I have always wanted my home to be a place where people could stop by and I wouldn’t be worried whether there were dirty dishes in the sink or my bed was unmade. I want people to visit, have something good to eat and immediately feel comfortable. I want my home to be the place you say, “Ahhh, I feel better now!”. My home is my oasis, my sanctuary, or as I like to say, my little Zen Den.
I dedicated Sunday to cleaning my Zen Den; a chore I actually enjoy. Magazines often feature a “ten minute clean up” which essentially means you hide dirty dishes in the oven and toss your clutter into the closet. It looks good on the surface but lies in wait for your attention to return. I’d rather keep things neat as I go reserving the big jobs for the weekends.
The first room on my list was the kitchen. I can no longer ignore the smell belching from my refrigerator every time the door opens. Some odoriferous army must have secretly invaded while I wasn’t looking! My baking soda and white vinegar rinse wasn’t sufficient to disarm them so today I will resort to the big guns: an apron, rubber gloves and hot soapy water.
Thoughts of the week run through my mind as I wipe down shelves and dispose of the expired items. It occurs to me that not only do I have a physical home to maintain, even more importantly I have a spiritual home to maintain. Pretty profound thinking for a sober Sunday afternoon! As Oprah would say, “It was a tweetable moment!” (I don’t tweet but I like you to think Oprah and I hang out.)
I call my spiritual home “my Soul” for lack of a better word. SOUL sounds so pretentious and as vague at the same time. My Soul is my emotional engine and the home of My Girlfriend Voice. It is where my wisdom and intuition hang their shingle. To keep my Soul healthy, I too need to keep it clean!
My Soul feeds my emotional state as my frig helps feed my physical state. While you could hire someone to clean your kitchen, you cannot hire anyone to clean your spiritual home. No outsourcing this inside job! Ha, ha. Cracking myself up with again…….
The shelves of my Soul can get sticky and filled with useless items. My Soul’s chilly crisper drawer can hold onto negativity and grudges. Or like today, my Soul can shine bright and smell like lemons!
So what do I mean by the maintenance of the Soul?
- Do you pause at least daily to memorialize what you are grateful for?
- Do you pause to evaluate what made you feel exceptionally positive or present?
- Do you pause to review what made you feel yucky?
By yucky, I mean those times when you feel uncomfortable, when you are in a messy spot and while you’d rather not go there, you know you NEED to go there. Avoidance, like hiding dirty dishes in the oven, only delays the inevitable.
Being uncomfortable is an alarm alerting you that there is something important requiring your attention. You can choose to ignore the alarm, hit the snooze button or jump OUT of your comfort zone and deal with it.
When one of these emotions arises such as anger, jealousy, resentment, hopelessness……..it is an alarm going off! The alarm is saying, “Clean up in Aisle Seven!” Dig a bit below the surface and see where this emotion is coming from. What feeds the alarm?
Are you making assumptions? Looking for validation? Not seeing your self-worth? Exerting control?
Taking ownership of your emotional inventory and how you operate is a lifetime responsibility but there is a huge upside to this commitment. The more time and attention you put into understanding your emotional engine, the more efficiently you will operate! You create more time and space for the experiences which make you happy. You let go of the things that don’t serve you well.
Does this make sense? You can’t drive a car without gas and tune-ups so doesn’t the way I operate in the world also necessitate regular maintenance checks and fuel? AHA! Dang, I think I am on to something here.
Taking care of everything and everyone while neglecting our Soul leads to burn out, fatigue, resentment and ultimately hopelessness.
As I dance around my clean kitchen, ecstatic with this personal revelation, I realize that not everyone is even interested in this topic. It takes courage to change your behavior. It requires a higher level of consciousness.
So the next time you feel that you have been shamed, humiliated or exploited etc., ask yourself WHY you feel this way. Spewing those “you” statements is a big fat clue that you are in the badlands of negativity and you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Time to wake up! Time for a clean up!
I don’t like everything I discover when I look into my Soul but I own it. I like that I am willing to share my experiences and hold myself accountable for my actions. I like that I am relatively fearless when it comes to these intimate explorations. I really like the results of “cleaner thinking” as it has cleared space for the relationships and experiences I value the most.
I hope you will consider stopping by my Zen Den. You are welcome anytime, but for your own safety you may want to arrive after 8am, unless of course you are baring warm cookies and fresh coffee!
From the heart,
Editor’s note: “Clean Living” photo by Chris Plavidal via D Home Blog