Clearing Out the Old

I took a few minutes this morning to clear out my winter clothes and put them away. Gratefully! So glad the cold weather seems to be gone. I pulled out (unearthed) my summer things and, as always, found delight in forgotten garments. Pretty spring colors brought a smile to my heart. I’ll find a place to put them after the rest of the winter stuff gets stowed away. In the meantime, there are heaps of clothes here and there. As a Virgo, this is disconcerting to say the least. Yet, life goes on and my time dedicated to the garment shuffle was limited this morning.

I made coffee and homemade cookies and my brother stopped by. Nice! We sat outside in the lovely spring weather. We walked around the yard looking at all the irises in bloom. I noticed that there were a few mums that I had not broken off last year’s dead stalks. After my brother and his dog Simon, took their leave, I went out and started to break off the dead stuff.

I vigorously went to work braking and pulling dead stuff.

It didn’t take long before I realized I was pulling up the new sprouts with the old stuff. I had to slow down. I had to look before I yanked. I had to discern what was dead and what was alive. As I started getting rid of the dead stuff, the new growth and the new blooms just seemed to pop and look alive! They already were alive, but they were lost under the shroud of the dead stalks.

So, too, we have things die in our world. Old dreams. Old relationships. Old careers. Old perceptions.

So, too, it’s important to look before we discard the old. Is it totally dead? Is there new growth to nurture? Is it making everything else in our world look grim and dried up?

Instead of vigorously attacking what we are getting rid of perhaps a better approach would be rigorously. Using rigorous attention to the task at hand.

As I was breaking off the old mum stalks, weeds could be seen. I had to pull the new growth apart so I could get to the root of the weed and pull it out so it would not regrow. This rigorous attention allowed me to remove the week while leaving the flowers undisturbed.

Whether you are just cycling through seasonal changes or you are taking out aspects of your life that have died, take your time. Look at the good stuff first. What’s good and growing in your life right now. Identify and nurture those things. This will grant you energy and strength for the task ahead.

As you look at that which remains and must be removed, check to see if there lies any value left. Sometimes, in our moments of distress we tend to rip out the good stuff along with the unusable. We tear out the flower bed of our hearts and leave it bare – where weeds will soon take over.

Instead, apply that rigorous attention. Recognize the value that might remain and remove only that which is truly dead. Remove it gently. Remove it with honor. It served its purpose. It lasted as long as it could. It blessed in its own season.

Clearing our old heartache may seem a more difficult task. Yet, with honor, rigorous honesty, and gentleness, that which no longer serves can be pulled out of our awareness. Then the new, bright, joyous flowering moments of growth can flourish. It, too in its own season.

Brock Brown