housecleaning as spiritual?.............. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 02:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering if there's a school of thought that considers housecleaning as a spiritual undertaking. I'm trying to find different ways of approaching it, because I'm not a good housekeeper at this point. A few of my rooms are totally unorganized, and my house is generally cluttered. I have a really hard time getting started with it, and keeping up with it/following through with a routine.

Does anyone treat their house as sort of a temple, and cleaning as a spiritual thing?
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#2 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 03:35 AM
 
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I mentioned the book spiritual housecleaning in another thread, and I definitely recommend it to you.

I think of everything I do as spiritual. Having a clean house feeds my soul. Making dinner feeds my soul. Spending time with friends feeds my soul.

As for housecleaning, well, the kitchen is the center of the home, the bedroom is the inner chamber, the bathroom is the temple where purifying takes place, etc. It's very important for those things to be in order. I haven't spent a lot of time forming a philosophy on it, and I"m really tired right now, so I hope I"m making sense.
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#3 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 12:57 PM
 
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I've never gotten the hang of this. It is a relief when I'm done with whatever task, but the Zen of actually doing it escapes me.

More power to you when you do!

"What will you do once you know?"
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#4 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 01:58 PM
 
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I get into the Zen, meditative aspect of housecleaning by trying to slow down and be aware of the tasks I am doing and appreciate the beauty in what I am doing. Like taking the time to really nicely fold a shirt or make a bed, instead of rushing through everything. I keep this mindset and it makes doing the dishes and folding laundry much more satisfying.
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#5 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 03:11 PM
 
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Our house isn't anywhere near a temple yet, but we're working on it. Our house is just more calm and we're happier when it looks nice and it's easy to live in. I've even starting humming while washing the dishes (which freaked out my mom). My goal is to have our house looking as nice as a B&B eventually (regardless of the shag carpeting). I've been using some of the ideas/principles from Flylady. Sometimes they're a little extreme or just won't work right now with a 9mo, but it's a good starting point.

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(If you're curious, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, and yes, it's a busy house)
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#6 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 05:08 PM
 
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It helps to change your mindset about what work is. I just finished reading "The Continuum Concept", and the Indians in the book don't have a word for work. They just do what needs to be done. If they have a tedious and boring job, they'll do something to make it interesting, or they'll enlist help from others, and they'll laugh and joke while they work. Or they'll sing a working song. I've found that thinking differently about my chores really helps. It's not "housework", it's just what needs to be done. It's all real life. There's a commercial on for a vacuum cleaner, and the voice over says something about how their vacuum is easier to use so you can get to your real life, as the mom walks out to a beach to be with her family. Well, we all know real life isn't a beach. That's vacation. Real life is housework, and making dinner, and playing with the kids, and game night, and Christmas, and summer vacation,and laundry, and being sick, and all of it, integrated together. So thinking of it as just what needs to be done helps me not resent it.

Also, changing my mindset to think of housework as a cycle helps. Housework is never done, and don't expect it to be. It's a cycle, like the seasons, or the phases of the moon. You do one thing, and when that's done, something else needs to be done, and the cycle begins again. Over and over. Thinking of it as a cycle makes it easier to take breaks too. Rest on Sunday. Remember that from that old rhyme? Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, etc.

So, that's more of my housecleaning philosophy. It's not work, it's just what needs to be done. If it's boring, enlist help. And it's cyclical. And that's ok.
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#7 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 05:18 PM
 
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Interesting...I read a book a while ago called Other People's Dirt that was written by a professional house cleaner (it's a great funny book btw...) and the author, Louise Rafkin, I think, goes to Japan and joins this order of Buddhists who feel it's their mission to clean...they live in total poverty and clean around the city, public toilets, even public trash cans! My books are a mess right now & I can't find it or else I'd be more specific .

Allison
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#8 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 05:21 PM
 
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I got a book out of the LLL catalog a few years ago called "Shelter for the Spirit" that adresses this. It was really good, but I donated it after I was done with it.

