Cleaning Up

I am sitting here watching a little bird pick up small pieces of weed and straw from our yard’s dodgiest location, the dog yard. Now I know that the little bird will create a wonderful nest out of all these scraps. It is in a sense recycling all the little bits to create a wonderful nest for its eggs and eventually its baby birds. As much as we all try, it is very difficult to keep our own nests tidy and recycle things. It could be a full time job.

When I was younger, I was often very critical of homes where yards and houses seem to run to rack and ruin. Why did they let those vines, creep over the entire front porch? Why was the broken bicycle allowed to disintegrate in the front yard? What was the deal with all the broken pottery on the walkway to the house? Even though I have more time as we are Sheltering in Place, I still can’t get rid of the feeling that I am not keeping up with the growing list of items to clean, replace, repair, repaint. And Now as the weather is getting dry and afternoons are breezy, I will have to contend with dust as well. Lots and lots of dust. I feel like I am becoming one of those people.

On Saturdays, I usually pick some larger projects like painting a small space, organizing something or getting rid of stuff though at this time that’s a little tough because the places I would like to donate to are closed. Still, I do have a lot of ideas.

For long time, I was reluctant to part with anything because it all reminded me of our old life with it’s abundance of travel, meals out, the parties, the entertaining- never on a small scale, spending way too much money on crap that I didn’t need. It is still hard to look at photos of that time. These, too, are stashed away in boxes.

Many of my decisions in life have been driven by fear. Once I discovered that I was my own worst enemy, attracting more bad luck by worrying about every little thing. When you have experienced a lot of traumas in your life, you tend to fall off the ledge pretty easily. It can get so bad, it is debilitating. One evening while sitting on the couch cocktail in hand, I thought for a minute ” Right here, right now, everything is ok.” This was a revelation to me. I discovered a quote that I love. It was written by Julian of Norwich, a medieval Christian mystic, ” All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” I now have this tattooed around my left wrist. Occasionally, I still freak out, but now, with practice, I am usually am able to talk myself off of the ledge

Weirdly enough, cleaning, tidying, painting, any sort of results driven activity will help me turn my thinking around. Anais Nin had a great quote about tidying up which has really resonated with me because I get it. I have to paraphrase because I don’t remember the exact quote, but something to the effect of “When I cannot bear outer pressures anymore, I begin to put order in my belongings….. As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects.”

Right now, I have some time to do projects. I have found working from home a wonderful respite from Daily commutes and 10 hour work days. I just hope that I will keep my motivation to keep tidying up and moving forward when we all return to our somewhat routine lives.

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