Spring cleaningBy Chit Roces-Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Everything and everyone, sooner or later, has got to go. Sometimes, you yourself initiate the parting, which, with spring cleaning, happens in a general way. You sweep and throw away clutter, things that have outlived their time, to let fresh air blow in, in preparation for a new season in your own life.
My own spring cleaning, this year, was inspired by a White Elephant Sale for our Earth Day celebration this month at the little forest we, the all-women Winner Foundation, built in Arroceros, the only one of its kind now standing in the heart of a city. I weeded my closet and baul, pulling things by their roots to ensure absolutely no future growth, and sometimes it hurt.
My last previous spring cleaning had happened only a few years before, at the headquarters of Makati Garden Club, a partner of ours in some environmental and charity endeavors. It was then that I discovered how insanely attached I was to my old stuff. Unwittingly, I bought some of it back.
This time around, I got rid of my old wardrobe, convincing myself not to wait for fickle fashion to come around and bring it back. Besides, fashion isn’t the only thing that has changed: My own old body feels and looks strangely new. Anyway, it does feel good to see some space in my closet and know that the clothes hanging there actually fit.
At this age, I have found it easier to come to terms with realities—realities not only about my shape, but also about my feelings, which have a way of showing in actions and words that could only reflect the values and philosophies that have grown on me.
I’m sometimes mildly, but not regretfully, shocked myself to discover what I have become. I tend to gravitate toward kindred company, and at the same time distance or divorce myself from people to whom I cannot or can no longer relate. With certain others, I don’t even have to do anything; they simply drift away.
Two to make peace
I must say, as with old favorite clothes, it’s not easy with old favorite friends, although between friends it’s easily instigated—it takes only one to make war, but two to make peace. And at this late age, when war is made, it may be time for final spring cleaning.
Rude goodbyes from old friendships are not easy for me to understand. But Dad has always set me straight, even now, through his wise and happy ghost: “Kiddo, the world doesn’t owe you an explanation.”
I have continued to seek all the same, and now feel to have found something, stumbling upon the Eastern philosophy of karma. It has given me not only relief but also a wider and deeper view of everything and everyone, including myself.
The beauty of karma is that it doesn’t judge anyone, not even ourselves. It has provided me with a perspective that allows me to move on—and move on feeling wiser and happier and grateful for the grace of serendipitous discovery.
This is for me the time for resolving issues, for coming to terms with life and relationships without fear, believing that what will happen will happen for the best—or why should nature allow it to happen at all?
I have been brought to the realization that it is only within one conscious life at a time that we are given the chance not only to become the best that we can be, but also to enjoy life’s wonders.
That’s perhaps why Dad clung on to life so fiercely, while others seem to have lost their very appetite for life and all that it can yet offer—a veritable state of ingratitude and discontent.
A dear friend has a simple explanation for ending her marriage: “I don’t want to have to say, please love me.”
Indeed, it’s an attitude I can appreciate in any relationship.
Goodbyes feel unfortunate only for the moment. In the long run, it becomes clear that the person was never really meant to stay any longer; that, no matter who’s the initiator, a relationship ends for the good of both.
And when that happens, it would be a signal for one to undertake spring cleaning, take stock, make an inventory, count blessings.