The Courage to Delete
Turning over a new leaf. Clearing the decks. Cleaning house. Starting anew. A fresh start. A Pentecostal revival. Well, maybe not the latter. But spring is upon us…in fact it might have been upon us since December this year. At least in the east. More of a tug than a New Year’s resolution, and with more resilience, is the smell of dirt emerging under a layer of frost. It’s something to break through, turn over and plant us into. The autumn leaves have mulched, the winter has fermented them, and the spring will unleash their recycled fruits like our hopes until they bloom or perhaps wilt in summer’s melting rays.
Here’s a start: pull up your email boxes and do a blanket delete. What? Feeling naked? Exposed? Lonely? As if everyone you are in contact with disappeared with the press of a key? Rebooting de novo is indeed a scary prospect. But doesn’t it pull at you every so often? Purging offers relief. I do a search for all the typical names that pop up in my emails almost daily. Then I group delete them and, going a step further, delete them from (gasp) my trash bin. Now they’re really gone. For maybe an hour at least.
I admit it would take a lot of courage to delete it all. But what would we miss? We need to ask ourselves this question in order to justify what we retain in our lives. Our minds
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get as cluttered as our closets and those garages we use as storage units that haven’t seen a car in years. In order to be able to park anything new in our noggins we need to have a clearance sale.
There are habits we retain that we aren’t even aware of as habits. We benefit from more vigilance. Here’s a proposition: spend one entire day being totally aware of your every move. What are you eating? What are you watching? Whom are you talking to? We fail to realize that our every move is reflective of conditioning and a lack of awareness. It is a great enemy often choosing comfort over progress and recognition. Sure, we all agree we have habitual ways of doing things. We don’t necessarily see them as derogatory and not all of them are necessarily detrimental. How we make a cup of coffee, clean the house, take a walk, interact with others is all largely a product of rote and seems rather innocuous. Still, let’s try an experiment. Set one day aside and step back and watch yourself as if you were in a movie. See what might benefit from a deep cleaning, from a change. It can be a tiny shift in how we prepare a meal, being more conscious of what we put into our mouths and, most important, what we allow into our hearts and heads. We need to sew new seeds the way farmers turn over and till new fields. It leads to regeneration and avoids stagnation.
Are there people we need to release from our lives as well as habits that do not serve us? We don’t want to admit how fearful it is to move away from someone we have known for
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a very long time or, even more sacrosanct, a relative or child. The idea of obligation may be one of the biggest barriers to standing in our truth, a roadblock to honoring the self. We sell little bits and pieces of ourselves daily in the name of safety and of avoiding confrontation. In the end we compromise our own value and erode our self-esteem and soul growth in doing so. We remain tethered to the same tribes for fear of being ostracized. What we need to see is that sometimes banishment is the best option for reclaiming the self if we are selling out our truth for safety or choosing peace over truth.
So maybe start the spring solstice with a purge and a dash of awareness. No need to do a mass deletion unless of course that turns out to be a great option. But the unattended spirit will suffer if it remains unexamined under our patch of earth that remains untilled.
Our conditioning starts from the moment we take our first breath. But it need not continue until we take our last one.