Posted in Mental Health, Reflections

Spring cleaning a cluttered mind

Cropped Photo: Mural street art - Montréal, October 2013 Cheryl-Lynn Roberts
Cropped Photo: Mural street art – Montréal, October 2013 Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

People seek counselling for different reasons.  There are times, it is to get support in making changes in one’s life such as changing a habit, recovering from an addiction or transitioning into a new life such as separation, new job, new school or college, major move and yes even positive change like becoming a parent or getting an amazing promotion.  Change takes its toll on us and we need guidance for a brief time to learn how to walk in this new environment.

Crisis counselling is often brief and solution focused to get you through a difficult time and help you manage day to day. 

I won’t go into all the types of counselling, there are all sorts that use a combination of various theories but this post is to reflect a bit more on spring Cleaning. I call it that because it is what we are accustomed to this time of year. Perhaps it is tied into Lent and Passover but it does serve a purpose.

When I talk to a youth, I sometimes compare counselling a bit to cleaning out your bedroom closet or your dresser.  I don’t know if you are like me, but when I am spring cleaning I make a few piles.  One pile to “trash” one pile to “examine” and transfer to “keep” or the other piles;  another pile is to “give away”. The last one means the clothes are still in pretty good shape and a shelter may benefit with these clothes. The trash one rarely gets a second glance unless I am obsessed with that old sweater I bought 28 years ago to mark my start back at university as a mature student.  I always bring it back to the “keep” pile.

The “examine” pile is the one that takes the longest to get through…good Lord, it can even pull on the heartstrings for a while. I often dawdle on that one…geeez, sometimes that pile stays there for a few days.  So spring cleaning one particular room thoroughly can take up to a week…really!  Maybe that’s why there are 40 days in Lent.

Counselling can be like that a little and I try to explain that to youths and young adults.  There may be a pair of jeans for example you had saved so much money to buy but is 3 sizes too small now. You stroke your hand over the smoothness of the fabric and go back in time when you looked in the mirror of the dressing room of that boutique and how proud you felt for that purchase.  Okay, I kept 3 pairs of jeans like that too and put them in a box and stored them in the basement for years…yep! And last year I decided to eat healthier…okay, I stopped binge eating and stuffing myself with those scrumptious poutines and ice cream.  And that is a good example of holding on to some things.  Why do you?  Is it something that you may need or want later in life?  Those jeans were an incentive to eventually take care of my physical health which actually improved my mental health…my self-confidence soared…you can just tell by the way I was walking…when self-esteem increases, I start strutting on the pavement with a purposeJ

          So back to those piles of thoughts, feelings, memories and interpretations you have on your past.  If they are eating at you and are useless, they may need some further examination, clarification to process and then let it go…trash pile. 

         The keep pile is like holding on to your values and sometimes they are new and improved values, they belong to you and not your family of orientation. Of course, they may be similar and some are exactly the same…those are part of your foundation after all. But the difference is, they may be tweaked here and there to adhere to your core values; the majour change is YOU want to and not because it is the “family thing to do”.  Does this make sense?

          You are on a roll now and clearing up a lot of that clutter, so it may be time to give away some of your good stuff…the information that may have guided you to get to this place right now.  You can now pass along some of the wisdom and teachings to someone who may happen to need it and is ready to receive it. There is always a student of life who is searching for a mentor, a guide, a sage and some sound advice to get move forward in life. 

This post has been inspired by a post I read this morning:  When The Student Is Ready by Dorothy Chiotti for a writing exercise I had done earlier as well, this week, By George I finally get it.

So that is how I see some forms of counselling and  since it is almost Spring…time to declutter (made up word)  the closet of your mind.

Incidentally, when I do any form of cleaning like the dishes (yep, I even get some out of the dishwasher to wash my hand as it gives me time to ponder, reflect, work out some issues in my mind…put it at rest) and any form of housecleaning offers the same impact. Taking long walks, washing dishes, making my bed, knitting, crocheting, doing some ritual in a slow and contemplative manner IS meditation to me…for me.

What rituals or routines do you have to sort out the cobwebs of your mind…organize that clutter?

The Cluttered Mind

Any clutter

causing turmoil,

attempt to toil

and scrub keenly

rinse liberally

wipe cleanly

look gingerly

It’s Spring!



Remove the mess

missing calmness

too much there

too little where

it really counts


Futile movements




sight see

in your chi!


corners and  inspect

under crannies




do not tolerate

things that loiter

fester and disintegrate

left with useless rubbish

causing souls to tarnish,

losing life’s clear luster;






can be daunting

awful or amazing…

times even

hair raising…

Feeling outrage!?

don’t dispirit

seek a sage,

catch the culprit

of doom

and gloom

and misery!

trash the felon

forever gone !


Now, there’s room

for finer things

like hope and love

long-lasting peace


… and,


© Cheryl-Lynn,2014/03/16

Inspired by: 

Check out this blog and you will not be disappointed with her creativity and wisdom inspired words.  When The Student Is Ready by Dorothy Chiotti

A previous post at Cher Shares   By George I finally get it. 


A little bit about moi: I am a mom, a nana, a sister, a woman, a friend, a human being…a youth counsellor, Family Life Educator. I have been working in the helping profession for over 25 years and volunteered in various capacities from youths to seniors. Tournesol is my nom de plume for haiku and other Japanese form poetry here at Tournesoldansunjardin I hope you enjoy reading through my daily waka. I also have another blog "Stop the Stigma" where I may stand on my soapbox now and then and hope it will become a place to drop in and share or comment on issues important to you. In that vein this could be a great way to learn from each other. Namaste!

10 thoughts on “Spring cleaning a cluttered mind

  1. You know I have never put forth a ritual to clean out the cobwebs or do a spring cleaning of the mind. That sounds like something that I might have to start doing . Wonderful Idea.


  2. letting go/holding on could be an almost inexhaustible exploration I think I have a Spring cleaning mood all year long. Great thought-provoking post.


    1. Thank you for your comment, Michael. Then you are one of healthy mind and spirit. We should actually do this regularly…I suppose if I was better at this, my home would be squeaky clean 😉 (grins)


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