I also just read a series of articles for Chirstians about how we are called to be keepers of the home, and that includes keeping it as nice as possible. But of course, that won't help if you aren't a Christain.
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#9 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Persephone
I mentioned the book spiritual housecleaning in another thread, and I definitely recommend it to you.
I'm going to look for this book. I'll look at B&N and the library. Thank you!
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#10 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, mommies! I appreciate it. I'm trying to find ways to make this role (of housekeeper) more fun & meaningful for me.

It's hard sometimes.
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#11 of 19 Old 07-17-2004, 07:42 PM
 
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I should be cleanmign now and I am feeling overwhelmed. Spent most of my energry scrubbing dogs and washing sheets since the finding of fleas today...

Anyway, Dh believes in a spiritual type ritual top housecleanign which I don't fully understand. but it is clean! I do liek that you clean from inside out-towards the door-push all the "dirt" out...
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#12 of 19 Old 07-18-2004, 03:05 AM
 
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It is interesting that you bring this up, because I was just thinking about this subject this very morning. I make a conscience effort to keep my house clean and peaceful and organized for my family.

I grew up in a very cluttered, messy home--and often felt stiffled and oppressed there as a result of the mess. Who wants to cook and enjoy food in a filthy kitchen? I love having my kitchen be so clean and organized each day. I feel confident that the food I make for my family is prepared with clean hands, utensils, and in a fresh, clean environment. I cannot imagine going to bed with a dirty kitchen--because who wants to wake up to a dirty sink full of dishes and kitchen odors? That is just bad for the soul. Already your day is stunted by the mess and it puts a negative energy on you first thing in the morning. I would rather get the work done the night before and have the satisfaction of doing the job well.

I know that some people say "I have a baby...who has time to clean with a baby?" But I just have not found that to be true. I always incorporate my kids in with my cleaning (talking to them while I do it, or having them help me) and I feel that it is good for them to see how I make our home a clean, comfy space to live in. Clean folded laundry, a bathroom you can relax in because it smells nice and feels good to take a bath in, organized toys that are easy for the kids to access, art supplies within reach and a space to create, beds that are comfortablly made up and floors that are swept and vacuumed----all of that keeps your psyche open to the positive so that you feel nestled in to your safe haven.

I got interested in Feng Shui--and found that many of the principles of decluttering I already follow. I think some people hold on to tons of stuff even though it is choking the life and purpose out of their living space. I have lived in tiny studio apartments (when Mike and were first married and lived in the city before kids) to the 4 bedroom home we have now, but I always liked for my home to be a haven for myself and the people I love.

When I walk into people's homes that are very cluttered and messy, I don't think "oh yuck--look at the mess"....but I think "oh dear, it must be impossible to relax and clear your mind here"---I feel badly for them because it is obviously chaos. I really think that any kind of chaos really stunts a person physically and emotionally and even spiritually.

There are plenty of books on Feng Shui and decluttering and organizing that you can check out from your local library. This is a book that I have that I love: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846 and it talks about the spiritual side of housekeeping.

Thanks for an interesting thread.
Hugs,
Lisa
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#13 of 19 Old 07-18-2004, 03:29 AM
 
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Oh, and this is also something I like to do a few times a year--

http://www.ivillage.com/home/howtogu...ival_freqCap=2

I call it "clearing the air" and incorporate holy water (we are Catholic) into my ritual of prayers and space clearing. I actually just got holy water on Thursday (I take a little eye dropper bottle and fill it up from the church bowl) and will use it tomorrow after I give the house a good cleaning. I clean the whole house first (especially washing the floors and really scrubbing the counters), then wash myself (I will take a nice bath with rosemary in the water) and then do my space clearing.
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#14 of 19 Old 07-18-2004, 11:03 PM
 
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Janet Luhrs addresses this topic in her awesome book The Simple Living Guide. This was the first time I'd ever seen someone write about the Zen of daily life/rituals, and it changed my whole outlook (for the better ).

I used to stress out about why couldn't I just let things go and be a huge mess (like the household I grew up in)....I realized that the peace I find in doing and cleaning brings me strength and affirms the importance of my vocation. Ok, most days---some days it's a struggle to even get my teeth brushed or lunch picked up off the floor.

