Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson

April is a month for spring cleaning.

This year, in particular, April is an opportunity for us to open the windows and sweep the dust out the door.

Many of us have been closed up for over a year. We have been nervous about going places, afraid of getting sick or spreading a virus to others. After a year of staying at home and avoiding other people, the door is opening slightly and allowing us to look outside. We are eager to get back to the lives we left behind last year, but there are things we need to do to prepare. April is a month we can spend preparing.

Spring cleaning is our way of getting ready for life to return.

Some of us need to clean out the fear and anxiety we have had about illness and death. We have taken so many precautions and tried to protect ourselves and each other in so many ways. Many of the habits we have developed are good. We probably needed to be doing them before we started. Washing our hands and taking contagious situations seriously make sense.

The fear which caused us to overreact, to hoard things like toilet paper and cleaning products is something we can clean out of our lives this spring. We need to be smart, paying attention to science, not paranoid.

Our spring cleaning includes committing ourselves to make reasonable decisions.

Others of us need to clean out our assumptions we will return to “normal” life. It is easy for us to assume the lessons the last year is teaching us are temporary.

We like to divide our world into before and after the pandemic. In our minds, the vaccine signals the end of the pandemic, and we can go back to living the way we did before it started.

The lessons we are learning from the pandemic are, though, lasting ones which will change the way we live. Some parts of our lives before Covid-19 are not coming back.

Many of us have lost people we love, lost dreams and careers we cared about deeply, lost expectations on which we depended. None of these will magically reappear, even when we believe the virus is over.

Our task now is not to restore our lives exactly as they were before the virus emerged. We are cleaning and sorting, assessing what we continue to need and what we can discard.

Each of us needs to take time and reflect on what we want to clean out of our lives this spring. What have we gained during the last year which we want to keep? Are there lessons which will continue to shape our lives during the next year?

What are the fears and assumptions and habits we would like to clean out of our lives this April? How is this April different from last April, and how will we make next April different from this year?

Gradually, slowly, many of us are returning to some of the practices we enjoyed before we came into contact with the virus a year ago. There are again places we can go to taste great craft beer and enjoy talking with our friends.

I encourage you to explore the craft beer opportunities which are available to us this month. There are places open now, at the beginning of April, and more which will be open before the end of the month. It is not an April Fool’s joke.

Set aside some time this month to try something new again, find some great craft beer to taste, and reflect on the spring cleaning you will do this April.

Clear away the dust and cobwebs which have built up over the last year and clean house. Wash the windows and get everything ready.

Happy April.

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic life. Greg has served as an assistant district attorney and an associate university professor. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk. You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com, and he writes a blog for the Contemplative channel on http://www.patheos.com.

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