypnosis and when we practice daily, we not only find the mental clarity, but we function more efficiently, physically and mentally.
Helen Craven treats at our Notting Hill centre on Wednesdays from 17.30-21.30
View Helen’s therapy schedule.