What’s the equivalent of “control, alt, delete” for Mac users? Although it’s been years since I rebooted a computer by hitting those keys, that phrase still comes to mind when it’s time to make a fresh start.
A few days ago our exchange student headed back to Australia, bringing to a close almost three months of “more-ness.” More boys in the house, more noise in the house, more food in the house, more schedules to accommodate, more experiences to squeeze in, more opportunities to create, more ideas to chew on and choose from.
At times there was more laughter, at times there were more parenting challenges. Through it all, there was more learning and growing and thinking, all of which fed a broadening of perspective for all of us.
I don’t want to delete a single memory. But my system needs a reboot. In my enthusiasm for Darcy’s $100 Day goal, I strayed from my own path a bit. Don’t get me wrong — being able to reward this child’s initiative and feed his curiosity was just as fulfilling and enriching for me as I hope it was for him. But that quiet mind I had been cultivating became increasingly chaotic and noisy.
Too many hotel rooms shared with teenaged boys wreaked havoc on my nascent meditation efforts. The dark, cold mornings of winter undermined my early riser habits. More time spent at boot camp classes inched out the time I took to run, which slowly dragged down both my stamina and the inner calm that had become my favorite benefit of cardio exercise. And my writing fared even worse than the rest of my routines.
No worries, mate (I tell myself). You know what to do. Go back to the basics. Clear out the clutter in your home and in your head. Shore up the foundations. Oil the gears and get the engines moving again. Patch the fissures in the infrastructure that supports my own and my family’s well being.
Food, shelter, mind, body, and spirit — all of these areas need targeted action. First stop, food.
On my drive home from the airport after Darcy boarded the plane, I was overcome by an obsessive urge to clean the refrigerator, which now housed a smelly collection of leftovers and unrecognizable odds and ends that had accumulated over the holidays. No trace remained of the sparkling shelves of healthy food pictured in my first post on mindful cooking several months ago.
Along with the lapses in mindfulness played out in my refrigerator, all sorts of Feng Shui principles were also being violated there.
Feng Shui is all about clearing spaces so that positive energy (chi) can flow freely. My overstuffed fridge, on the other hand, was nothing short of a creepy negative energy trap. I cringed at the prospect of even opening the door, let alone reaching into the produce drawer with my bare hands. Who knew what might be lurking there?
Food is the prime source of nourishment and health for the family, which is why Feng Shui places a lot of weight on the state of your kitchen and how you feel when you’re preparing meals there.
Carol Olmstead of Feng Shui for Real Life explains that “a clean, food-filled kitchen is the center of family life and a symbol of health and prosperity.”
Alice Inoue, life guide and Feng Shui expert, hints at downright ominous implications of fridge neglect: “Storing expired food energetically holds you in the past and drains you of the energy needed to live an inspired life. Keep the contents of your refrigerator current and create the energy to nurture the right opportunities.” Yikes! I’d better get to it!
I removed every last item from each shelf and drawer and chucked anything that wasn’t absolutely fresh. Moldy cheese, expired hummus, liquefied salad greens–I purged all of it, down to the last shriveled green bean and dried up parsley stem. I cleaned out the butter compartment and rubbed the smudges off its flip cover. I even checked the fading expiration dates of all the bottled dressings, sauces, and condiments (even the capers).
Each time I threw out an expired item or shined up a glass shelf, my head cleared a little bit more. Creating space in my refrigerator was the first step to regaining some space in my life. And since my goal is to live an inspired life and nurture the right opportunities this year, I’ll keep a closer eye on my produce drawer going forward.
What about you? How are you rebooting to make a fresh start with your goals this year?