Pretty In Punk
I know I am not alone here in saying that fall is my absolute FAVOURITE season. Hands down. No competition. But my love for it goes beyond the aesthetic and weather.
Despite leaving education 13 years ago I have never been able to shake the academic year calendar - perhaps I'm just not meant to - and as a result fall is my 'New Year'. I feel the most alive, energetic and optimistic around this time; and consequently it has (at least post-education) typically been the time of year I make the most life changes. I have ended relationships, left jobs, and moved city/country/continent. I haven't always started something new, but I have always shed something old. For as long as I can remember it has been my season to purge.
Like a lot of people I try to clean what I can once a week, and perhaps do a more extensive clean and reorganisation once a month. I like everything orderly at home because I'm a visual person - both chaos and clutter affects me negatively, a lot - but I also find that physical disorganisation prevents emotional or mental order. Granted, having all the herbs and spices organised in the kitchen isn't going to keep the blues away entirely or prevent me from becoming understandably upset if something traumatic happens; but on a day to day basis I am offered more internal clarity and order if the environment I'm in is shipshape.
As within. So without.
In the weeks running up to the fall equinox I complete my most comprehensive clean of the year; and after decades of practice I like to think that my process is almost perfect, or as close to as it can get. It begins with the least glamorous but most freeing part: a thorough rid-out. What have I used? Of those items, what do I use the most? What items don't I use at all? Of those, what don't I need anymore? I don't skip over anything, physically holding each item in my hand and asking myself if I need or want it. Of course I lie to myself all the time and it can therefore take many attempts (i.e. years) to hone the honesty needed to complete the task properly; but by now, having started this process as a child, if anything I rid myself of more than is necessary. The truth is I find de-cluttering to be so damn therapeutic.
Next up comes the reorganisation of all that I kept from the rid-out, so that items I use daily or otherwise often are accessible. What do I use on a regular basis? What can be put away til next summer? What needs to be in arms reach of my bed or desk? What can be kept free from dust in a box until next use? Whilst the initial rid-out is completely exhausting and takes (what feels like) forever, the reorganisation helps me to relax and often comes so intuitively that it's relatively quick and painless. Of course, this part only works if I've completed the first properly, otherwise I'm just moving clutter from place to place, all of which will be continually getting in the way.
It's no surprise that my energy flows undoubtedly much faster and with ease when the physical space that surrounds me supports my day-to-day tasks rather than hindering. Remember, I don't like complications. I like simplicity. I like practicality. I like purpose. I like intent. If something is at odds with this it will disrupt me a lot.
Throughout the process of ridding out, de-cluttering, reorganising and tidying I clean. I dust, vacuum and wash everything and everywhere, physically moving all furniture to get into the areas that never see the light of day, but sure enough collect a lot of dirt. I wash cupboards. I wash doors. I wash windows. I air every single room thoroughly, letting the stagnant air and energy leave, permitting that which is fresh to come in. It is a long and arduous process that takes days on end, but the sense of achievement and satisfaction felt at reaching the end makes everything worthwhile.
It isn't easy, of course, and I don't want to downplay the exhaustion because it is intense; and moreover, it's not just physical exhaustion from the labour, but an emotional exhaustion from revisiting memories and sentiments. It can be extremely hard to open various boxes or look at certain items, but it's a necessary part of the process and provides me with much to reflect on.
Sometimes I forget how I reached this very point in life. I forget what gives me energy, and what drains me. I forget what scares or inspires me. I forget where I came from and where I want to be. Often the mundane routines completed day after day, the struggles faced on a regular or irregular basis, and the terrible traumas suffered leads me to overlook what I have achieved, that there were positively enjoyable and exciting times, and that somewhere inside I dream for more. This reminder, in fact all of these reminders, are essential in helping me to remember MY purpose and intent; and only in knowing this can I make any informed decisions on what I do or don't want to do in life. Hence, the life changing decisions made.
This Wednesday (6th) we have September's full moon, which is the fruit moon. This moon is all about preparation, encouraging us to tidy up loose ends and get everything shipshape in preparation for the harvest and oncoming winter hibernation. It also reminds us that we have to be smart, not only with regards to academia and employment, and that we must find our internal focus in order to do so. Here, I like to think that "smart" refers not to ability or intellect but the acronym SMART* which helps us to be as successful as possible in all areas of life, including that which is personal. In fact that combination of being prepared and smart is, in itself, a winning combination: "the best preparation for the future is the present well seen to".
If we allow ourselves to be enveloped by it's power, Wednesday's full moon will provide all of the energy we need to complete the above. In fact, the full moon in general is the perfect time to aid us with both preparation and completion. I go into more detail in my post on the "full moon fire", but the element fire can help generate enough physical energy and sheer determination to complete essential tasks, especially those we might not like doing. It's also great for assisting with the preparation of something and leading it to fruition. I know that I, for one, will be tapping into fire's energy under the full fruit moon to get all of my affairs in order, create the perfect nest at home in advance of winter's hibernation and propel myself forwards into a brand new year.
Photo by: Sarah Pflug
* There are many variations of this acronym, including:
S - specific, significant, stretching
M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable