“I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable… but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” Agatha Christie

When I’m frustrated or feeling like I’m just not getting anywhere no matter how much I’m putting into a project or goal I have to do something physical to improve my countenance. It’s a win/win actually because not only does my mood improve, but I end up giving my body a good workout or accomplishing something that’s been on the back burner for far too long. I’ll spare you the details of my latest frustrations, but the result has been Spring Cleaning – two solid days of it!

For five years I have been using my spare bedroom as a catch-all for all the stuff I don’t have a clue what to do with. And for five years I would work out the resolve to do something about it, tackling it for a few hours and then becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of the job once again – walking away and shutting the door until the next time the urge to overcome it resurfaced. For me clutter equals chaos. The times that I feel I have absolutely no control over anything I assume control over clutter. I’m of the mind that when one’s surroundings are ecstatically pleasing it is easier to work on and solve other issues. I’m happy to report that outside of a much-needed paint job, my spare bedroom is now free of unnecessary debris and it only took the removal of about (gulp) 20 garbage bags and countless boxes full of……well garbage. I have such a sense of accomplishment, and I have to tell you it feels awesome! This got me to thinking about how spring cleaning can be a metaphor for the struggles that come our way.

It’s so easy, sometimes, to succumb to the pressures that life throws at us and at times we think that no matter what decision we make or how we handle a situation; a new set of challenges will present themselves. It doesn’t matter which direction they come from, whether it’s work, debt, family, or key relationships we all hit those walls of ‘what the heck do I do about this?’ And when these life issues come at us from all these directions at the same time, as they often do, we can become paralyzed. Just as with spring cleaning, it is important to find the courage to tackle problems – specifically the ones that you can control. If it’s work, have you made your needs or concerns known to the appropriate people? If it’s debt, have you made an appointment with your bank to discuss consolidating your debts? If it’s family or other key relationships, have you had a heart-to-heart conversation with them? As for the things you don’t have the power to change….well they usually tend to work themselves out and if you can walk away with a lesson learned or a new coping strategy, it hasn’t been in vain.

I guess I write this, in part,  as an encouragement to myself for the concerns I am facing but I hope it also encourages you to take the bull by the horns where you are able to affect change. My life has taught me that although I can’t fix everything, when I take control of the things that I am able to act upon and I see the list of issues shrink down to a manageable size, I become re-energized and strengthened.

Are you struggling or overwhelmed by concerns? Which of these can you act on today? Take that first step, tackle one item at a time and as that list of issues shrinks down, you too, will feel a sense of accomplishment and renewed energy.