I used to HATE tending to my house much the way some people hate exercise. Now I covet time to do the small, repetitive jobs that nourish my home because I feel fed in my soul.
This was a long time coming. I am certain it is largely because I made a conscious decision to see cleaning as nurturing rather than a chore. When I tend to my spaces I feel fed rather than drained.
I love Mahatma Gandhi and I watched this film like a student. A scene from his life that stays with me is when he and his wife got into a fight about cleaning toilets. I often lean in when there is conflict. A 5-time-Nobel-Peace-Prize-nominee fighting about something? I want to know what was worth the tangle.
The way I remember the argument, Gandhi’s wife didn’t want to clean the toilets. She was an important woman, married to a successful attorney. Cleaning toilets was beneath her. But to her husband it was a matter of principle that we all clean up after our own shit.
I use this ugly word on purpose. When we make it a daily practice to tend to that which is frightening or icky, the dark menace can’t stay so hidden in the shadows. We make friends with our shit in a way. Life normalizes.
I used to let messes stack up. I still do sometimes because life gets busy. But I am at my best – soulful and grounded – when I can do a bit of toilet cleaning (or dishes, laundry, paperwork…) each day.
I think Gandhi was willing to make a fuss about toilet cleaning because it’s that important. I feel better when I cook for myself and wipe up. It’s earthy.
I am a spiritual being living inside a physical body. My spirit comes alive and understands the world when I smell the sponge and notice it needs changing, eat an apple and offer the core to my dog to munch and sweep a floor and take time to carry a spider outdoors. Doing these things with repetition is my daily prayer.