Spring Cleaning

Chai. It’s been an extremely busy couple of days. The energy from [our] “That’s ESTHERtainment” Purim Show still hasn’t left my mind, body, soul, bones so I’m making quite the use out of that. And I suddenly remember why I try not to memorize every show’s full text that I work…because it doesn’t leave my head….

Next subject: Passover. This year will be my first true experience attending a Passover Seder and reading the (chosen) Haggadah. I have not had a chance to open up and read them yet, but I downloaded Kveller’s Haggadah and Jew Belong’s Haggadah that they’re giving away for free.

Among the many, many, many email newsletters that I subscribe to, I received an email from “Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability.” The email I refer to comes from Nigel.

He starts out by saying to (start Purim night) cleaning out everything–attic, basement, garage, kitchen, go through anything that needs to be gone through. Then he mentions once you’ve started that, then journal. Here’s what he writes about that: “Now the question is – what is the mental gunk I need to get rid of? What stops me being free? What stops me being who I truly am? What am I needlessly afraid of? What are the things I waste my time on?” Going directly into talking about the 11 weeks of enslavement up until Shavuot, then freedom, accepting the gift of the Torah.

He talks about it beginning with Purim, how getting drunk and reading the Megillah is supposed to shake up our masks and identities to confuse and challenge us. He writes: “Who am I really? What are the masks I wear, and why, and do I need them, do they serve me? What’s the difference between who I am and what I do? And we are shaken up like this so that we can start to get rid of our chametz. Not just literal breadcrumbs, though those, too. But all the gunk in our homes, and our bodies, and our heads.” —– Those are such wonderful questions that people in general need to ponder every day, and reach an agreement with God and the Universe to work through the answers.

He says don’t wait until Passover to start the cleaning….because we consume so much sometimes that we can become extremely overwhelmed and become slaved to all we do or think or our clutter.

I realize that technically prep for Passover takes place in your kitchen. You rid of all leavened and flour-filled foods, but as one who rarely spends time in the kitchen, I am considering this my spring cleaning time. (It’s also part of my ‘I’m doing things differently this year because what I’ve done in the past doesn’t work and I keep repeating the pattern thinking it’ll turn out differently. Nope. I’m changing.)

As I am picking back up adding one or two more things to my calendar every day, I know that my free time will soon end, especially after Passover… so I am definitely taking advantage of “downtime” right now to clean. I’ve started with my email. I had over 2000 unread emails… unsubscribe, read, answer, delete or put away in “to keep forever” folder. Daunting task, really, but it needed to be done. Next project I will move on to going through clothes, books, all writing material, more computer stuff (websites, blog entries I’ve written in the past 15 years, memories, photos) and so on.

I am already feeling a little bit better and I can feel becoming creative again and some sort of clear-mind, even though I’m on another route of my life… becoming extremely OCD with to-do lists. I need to make room for all the fun things I want to do and have fun with for creativity…. like opening up a business to sell my art/creative work, publish books, be free to experiment with whatever I want to do in this lifetime… and I can’t very well do that when I am being a slave to my own clutter.

On another note, there’s a bullet point in a book I read (don’t remember which one, now I’m going to have search to find out) but it says if you’re in the middle of doing something, keep a piece of paper next to you for all the thoughts that you have while you’re doing that important task. You won’t forget the thought, but you won’t be distracted from what you’re doing. Holy cow, it’s working.

Judaism–and our people who write emails like the one I’ve mentioned–really makes a person think and want to change for the better. That’s why I’m here on this journey. I think that my journey is supposed to change me for the better. The light captured me and brought me into this secret world (it almost seems like) where my world is becoming better and richer than it’s ever been… but it’s not that simple: one has to work for it, be the change, accept the change, and live the change. I’m on that work journey—the heart, soul, mind, body, everything.

Tonight I don’t have my Jewish class, but tomorrow TBE is having a special two class journey and I have written an email of interest to join them. The first class has to do with prayer, and that’s something I really need to work on… so I’m excited! Another class, another learning experience…and one step closer!

Love Always,
Karen Maeby

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