On the way out the door to school this morning, my son tripped over a large garbage bag, falling at the back door. The garbage bag, half full of items for donation, has floated around the back entry for a few weeks. I feel like no matter how many bags, boxes, truck-loads of donations we make, there's still clutter. Where does it all come from? It's like a never-ending stream of junk.
I am grateful for the abundance, fortunate that my family doesn't want for anything. Except I want for something; order in my home, free from clutter! On house-cleaning day, everything gets put away and the house looks and feels clean, with room to breathe, move and easily find what I need. I feel relaxed, calm and more productive in a clean house. In between cleaning days, the clutter slowly creeps back in.
Sometimes I practice ignoring it, letting go, letting flow (insert sing-song voice). It's all good, I tell myself, no big deal. It's just my perception, I say, change it. That works for awhile, until a challenging day comes along and suddenly the clutter has me outraged, agitating my pitta mind. Toys on the floor, donation bags at the back door, books on the island, crafts on the kitchen table, all trigger frustration.
The simplest and most reasonable way to address the clutter is to deal with it daily, before it creeps through the entire house, piling up in the corners. This thought appeals to me less than ignoring it. This avenue requires discipline, a daily practice of housework, which holds little appeal and I can think of twenty other things I prefer to do, like more yoga, writing, reflecting in a cup of tea, editing my blog, musing about life...
As I address the clutter in my head, the constant stream of thoughts and mind chatter, with a disciplined, daily meditation or yoga practice, the clutter in my home, my life, must also be addressed; daily. My bohemian self may balk at the chores but that same self is happy to chant mantras daily at the moon, so I believe she'll survive.
"Joyful exertion." the Dalai Lama talks about. That everything becomes easier through preparation and improvement. So, I treat my day as a mom, wife, home-maker, writer, business owner and being much as I did my workouts when I trained. I organize my calendar and set up my routines, allowing, of course, for the all-important cheat day where I break all the rules for one day, allow the rebel full reign, jumping back on the wagon the next. Most importantly, I commit to joyful exertion.
A retreat is rejuvenating, a day off is delightful, a workshop is wonderful but if there is no daily practice to support the work, just like after the cleaning day, clutter slowly creeps back in. On a good day, it won't matter, failing to bother me, but on a challenging day, the clutter morphs into a monster.
The writing already done, meditation complete, breakfast and school drop off accomplished, I turn up the music, attack the laundry with vigor and the toys with tenacity. The bag at the back door donated, clutter disappears from both my mind and my home. Who knew folding towels could be so restorative?
Time for tea.