Before/After, Happy Things, and 7 Days Ketchup. PS. This Got Deep

21 03 2011

I mean catsup (spell check wants me to change that to “Datsun”. Seriously). I mean catch up.

After two weeks of intense Spring Cleaning, some friends came to help me move some stuff around the living room. The furniture was not only too heavy for me, but I also don’t know things like How to Put a Computer Back Together. Besides those important details, I wanted to focus on energy. I wanted to change the house to get a different energy flowing. I wanted friends to help me accomplish that. Despite my deep love and craving for ritual and ceremonies, I also am a strong believer in the ritual of Just Doing. In other words, the simple act of these amazing women coming and helping me was a ceremony, their mere acts of love in moving things around for me did plenty of energy cleansing without ever casting a circle or saying a prayer. That’s not to say circles or prayers aren’t necessary – they are – but they aren’t the only way to do spiritual work.

And did I mention that our ritual-less ritual happened to happen on the full moon? Indeed, the SUPERMOON! which was, in fact, incredibly startling even though I’d been waiting weeks for it. Despite the fact that by the time I got to my good camera, the moon was already high enough that the size difference is entirely unnoticeable in this photo, I had to take it anyway, just to mark the occasion.

Happy Thing:  SUPERMOON

Over the last years as I struggled to learn who I am in terms of clutter and mess, I’ve bounced back and forth between trying to Embrace the Mess and trying to Exterminate the Mess. I felt chaotic bouncing back and forth, but it’s taught me what I can and can’t handle. Kid messes? Can totally handle. Messes from art or baking? Yup. Clutter squirreled away in every tiny crevice and corner? I cannot. It saps my sanity and energy. Over these last years I’ve discovered I don’t truly hate cleaning, in fact I find it spiritually cleansing to have clean and organized corners and shelves. The act is cleaning is, in fact, inseparable from the act of spiritual cleaning.  What I do hate is the endless mess that follows me around, taunting me and making it clear I’ll never be done.

In the process of these last weeks, I’ve cleaned dust from nearly every corner. And I don’t mean just a layer of dust. I mean dust cakes. It’s such a metaphor for our marriage. Wipe down the surfaces, ignore the deep shit and pretend it doesn’t exist. But it does. And it grows yuckier by the year.  But now it’s gone and I’m clean. And to be honest I can’t say it will never build up again (by the way, now we are speaking of literal dust. I dropped the metaphor without telling you – sorry about that). I was never taught how to clean and, frankly, it’s something that’s difficult to learn since there aren’t many self-help books that teach what should be obvious to people like: Clean the top of your fridge. Dust off cords once in awhile. Instead I have to figure things out slowly, noticing one thing at a time until I’ve built up a good repertoire of mad cleaning skillz to keep things in order. But I’m at a good beginning place. Things are almost entirely organized now, clutter is practically non-existent, and I’m 13 years ahead of where I was when I first moved out of my mother’s home in terms of knowing how to clean and also in knowing what I want out of a home.

And so here is the before, taken in December, and the after, taken yesterday.

7 Days: Day 6 (Peek Into My Chaos)

7 Days: Day 2 Looking Down on My New Space

I knew it felt cluttered before, but not until I visually compared the two was I able to fully realize how very claustrophobic the house felt before. And, to be clear, this is not the only reason we could no longer live together, but it is relieving – for both of us, I’m sure – to be able to breathe freely in our own very different styles. To be clearer, that second photo is somewhat bare for me. There are a couple pieces of furniture I hope to afford in the future, and something needs to get put up on the walls soon. But the cleanness is just very Happy.

7 Days: Day 3 (Ostara)

And today? Today is Spring. It is the time of new beginnings. Ostara, the Vernal Equinox, is the time when the day and night are perfectly balanced – one of my favorite times of year. I love balance. I thrive in it. It is my sanity, my hold on to Life itself. Today I balanced on giant rocks. Granite which is the very foundation of my home. Which, through countless years of erosion, is gifted to us in small glimpses of the solidness and slow power of Ground. Despite the bitter cold in the air and the morning’s downpour, these rocks radiated with gentle warmth from the sun. They feel of power and strength, the masculinity of Mother Earth exposed. Each time I encounter one I am amazed how spiritually filling it is simply to touch it.

Happy Thing: Sitting on a Sun-Warmed Rock

And so I’ve cleaned out the corners of my home and Spirit, and I’ve balanced myself between outdoors and in. And now let’s enjoy the flowers and the breeze for summer’s on the way, a time of warmth and light and sun and life. Blessings!

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5 responses

22 03 2011
Karen

Beautiful! So beautiful. Your joy at clear skies and a clean home fills me with satisfaction and makes me glad to be part of your journey. Blessed Spring, dear.

22 03 2011
bethany actually

For what it’s worth, the main reason my house ever gets really cleaned is because I move every couple of years! I did learn how to clean as a kid, though, and it’s just one of those things that never, ever gets DONE. There is always more to do. Which, in a way, is kinda cool as a metaphor…there is always work to be done in life. It’s not over till you’re dead. And even then, there’s a discussion to be had. 😉

22 03 2011
ZebraBelly

Good one. Two thoughts. Firstly, on this life – I think many Americans are led to believe that we are entitled to free time. And we are, but not to nearly as much as we expect. Humans, historically, have have to work hard just for daily life. In many ways we have a lot of this work done for us these days (to what effect on the Earth and our health is a whole other discussion) but we find even MORE ways to avoid basic daily work. Humans are typically fastidious, busy animals. I think to break that tradition will tend to have negative effects on a person. Secondly, I LOVE what Madeleine L’Engle has to say (Bonnie, YOU are quoting L’Engle? HOW UNUSUAL!) on Heaven – she says she believes it’s not just golden streets and endless vacation, but rather more of us doing God’s work. That clicked with me when I first read it and I still feel it’s very reflective of what I believe.

24 03 2011
Katie

Having arrived after much of the stuff was moved/gone/etc (except the furniture, of course), I didn’t realize just HOW big of a difference all the moving had made. To see it visually like that must feel SO empowering. Makes me want to do something very similar with my house, though I have a lot more house to deal with. But the energy in your room just looks so different now, and I feel so happy to have been a part of helping you achieve that.

7 05 2011
Begone, Scary Monster Eyes and Six-Foot-Tall Spiders! « Z E B R A B E L L Y . C O M

[…] for the house, I still get a thrill of happiness when I walk in and see my lovely living room, neat and […]

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