Food for Thought - Purification
Purification might seem an odd topic for a month so strongly associated with boxes of chocolate, but its significance stems from the root of the word February. Like so much of our language, the English word February is derived from a Latin word. The Roman month of Februarius had the festival called the Februa or the Februatio festival, which took place on the 13th to 15th days of this month. The festival was one of ritual purification. Maybe this was the Roman way of detoxing after the holidays? A jump start on spring cleaning? Did it rain a lot at that time of year?
The festival typically involved washing or cleaning, with the idea of gaining purity. The purification might have been with water, as bodies and homes were scrubbed. Or with fire, as sacrifices were offered to the gods to expiate the sins or the germs of the home, or even of the city. The purification might have been the soulful sort, involving praying, fasting, and meditation, with the idea of atoning for one’s sins and thus purifying the soul.
As February unfolds and the New Year’s resolutions fade into memory, the idea of purification might be a good way to regroup. The process of cleansing and purifying can make one feel light and free. Imagine how good it would feel to finally clean out the junk drawer or not feel guilty about forgetting your friend’s birthday. Consider this a month of purging and cleansing, when you get rid of all of the things that don’t bring you joy.
Five ways to purify your life in February
1. Clean up and organize that one spot which really bothers you
Maybe it’s your desk, or your laundry room, or the spot where your kids do their homework. Whatever it is, think about how good it would feel to make that spot look like it belongs in a magazine photo shoot. Set the timer on your phone for 30 minutes each night this week. Spend that time cleaning up and organizing your spot. The feeling you will get is worth a few hours of your time.
2. Ask for forgiveness if you need it
No matter how big or small the issue, if we feel guilty about something it can sit like a heavyweight. It is so hard to ask for forgiveness and it is a huge release to get it. Just do it.
3. Cut out refined sugar for a month
You will be amazed at how light and free you feel, and at the glow of purity which radiates from your face. It will be hard as heck for at least the first 10 days but if you can muscle through it will get easier. By day 30 you will think you are looking at your younger sister in the mirror.
4. Let go of any grudges you might be holding
This isn’t always easy but your soul will be light if you do it. Struggling to figure out how? Simple breathing and visualization exercises can assist. Try this one that I have used often. Sit in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes.Close your eyes and spend a minute or so just listening to your breath flow in and out. Call to mind a picture of the reason for the resentment you are holding inside - the time your least favorite work colleague cut you down in front of your boss, the time you came home from a long day to a sink full of dirty dishes and a husband ensconced on the couch. Whatever it is that makes you angry, call the image to mind. Look at it and acknowledge why it makes you unhappy. Then picture a nice, new cardboard box. The box is open and it is empty. Visualize your grudge going into the box. Now picture yourself closing the box and sealing it with packing tape. Hear the sound of the tape peeling off the roll and feel the box under your hand as you press the tape down. Now picture yourself picking up the box and placing it on a conveyer belt that is running away from you. Stand there and watch the box move away from you. Watch it until you can’t see your grudge any longer.
5. Purify the air in your house
You don’t need to buy another device that will clutter up your space and require maintenance. An inexpensive, natural way to clear your air is to buy a few houseplants. Google will give you lists of common houseplants that actually filter toxins out of the air. My favorite is, of course, February’s own Birthday Blossom®, the violet. The violet doesn’t just give you the pleasure of beholding a beautiful plant. It cleans your air while doing it.