I usually experience the energetic surge to evaluate, purge and stretch my comfort zone in the fall. September is my New Year – characterized by the compulsion to examine my clothes closet, my bookshelves, my waistline and the files taking space in my mind. All through the lens of three qualifying questions: does it bring me joy, is it aligned with my life purposes, is it necessary? This year I’m feeling the need to do a spring cleanse. I am evaluating my daily routines, my cotton sweater collection, and my personal and professional focus. And sensing an urgency to modify or remove the pieces that no longer pass the litmus test of value.
I do not embrace the practice of spring cleaning my home. Snow is clean and the mud is frozen. Instead, I meander in and out of rooms – measuring the natural light, the layout and furnishings and the impact of the surroundings on my mood and energy. As I am embarking upon a new writing project I am searching for the optimal space to establish my creative nest. Having found it in the loft, I enlisted help to wrestle my beloved beige chenille chaise from our bedroom, up the narrow staircase with the hairpin turn, to a perch looking out over my valley. I have everything I need, just not in the right spot. The side table fashioned to look like books on a shelf – repatriated from my son’s bedroom, will hold my morning tea and mid-afternoon double shot coffee, my note book and lap top and a lamp I found in the basement. I have a crocheted pillow for my back and a gold fringed blanket to keep my bare feet warm. Curating the appropriate space for my creative project is critical to the success of new daily discipline.
I am sharing the loft with an exercise bike, weights, yoga mats and putting green. They all serve a purpose – though less frequently than a few months ago. I now leave the house and go to a gym once a week. This new component of working out with a trainer adds intensity and variety to a stale regime and dormant brain. The challenge of the pulleys and straps hanging from the ceiling, doing leg lifts on a human stretching machine with oversized springs, and managing squats while balancing on a partially inflated rubber half moon are drawing muscles out of hibernation and testing my capacity to learn new exercises.
My seasonal purification process includes a review of my coaching practice. Overzealous during the latest Covid wave and avoidance of April I am now juggling emails, a relentless list of telephone interviews, and zoom scheduling nightmares. The alignment with my life purposes is tenuous. I toggle between the ego feed of a rich coaching session and the mental and emotional drain of too many clients. I am sensing the imperative to streamline my roster, practice vigilance in setting boundaries, and reflect upon how I invest my energy.
I have discovered a true source of joy in volunteering at a community-based agency. For three hours I think of nothing other than being present and receptive to the participants needs, and dancing when the music goes on. Last week, needing a cape for super-hero day, I found a blue tablecloth in the kitchen and tied it around my neck. The silly hat bag provided the appropriate feathered headgear to complete my outfit. As SuperGail, my superpower, I decided, was that I could make people giggle. There are no judges, no comparisons, few filters. The abandonment that accompanies spontaneity feels delicious.
This appraisal is coming as the pandemic morphs into an endemic flu that we will live with. The barriers to socialization, shopping, cultural events, life celebrations, and in person working are down. I’m observing that my community is still hesitant to drop their masks. I’m hearing that offices are open, with few sitting at desks. I’m noticing that I know more people with covid now that at any other time in the history of the disease. I’m aware of the headwinds to freedom as I embrace my coming out, slip one of too many shapeless grey knits over my head, and grab my pink N95 mask.
I am choosing to create my “new normal.”
At least, that is my experience.