“Hello, my name is Kevin, and I have trouble getting–and staying–motivated.” –Me.
“Hi, Kevin.” –the room.
Not just recently, but all my life. From the time I was a little boy, if I could find a “something” I was passionate about–drawing pictures, building with Legos, playing the violin–I would pour 100% of my focus into it, until I became exhausted by it and ultimately, bored. I had to learn to balance the short-burning fireworks of passion with the fire-pit maintenance of pragmatism.
I struggle to this day. Doing so has made me reluctant to try new things, or make old things “fun”. If I can’t master it, be perfect at it, why bother? Am I doing it right? Rather than tackle the Big Ticket Items on my “This Sucks To Do” list, I opted to make a mundane (and oft despised and maligned) weekly task “interesting”, at the very least…and (dare I say) “fun”.
I present to you, “Kevin’s Guide to Mindful House Cleaning”…this is totally about spirituality, I swear. Stick with me.
- Make a pot of good coffee.
- Put on some music (Pandora is a good place for this) that will flood your home and your spirit with creative energy. I don’t care whether it’s Mendelssohn or Foo Fighters, so long as you really like it.
- Sixteen seconds to presence (courtesy of davidji.com). Sit, cross-legged on the floor or your couch. Put your hands on your knees or your thighs. Close your eyes, open your ears. Inhale through your nose and nice slow and full breath. Imagine what that breath “looks like” as it fills your lungs. Imagine it filling your body, fumigating all the inner dust and crap you’ve got in there. Imagine the breath is getting rid of 99.9% of all bacterial toxins–emotional and otherwise–inside your body, your “soul’s house”. Hold that breath for just a few seconds…allow it to sink in past the surface and do its work. Release the breath, through your nose, slowly and completely. Doing so will purge those mental and emotional toxins. *And–if you do this and visualize what you just learned, I guarantee that for at least 16 seconds, you won’t be thinking about anything else. Welcome to awareness. Now…
- Discover. Start with your favorite room, and dust or clean off surfaces first. As you do it, be mindful of what you’re doing. Phone off, television off. Trim away the fat of distraction. Be aware that you’re cleaning out old, spent and tired energy from the space to make room for fresh energy and creativity to grow. It’s like weeding a garden or pruning a bush.
- Once you’ve cleaned and dusted that room, and all the old dust has settled (think all the old thoughts, old energy, old and no longer useful shit), take out your vacuum and vacuum that space. Imagine as you’re doing so, that you are ridding your space (hence, your life, your mind) from the useless crap and detritus (love that word) to make room for what’s newly important in that space.
- Discern. Take a look at that cleaner room. Is there anything else you could do? What needs to be organized? Where exists clutter? Would that object look better over there instead? What would you do differently here? Is there a small change to this space you can make, right now, that will make you smile and give you happiness and contentment? This isn’t about purging or throwing objects away–it’s not “Spring Cleaning”. Think of this as a way of organizing and prioritizing your space so it becomes a way of inviting the best energy for “newness” and peace possible. It’s about arranging, making your bed, lining up your shirts on hangers, folding things, moving furniture, etc.
- Direct. This part’s easy. Once you’ve identified what you’d like to do to that space, no matter how small…Do it. But, do it with presence. For the hour or two you’re doing this, turn the phone on silent, unplug–just let the music play to keep you company. I promise, whatever “it” is that seems urgent–isn’t. It can wait until you’re done taking care of you, and your space.