In my house picking up or cleaning up has been often known to go something like this. “Honey, will you please clean your bedroom up?” and my daughter who is like most “11 going on 20” year olds will say, “Mom! I just did that yesterday!” Okay! So I go downstairs and low and behold the room is indeed in a state of dishevelment.
I was writing the other day about an important aspect of spirituality. About keeping the spiritual shelves clean, about clearing away the garbage so that you know where to find those touchstones when you need them. The idea to write about that came to me from a conversation I had with my daughter. When you’re a Mom, you have these conversations with kids (and sometimes husbands) all the time.
In the attempt to get our kids in the right state of mind to keep their areas picked up I had told our daughter, “Moving something from where it doesn’t belong to another place it doesn’t belong is not cleaning up!” And she got it!
This actually works. De-cluttering works! Everything having a place works! In your real house, in your emotional house and, as I wrote about the other day, in your spiritual house.
In the real house aspect of things. If you don’t know or have a place for something to go. Make a space. Or if you need to add another shelf. If everything doesn’t have it’s place then it gets tossed from all the places it doesn’t belong to all the other places it doesn’t belong. We know what this looks like physically. It’s that thing you come across about 20 times a day and it seems it moves all on it’s own to various parts of your house, popping up where you least expect it. Time to de-clutter!
If you want to find a glass and on that shelf is a bunch of boxes of Tea, bowls, spices and vases it’s a whole lot more difficult to see the glass! A place for everything and everything has it’s place. Life become so much easier!
It is great to have a memory box or memento box, but if the box of memories turns into a room then you need to either add on or take a look and see if you’re utilizing the memory box the way you thought you would. A memory box is great, if you use it. Maybe now is a good time to use it and go through it and see if those memories are really as important now as they were when you saved it. If not, it might be time to use the circular file! Hang on to whats important and give it a place of honor. Don’t hide it in a mass of clutter where even when you look for it you may not be able to find it.
When we take the de-cluttering to the emotional realm we need to know what emotional clutter looks like. It looks like is something being rehashed over and over, like sideways anger or emotions. It’s the same clutter showing up again and again because we don’t know where to put it. Sideways emotions are just emotions that come bouncing off the emotional shelf when we put something where it doesn’t belong. Emotions are not meant to be a destination they are meant to guide you to a great life! Making sure that your emotional house is in order, that you’re being guided by the right emotion, and knowing where to put that emotion back is really important. If you are living a life of Emotional Babylon then you most likely try to shove regret up onto a shelf anger is occupying. Anger gets pushed out into the world because it doesn’t have room on its shelf. If you are sad and you put sad on the shelf of shame or guilt then shame or guilt come out. Organize! Stop and think, where does it go?
Remember there is a circular file for other people’s garbage. If it truly isn’t yours don’t put it away on your shelf you’ll bump another emotion out onto the floor! This happens a lot. No one is perfect but most of us want to be as close to perfect as we can. That requires feed back. It requires either us noticing or someone else noticing that we weren’t. I don’t know about you but in looking at times things have been pointed out vs. times they haven’t, I far prefer someone lets me know if I’ve missed the mark on something I have or haven’t done (or learned for that matter). When you’re thankful for an opportunity a difficulty or a challenge puts in front of you it is easier to address what’s going on and then put it away. And if you know where to put it away, those other emotions don’t fall off the shelf and out into the world.
Keeping the house clean emotionally and physically doesn’t have to be that hard. It’s as easy or as difficult as we make it out to be. All it takes is knowing where everything goes. And wanting a clean house! And who doesn’t want a clean house????
©Adrienne McLeod 2011