Spiritual Spring Cleaning Phase Two

19 Mar

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Have you ever had one of those moments when you felt like you understand how everything in your life connects? I had one of those moments while cleaning a toilet this morning. That may seem strange, but I’ve found that some of my greatest revelations don’t come while I’m meditating or writing, they actually come while doing something so mundane and routine that my mind is free to wander where it wants to go.

For those who read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I love the Lenten season for the opportunity for spiritual spring cleaning. I also usually try to physically de-clutter my home and my body at the same time. Some days that seems monumental, but it gives me a purpose and a goal to think about instead of the usual lack of sun and fun at this time of the year where I live. I also keep a written record of what I’m working on so I can see how I’m progressing and where I can improve. I’m a writer. What else would I do? While I was recording the weekend activities this morning, I realized I had been seriously slacking in the home de-cluttering and exercise areas and vowed to be better for the next few weeks because I’m hosting Easter and I want to be prepared. So I could do that, I got to work on my daily and weekly tasks, and in the middle of that I was amazed at what I realized.

Since I started learning how to run an efficient household, I’ve always seen a lack of consistency in my progress. My de-cluttering efforts go really well for about two or three weeks and then I just can’t bring myself to do anything for another two or three weeks, and I noticed that pattern happened again this Lenten season. For about three weeks, I was chucking items into the trash and donating like crazy. I was also exercising and eating right and losing weight and then it all stopped. I was starting to get frustrated and angry with myself for my lack of self-control and self-discipline, but this morning I figured it out. I had to stop doing the physical things because I hadn’t caught up emotionally and spiritually with my own progress. That’s what the last two weeks of “getting nothing done” have been about. I needed to catch up and realize that even when the physical improvements stop, the emotional and spiritual don’t. Holy cow! What a freeing thought!

I love to cook and for me understanding my own process made me think of making bread. To start the process of making bread, there is a lot of activity. You mix and knead and get the dough to the right consistency. Then, you wait for the dough to rise. While the dough rises, you aren’t doing anything, but there is a lot going on with the bread. The yeast is reacting with the sugar and creating bubbles that make the dough rise. After the dough rises, you punch it down, knead it and let it rise again. Finally, you bake the bread and enjoy the finished product. Then, when you want more bread, you start the process all over again. My journey has been like that. I have a flurry of activity; a time when it seems like there is nothing going on; I get knocked back, try again and need to rest; then I go through the fire of frustration and growth and finally I get to enjoy the progress until I’m hungry to grow again. My realization was that this pattern is exactly how my life is supposed to be. Until today, I have been beating myself up for stopping the physical progress instead of understanding the emotional and spiritual work that was going on. I’m almost giddy with the new understanding, and at the moment I understood my growing process, I was actually grateful for my mundane housework. Now that’s a statement I never thought I’d make!

So, in the future, when my physical progress on anything slows down, I hope I can be a little gentler with myself and ask how I might be benefitting mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Or I might ask myself where I need to grow to get back to my physical progress. Or I might even look at the physical progress as a launch pad to an incredible opportunity for mental, emotional and/or spiritual growth. The possibilities are endless and so is my gratitude for the new awareness. Although it’s not always an easy path, the path of intentional self-reflection and growth always ends up being a rewarding one, and a path I highly recommend. It’s not very crowded as far as I can see, but I would welcome the company. Whether you choose to join me or not, thanks for being you and have a great day.

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One Response to “Spiritual Spring Cleaning Phase Two”

  1. Kim March 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Ahhhh, I LOVE this! I have a similar pattern…go, go, go and then just STOP…and it frustrates me. But what you said makes so much sense…I’m giving myself a chance to catch up emotionally and spiritually.

    This post made my day 🙂 A breath of gentleness and grace!

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