In the days leading up to Passover, as we clean our homes, and on a deeper level reflect on the toxic habits and character traits of which we wish to rid ourselves, I am reminded of just how interdependent our physical and spiritual lives really are.
About three weeks ago, my husband and I moved into our new home (Yay!). With only a bed and a table, we were tasked with turning our apartment into a home and preparing for Passover in just under three weeks. From finding storage space for piles of sweaters, scarves, sheets and blankets to asking friends to borrow their car so we could tovel our dishes and pick up furniture, from building dressers and desks into the wee hours of the night to communicating with a multitude of craigslist sellers at all moments of the day, we’ve been absorbed into the mission of building our home.
In the midst of this exciting and at times stressful endeavor, we both were struggling to find a connection to Passover. We were frustrated that during a time when most of our friends were getting rid of things, we were accumulating things. We were annoyed that while others were cleaning, we were building. And we were sad, sad that our apartment didn’t yet feel like a home.
How could we get into the Passover Spirit if we didn’t even have a home to clean?
Often, we associate cleaning with getting rid of things. We give away clothes, re-sell furniture, cut off toxic people, and let go of destructive habits. However, unless we get to the root of the issue, we are bound to re-accrue those same clothes (maybe in a different style and color), build relationships that echo the toxicity of the past and find new harmful habits.
So then what does it mean to truly clean out our closets? How do we actually free ourselves from spiritual and physical yuck and muck?
Maybe rather than doing a superficial clean, we need to dig deeper. We need to focus on prevention rather than symptom management. And instead of using Passover as a time to just pick out the weeds, we should use it as a time to build and create the structure to keep the weeds out.
And so what we thought would be our biggest obstacle to getting into the Passover spirit has turned out to be a huge blessing. By building a home together, we have the opportunity to create a foundation and build a structure upon which I pray good things spring forth. Reflecting on the intention of each purchase we make and meditating on the vibe we are looking to create in each room, I feel as though we are creating a chametzproof home (although no home is truly chametz free).
As we continue to slowly create a physical home, we are most certainly creating a spiritual one too. I have learned, and continue to learn, that as much as I love to clean and get rid of things, I also must invest in the art of building and creating things. For how can we truly change if we are not equipped with the right tools, structures and vessels?
Wishing all of us the strength to not only toss out the toxins but to be our own architects, shaping spaces that help us to become the people we yearn to be.