“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
This expression is commonly known, and often used. The reason for that is because it TRUE. Or at least it feels true to me.
Recently I finally broke my funk regarding getting to yoga class, something that is difficult for me at times given my work schedule. I took an intermediate class with my Yoga Teacher Training Yoga, Tarra Madore, at Smart Asana yoga. I'm picky about my yoga classes because I can't go often, so when I do, I want it to be the way I know to be best for me. Her classes always do me well, and no matter how long it's been between sessions, I can always fall right back into the flow. 200 hours of teacher training comes back just by showing up in my case.
I took the class and it energized me like you wouldn't believe. I know this is always how it goes in my body. It's really just a matter of schedule often, so if anything there is a desire to go always. Anyway, the class really broke open my stagnancy, and so that night I was buzzing. I got home and dove into DEEP cleaning my space. We are talking inside and out, all the corners, nooks, and crannies. Every item dusted, lots and lots of purging.
I'd like to share some of the experiences, and practices, I employed during this motivated push to bring my cleanliness closer to Godliness:
“Take out the papers and the trash”
(From the song Yakkity Yak)
Oh my, my, my, the purging.. Purging feels SO good. This practice is one of the most effective ways to shake things up in your energy field, which can lead to massive bursts of creativity, productivity, and inspiration. All said and done, during this cleaning spree I got rid of over 100 pounds of clutter and misfit belongings. As I clean I really have a conversation with myself and the items that I surround myself with, asking “Do I NEED this?”, “Do I USE this?”, “Do I WANT this?” and so on. If I feel the answer is leaning towards “no”, I get rid of it by either throwing it out, gifting it, donating it, or selling it; as long as it gets out of my space. In this recent purge, I parted with a larger number of things I've held onto for a long time, such as trinkets, books, decorations etc. It can be HARD to do this, especially when things carry sentimental value, but at the end of the day, you have to live with and haul your own stuff in life. This is a good time to ponder on what you are hauling that you don't really need, or want to haul any longer. This is an exercise in anti-materialism, as well as an exercise in making room for new things, as old things are let go. All of this, no matter your approach, is extremely healthy as a practice.
The health benefits a deep cleaning are immediately noticeable. The improvement of the air quality, being one of the most obvious. When I cleaned the area my bed is in, I was shocked and somewhat appalled at what I saw. Under the rug my bed rests on there was SO much dust, dirt, hair, and you name it, that I could feel my skin itching once the open air of the room was exposed to it. I am not a filthy or lazy human, so I do clean, I just don't always empty the room and perform a full on extensive cleaning. The rug itself was taken outside and hit with a broom, sending cloud after cloud of dust and crumb buildup into the air. It was gnarly. It got me thinking that every time I plop down on my bed, there was likely a burst of this dirt fusing with the air in a puff of allergic, inflammatory unpleasantness. Needless to say, it was a downright pleasure (for myself) to know that this was now clean. Dirt, dust, and manner of soot has an effect on your health. For me, it's allergies, and skin irritation. God forbid there is a hint of mold anywhere, which is fairly natural depending on your location, the health effects can be pretty radical. People with mold sensitivity can be thrust into full on sickness as a result.
The point here is to keep a clean space to maintain a sense of supported health. If you are a singer, public speaker, performer, or anyone really, clear sinuses (sneezing / congestion) or vision clarity (itchy eyes) are important physiological aspects to have functioning and comfortable. One would hope for an air traffic controller not have their vision impaired by itching or tearing, for example. Stevie Wonder would have a hard time singing if his hotel was moldy and he developed a throat irritation as a result.. and so on.
“You've got to move it, move it..”
One of the other positive things about doing a deep cleaning is exercise!! I was running up and down stairs with each trip to the dumpster, while carrying a twenty pound bag of odds and ends I was discarding. I was on my hands and knees in a tabletop position scrubbing the floor, using my arm and ab muscles. I was walking all over the house for even hours at a time with each cleaning spree session over the course of three days. I was sweating, not to mention that it was fairly warm out those days, so I was extra sweaty. So cleaning is a great way to be physically active! Just the movement alone is valuable. With more movement comes more energy, more inspired rest (cleaning takes a lot out of people!!), and an improved sense of self.
It feels great to let go of old, energy-stale items, and it feels great to revel in the feeling of a freshly cleaned space.. the literal “vibe” of the room shifts and, I feel, is noticeable for sure. I always relax easier and sleep deeper the first night of post-cleaning. Additionally, consider how nice it is to locate missing items, to return borrowed ones, and to really reconnect with cherished keepsakes. All the feels. Even the way it feels to throw out those pictures of your ex, or to throw out a broken lamp that was cherished, and unable to be fixed. Yes it's broken, or it's gone.. so let it go. Make room for the new things in your life.
I Challenge You..
Do it. Clean, clean, clean.. purge.. purge.. purge.. Can you, reader, select no less than five items to let go of?.. Can you select ten?..fifteen?.. I got rid of thirty books alone this past cleansing spree. And at least three hundred pieces of random, loose, or outdated paper.. If you think about it, you'll find things that you are willing to part with. Consider, “Do I use this?”, “Do I need this?”, “Am I holding on to this because I may need this?” Have the conversation with yourself and your things.
Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness Revisited
The reason I feel this is a true statement is because I believe that a clean body, clean environment, a clean set of tools etc., all promote optimal creation. For chemicals to be synthesized exactingly and to the specifications of a formula, there must be no contaminants. For paint to apply smoothly, the brush needs to be free of dried paint residue. You get the idea. God/dess are all about Creation; and so, as creators ourselves, the more easily we are able to create, the more like the Goddesses we become.
I hope this blog inspires you to take some action. I never get sick of the feeling a good deep clean leaves in my mind and body. My nose, eyes, and throat are certainly a fan of clean air, and my eyes are in favor of not looking at a cluster of “stuff” piled on tables, and my mind enjoys the peace of walking into a neatly organized and sorted space. In a life where we are all so busy, and where we can all use the extra energy and bandwidth, take the time to blaze a trail once in a while, and that small investment will pay out in dividends. The one hour it takes to clean up your workspace will inspire far more hours in quantity doing what is meant to be done in a workspace, creation.
Why? Because the energy is not going to be stale; the canvas won't have mail piled on it, the paintbrush glass will have fresh water in it, and most importantly, the space will feel loved and with purpose. That may seem like a bit of a hippy-dippy notion, but I feel it's true. I can always tell if my workspace is happy and alive, or depressed and bogged down. The proof is in the pudding. Am I actively creating in my work spaces or am I not? If you are creating in a haphazard workspace, the other question is how much more efficiently, or with more ease could you be working if the space was tended to. I guess it all comes down to your personal progress. I'm sure many geniuses work in messy laboratories and studios. I have to wonder though.. were they creative because they were messy or were they messy because they were creative? And what would it be like to be able to create no matter the circumstances or environment?.. However, that last question is an entire blog unto itself.
Till next time,
Be happy, be healthy, and be clean