Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cobwebs: A Not-So-Ground-Breaking Post

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I've been in a flurry trying to cultivate my presentations for BYU tomorrow and next week. I told myself to make a mental list of things I could let go in order to concentrate on the messages I wanted to share.
On that list:
cleaning my house
getting dressed
wearing shoes
meals that involve baking or cooking (broiling, ok)

However, shortly after I stopped cleaning my house I noticed a general brain fog settling over my mental atmosphere. I wasn't thinking. I had stopped thinking. I had nothing in my mind.

This worried me.

I carried on for several days, shoeless and somewhat undressed, eating lots of uncooked vittles in a messy house, feeling quite vapid, until a friend showed up and sat on my couch. She has been going to a counselor for sometime now and I asked her how it was going.

"A couple weeks ago I said to myself, I am not going anymore. This isn't helping. My problems are still piling up and I don't feel like I am getting any better," she told me.

"Oh really?" I asked.

"Yes, but as I prepared myself to tell my therapist I was done, it occurred to me that perhaps the craziness isn't going away, but I don't feel crazier. And I think that maintenance is something to hold on to."

After a day or so of thinking about her conclusion, I came to one of my own. Keeping my house clean is not really the most satisfying job. As soon as I put all the stuffed animals away the stuffed animals are dumped out on the floor. (Thanks Squish!) As soon as I clean up breakfast, lunch comes barreling around the corner.

But there is some celebration in the maintenance. It's not always tidy, my house, but as long as I give it an effort to show up and pick up ("everybody everywhere!") it doesn't become unmanageable. Plus, a solid work environment is good for kids, like I always say.

Even more interesting to me though, was the next day. As I started organizing and cleaning again, my mind came back to me. It raced with thoughts and messages. Ideas bounced off the walls of my consciousness. I scrubbed and speculated and sat in wonder about how I had no idea that house cleaning was so important to my intelligence.

Although looking back, my biggest break throughs have come when I was cleaning. Manual labor has always been the conduit to process my anger and fear. My best ideas have come while vacuuming. I see my mind as a windmill--still as stone--until work gives it wind to start spinning.

It's not about having a clean house, it's about having a quick mind.

This realization could not come at a more needed time. Thank you muse.



Please come! Women coming together to support women and education--no greater cause! No tickets or registration required! Bring your daughters! Bring your friends! Bring chocolate-covered cinnamon bears you bought at the candy counter in the bookstore!
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31 comments:

theresa said...

I think my husband would LOVE this theory if I were to put it into practice. Signed, Worst Housekeeper Ever. (not to be flip and disregard the message of your blog post, which is lovely)

Leslie said...

As I recall, you do get your best ideas vacuuming...isn't that when you realized what you should name Ever?

You are truly and inspiration. I hope you know that!

Natasha Watts said...

I'll be there tomorrow! You'll be great, I know it.

SuiGeNeRiS Speaks said...

A realisation I find frustrating sometimes - my brain is also foggy when my house is in disarray...

Janessa said...

I wish I could come, but I find it surprising that this is scheduled for a day in the work week. I am a woman who has to work outside the home and might be able to benefit the most from it because I am always trying to find a balance. Yet, I cannot go because I have to work... :)
Good luck!

Cassidy said...

Cleaning is cheap therapy... Thanks for the reminder.

Amy Sedor said...

I agree...with Teresa.

marlamuppets said...

cleaning always makes me feel better. or doing laundry. or organizing anything that after i'm done, it looks better. super weird.

GOOD LUCK on your speech.
i wish i could be there for it.
you are a force to be reckoned with and i hope they appreciate the time you took to prepare and present!

Katie said...

Zumba does it for me.

Liss Moon said...

Mack Wilberg uses vacuuming to help his creative processes.....

KIM {POPPY SEED PROJECTS} said...

Oh my goodness - I just love this. The windmill analogy is wonderful. Thank you for this post!

Vesuvius At Home said...

Whenever I find myself unable to fight the constant uncleanliness tide, when I start to feel defeated and futile in the face of the constant flood of toys and dirty dishes, I know my depression is settling back in and I need to take more fish oil and walks in the sun.

Thanks for sharing your breakthroughs. They help me, you know.

Lisette said...

Feel free to bring your vacuum over to my house any day :)

I must say I detest housework.

Rachel Chick said...

I love this.

Katie Watts said...

One Sunday night, when I was consumed with the horror of the impending Monday work morning, I began hanging out some washing. At first I felt angry, a tiresome chore was the last thing I wanted to do but as I lifted each piece of washing, shook it, laid it on the drying rack and smoothed it I began to feel peaceful as though I was also smoothing and re-ordering my troubled soul. Life is all about taking pleasure in the seemingly arduous, small things.

Jenny said...

I am the description of you in the first part of this post. Always. I try to reform myself and "do better." Oh well.

mommy said...

Thing order = Think order

Carol-Anne said...

I believe that the crap you have in your house is carried around in your mind.....

Ria said...

I NEEDED TO HEAR THIS TODAY. Thank you so much.

Berenice Ventura said...

I can't wait to be living in Provo (which will be true beginning Aug. 2013) so that I can attend all of these amazing events!

Erin L said...

These are the kind of posts I come to your blog for. As much as I dread cleaning house, my best ideas come when it is done (if it can ever be called "done").

Xteena said...

My boyfriend has dubbed it "procrasticleaning". Whenever I need to sit and work on my thesis, I start cleaning his entire house. Now I have some validation.

Pam said...

I just got back from the "Superwoman" conference at BYU and must tell you that I really enjoyed it and took a lot away from it. Thank you for promoting this and sharing your own personal insights with us through this conference. Now on to some serious introspection!

Katie Richins said...

Yes. ABSOLUTELY. This is why there is dignity in drudgery.

Mary P said...

This is something I have just started understanding in the last month or so, and it's all thanks to a little cockroach (fortunately just ONE). The tiny thing filled me with such fear, and I was motivated to clean like never before. Since then, I have not been perfect (ha!), but I have had great success in that maintaining you speak of. And it's SO good for me to have so many short term goals. It keeps me tethered in reality. I feel much more aware-ish.

Morgan Lee said...

Not perfectly relevant to this post, but have you read the novel Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson? If not, I would recommend it. Great book for a budding feminist (It's really only about housekeeping in the symbolic sense).

Sarah said...

Someone once said, "Made bed equals clear head". I wish I could give that person their due credit, but I can't remember who said it. All I know is, it's true for me.

Martha said...

love this! can't wait to hear how the conference went (and to listen to the podcast).

Sarah said...

I love having a clean house. LOVE! I don't love that it seems to take all my effort to get there and maintaining it is a trick, of course.

I didn't know about the "Confronting the Superwoman Stereotype" convention. Sounds very interesting!

it"s me said...

Happy Birthday!

Emily Graves said...

I remember not long after I married thinking, OMG, this is never done. Meals, cleaning, loving, laughing, kids come along. I called my mom and apologized for being such a pain in the butt! I thanked her for all those things she did that never were thanked. And I got it, after all!