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#15 of 19 Old 04-10-2005, 06:49 PM
 
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As a Clean Freak and author of the e-book secret confessions of a clean freak - I can tell you - it's the results of housecleaning that are spirtual. A clean home feels better. Plus, you have the pride in a job well done. It's all positive - calming.

Housework left undone is very negative. A constant reminder of things you haven't done. I feel good when my bathroom walls or my stove is shiny. It makes me feel like I have control. And sometimes, that's all I have control over.

And, like all things spiritual, it takes discipline until it becomes habit. Housecleaning is a breeze once you have it under control and you have a routine. Really! I'm a single mom and I get picked on all the time for being too clean - like I have some disease!
Guess I'm just a freak!

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#16 of 19 Old 04-10-2005, 08:09 PM
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Well, I struggled with housekeeping for a while because my mother is obsessive about it in certain ways, like we would get yelled at for one spoon in the sink and the like, so when I got out on my own..it was kind of a freedom thing---if you have ever seen "Sleeping with the Enemy" where Julia Roberts intentionally messes up the towels and cans in the cabinet because her husband was such a control freak..okay, dramatic example because my mom is not nuts LOL...but you get the point...

Now though, I do like to clean. I mean, I wouldn't put it on my list of hobbies as something I LOVE...but I do like the results as the previous poster mentioned. I feel more relaxed, calm, happy, secure, whatever, when I have a clean, orderly space.

Now that I have settled down and have made peace with the fact that I don't HAVE to clean (to avoid getting in trouble or as a chore)...and that I can go at my own pace and do my own thing...it is therapeutic in a way. I take a couple of hours, usually when my hubby isn't underfoot ...lol...put on cds, and tackle things at my own pace, and without fury or obsessiveness or whatever. I will just give myself a few tasks, like say, the bathroom and kitchen and that's it...then I will do them--I don't know if it is spiritual persay, but I do get into a *zone*...I kind of compare it to when my cat is grooming herself and her eyes glaze over and she is just sort of on auto pilot. Now I have no evidence that my cat *loves* to groom herself, or hates it, it is just something she has to do and needs to do and maybe she digs it, but anyway, she tackles it at her own pace, when it needs to be done, kind of zones out, and does her thing...that is kind of like me and cleaning...
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#17 of 19 Old 04-11-2005, 12:45 AM
 
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I recall an occassion lst year when I had company. One of the guest did the dishes at the end of the night. She just did them start to finish and put them away while we finished our conversations. When she was done, the other guests mentioned 'mindfulness' She did the dishes to do the dishess.

Until that nght, when I did the dishes, I would straighten the magnets on the fridge, turn on the radio, open the window, scrap scrapes into the compost, tidy up this or that, think about what I forgot to do that was more important than the dishes, etc etc etc I never did the dishes to do the dishes, lol. I was not mindful of what I was doing at all. Well, my life is busy, but 'mindfulness' makes so much sense, I bought this book called the miracle of mindfulness, it's a great read.

So, I think housecleaning can be spiritual if you put your mind to it. You are blessing your home, honoring your space, respecting your property and yourself. the mindfulness part of it, to me, is partly spiritual too
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#18 of 19 Old 04-11-2005, 01:12 AM
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I was at a friend's house for the first time the other week for supper. I was delighted to find that it was NOT sparkling clean. It felt COMFORTABLE that there were piles of books on the coffee tables, clean dishes still in the sink and kids toys in the living room. I felt like these people really lived there and were secure enough in themselves that they could invite people over even though their house didn't look like a B&B. Of course, they didn't have the dog hair on the floor like at my house.... so there was a high standard of CLEANLINESS, they just didn't think it was that important to be neat freaks. I felt RELAXED there.

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(don't ask me about my house : I'd love to throw out half of the stuff we own)

Canadian mama to A (C/S May 2004) and R (induced VBAC Dec 2007) expecting #3 in July.  Currently obsessing over permaculture, photography and beekeeping.

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#19 of 19 Old 09-01-2005, 11:14 PM
 
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