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Archive for November 28th, 2012

Cleaning is so therapeutic … and messy!

Over the past months I have been cleaning and purging all through the house. I have gone through a storage closet, through the garage, through all the children videos and DVDs, through a hall closet, a bedroom closet. Each time I begin cleaning sneezing soon begins to happen. The amounts of dust is directly related to the amount of time since I last cleaned that area.

When I clean I am thorough! I take everything off the shelves and out of the spaces, and I go through every container, every item, every box. I often separate items into one of three piles:

keep
give away
throw away

Usually I am shocked at what I find. I find treasures that I forgot about, ones that bring such sweet memories back. I find other things I had forgotten about that I am not so thrilled to see again, or surprised that I had kept them in the first place. There are things that still fit perfectly, and other things that I cannot imagine how I ever squeezed into.

And so, I organize, I get rid of and I dust.

When it is all done I am usually a dusty mess! It takes a significant amount of time and effort to really clean a space. I feel such relief, such pride that my efforts have paid off in such a visually rewarding way, when I stand back and admire my work.

I am sure we all have similar boxes on shelves … and I am sure that not all of them are physical boxes.

As we grow and change we take fragments of our life, and pack them into boxes, which we then set upon shelves, to do nothing more but gather dust. Sometimes the things in those boxes are so painful, and bring back such heart wrenching memories that we allow the dust to settle on them for years so as to avoid having to face them again. Sometimes the things in those boxes topple into our lives unannounced and unexpected, jolted from the safety of their cardboard homes up on that out of reach shelf, and they surprise us with how much we do remember, but had pushed away so long ago.

When those most dusty of all the boxes in our lives get forced open and their contents strewn throughout our present life, we realize that it is impossible to pack them away forever. We realize that the things we want to stay in the past are actually attached to us as we walk through each day. They are the silent, invisible yet powerful forces that guide us in our decision-making. They guide us in whether we:

repeat the past
run from the past or
learn from the past

We think that we have put the boxes so high, and closed the door shut tight on the realities of the foundations of our lives, but they were never packed away, we have just been living like the ostrich who hides his head in the sand to escape the realities of his life. And like that ostrich, our heads will one day need to come up for air, and face the realities of our lives that we have been hiding from.

Each of us will, one day, need or be forced to take the dustiest boxes down from the shelf, and dare to look inside, resolving that no matter how much time and effort it takes, we will clean up the contents. We will need to decide:

what to keep
what to give away
what to throw away

Cleaning is so therapeutic …. and messy.

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