There is a life I dream of. It is pretty close to the one I have. However, in that life, my home and office are a bit more organised. I can somehow see the big picture of my days more clearly and I have time to enjoy my hobbies. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I am constantly running out of time. I love being a working mom. Moreover, I believe that the key to happiness is the practice of gratitude and of contentment – being content with what we have… Yet, there are moments when I wish I could sit down, breathe and feel like there is some space for my creative self. This feeling has been growing lately into a desire for a major decluttering of my home and office. This sudden desire shouldn’t really surprise me…
An ancient tradition
Spring is coming or, for some, Nowruz is coming. Nowruz, which means ‘New Day’, is a three thousand year old Persian tradition. It is the celebration of the New Year in Iran and some of its neighbouring countries.
The Iranian calendar starts its year on the Spring Equinox, in alignment with the moment when nature renews itself. Prior to the twelve day celebration of Nowruz (which represent the twelve months of the Iranian solar calendar), there is a tradition called ‘Khaneh tekani’.
Moving stagnant Qi
‘Khaneh tekani’ is literally translated as ‘shaking the house’, but another translation could be spring cleaning. I love the idea of finishing a year by letting go of all that is unnecessary in order to allow space for a new beginning. ‘Shaking the house’ could be likened to a Qi Gong technique named: ‘shaking like a tree.’ In this exercise, we shake our body to move internal Qi. In the theory of Chinese medicine, wellness relies on the free flow of Qi and of blood circulation. Therefore, this exercise not only releases stress. It also benefits our sinews, tendons, lymphatic system and general wellbeing.
Similarly, spring cleaning removes clutter, which is stagnant energy. ‘khaneh tekani’ thus generates a movement of Qi in every corner of our home to create a fresh, clean and healthy environment. This exercise of moving our surrounding Qi must have a beneficial impact on our mindset and general attitude. After all, it is as if we were gifting ourself a clean slate, a new start…
In terms of gardening, this would be equivalent to taking weeds out of the garden in springtime so that new plants can grow and thrive.
A spiritual new year
When I was a child, Nowruz was always accompanied by the sweet fragrance of hyacinths. To this day, this beautiful scent brings me back to the dining room of my childhood home. I can still see myself, too small to reach the colourful display of sugared almonds placed yearly next to the ‘Haft Seen’ – seven symbolic items put on a tabletop as part of the Nowruz celebrations.
Iran may be an unknown country to me. Persia may have no land to its name. Yet, this year, I feel called to acknowledge the arrival of a ‘New Day’ that has been celebrated for thousands of years and to follow a set of traditions observed by ancestors I’ve never met…
This spring may not be the beginning of the calendar year I know. However, the new shoots on our neighbours’ cherry blossom trees indicate that nature is awakening and renewing itself. To me, this new season feels like the start of a spiritual New Year. I am preparing it with a thorough spring cleaning of my home and office, but also of my thoughts, habits and intentions. It is time to let go of anything delaying the life (I dream of) where I am a fulfilled working mother who feels she has ample time and space to sit down, breathe… and enjoy some fun and creative pursuits. Truly, that very life might just be around the corner, in this ‘New Day’ to come.