At home for example, we’ve just had breakfast and we are headed out for the day. Each of us has showered, washed hair, groomed in our respective ways. We’ve cleaned up in the bathroom, to make space for the next visitor. We’ve washed up the breakfast crockery. Cleaned down work surfaces. Even washed the car windscreen for the drive ahead.
In our human lives we clean and tidy other things too, constantly – we seem compelled to keep order, space, a standard of existing, room to ‘be’. We tidy rooms, dust, vacuum. Clear garages. Windows are cleaned, inside and out, so that we can see the world more clearly. Cars get hosed and washed, waxed and polished. Gutters are cleared. Furniture gets realigned, wiped down. Gardens get tended. Old shoots are clipped away, grass mown and neatly edged. Leaves swept. Yards and paths are brushed and ‘broomed’. Toys are cleared up after use. Children’s faces wiped. Partially consumed foods are repackaged and stored, wrapped, clipped, boxed in a plastic container. All aspects of our selves and our homes kept clean and ready for re-use.
Our places of work are tidied too. Factory floors, office corridors, desks. Electronic storage is deleted, archived, filed away in folders. Physical storage too, books, articles, paper, reports. Each evening the cleaners arrive to ensure the place of work can function, efficiently, effectively the following day. Processes are run to ensure a state of commercial readiness. Billing, order processing, overnight processing schedules, backups and archives.
Even relationships get cleaned up. Apologies made. Gifts bought. Farewells said. Hugs offered. A good ‘let’s talk this through’ often used to clear things up for the next leg of the journey. Friends are remembered, some are forgotten. In social media we follow and unfollow, friend and unfriend to keep our electronic worlds clean and tidy for the next visit.
We are even learning to clean the planet.
But still the mess comes. More to tidy, more to clean.
Yet, there seems to be a focus on the exterior.
Our outside and the places it inhabits, works, moves to and through, all get attention. Our connections to others on occasion.
I wonder about our insides? Our memories and beliefs that we drag with us through life, limiting our potential, creating worry and angst. Our way of being. Our hurt, our shame, our grief. Our patterns of thinking and acting that run on automatic and serve us poorly now? When do we spring clean those?