Shaking off the dust

First, let me apologize for yet another post about housecleaning. It is a large consumer of my time, and I find that it’s bringing up a lot of thoughts for me. Thanks for your patience.

The other day, our friend Dylan used the phrase “shake the dust off my feet” in relation to some work related thing, meaning “be finished with.” This being a rant on Twitter, he used the phrase and then had to clarify, but before he explained, I knew exactly what he meant. (Where does that kind of reference live in my brain, that I understand that? Anyway…) The phrase stuck with me, and has been rolling around inside my head for several days.

When Dylan used it, it was definitely an expression of exasperation. I will admit that it keeps coming back to me as I’m pulling boxes and bags and piles of things out of dark corners in the house, and discovering that they’re covered in dust. This whole house has always been covered in dust, and I have not been good at managing it. We have these funny pinkish marbled tiles, and of course, they just collect dog hair. Plus, we live near an arterial road, and have open windows and/or central heat that originates in the downstairs unit. And, as I’m sure you’re aware, I have a somewhat mixed relationship with cleaning. This was even more true when I was pregnant; I wanted things to be clean, but I had a really difficult time accomplishing the physical tasks necessary to get it done, and I became quite easily disheartened.

This time around, I have that same drive – CLEAN ALL THE THINGS! The surrounding circumstances are much more conducive now, especially with the new emphasis on letting go of and getting rid of things we don’t need. We have a lot of those, and every time I get a bunch of them sorted into boxes or bags or out the door, I find a new bit of empty space in the house that I can just clean, without ever having to put anything back into it. I like that a lot.

Once I get down to those places in the bones of this house that I am leaving and finally coming to love, I’ve found Dylan’s phrase in my head. I’m shaking, or more accurately, wiping the dust off, cleaning out, finishing up. As I’m moving us out, I’m seeing the things that Carlos saw in this house a year ago – the open space, the strong bones, the funny quirks of the Italian man who lived here for so many years. This totally makes sense to me now, in the context of the way we talked about balancing the energies of the home in my Shambhala home workshop: The spaciousness is heaven, the bones (architecture) is earth, and the quirks (The fireplace!) is man, and they’re coming into alignment, finally.

As I checked my notebook for reference from that workshop, I found two things I wrote down that are relevant to this post: “Recycling our emotional havoc into a receptacle of energy” – Someone else in the group said this, and it resonated very deeply with me as a path to understanding my housekeeping problem. The other thing I wrote down was a favorite saying of many people’s, from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche: “You can do it, Sweetheart!” Wise words, indeed. And words that I’ll keep filed in my head for the next time I feel disheartened about shaking off the dust.

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