Ever since I was a little girl I have disliked doing housework. It has taken me many years to develop different perspectives on doing housework. I found that the methods that FlyLady uses are by far the best I have ever tried, but still there remains that inner wrestling match about it. The mentality behind my displeasure in doing ‘chores’ is what I’m working through… these unhealthy mentalities that I have been plagued with for so long.
At one point, a friend challenged me about my kitchen. She said that it would probably only take about ten minutes to clean my entire kitchen. She asked me to set the timer for ten minutes and just dive right in. She was right! And ten minutes isn’t a big deal at all. Another day she challenged me about the laundry. She said, “Make it a race. See if you can get the dry laundry all folded and put away before the next load was done drying.” Again, the concept was a race.
But in my home of 6 people and 4 pets, things tend to get left out a lot. My desk gets piled high with a bunch of clutter that doesn’t even belong to me. The laundry room seems to collect lots of mix matched things that have no home of their own. My dresser gets piled high with unmatched socks, scraps of fabric, and it’s been a convenient place to empty my pockets late at night.
Surprisingly, the bathroom is my favorite room to clean. It’s usually the only place I can go to for privacy. So I take pride in keeping it clean. It’s my sacred space. So why not approach each individual room as a sacred space? How about looking at each room as sacred, holy, special for the whole family. We don’t need to wait until Sunday to have a sacred place to go to. Why not develop the rooms of our homes as sacred spaces? Maybe if we teach our children to make their rooms into their own sacred spaces, then they might grow up to view their own homes this way. And maybe they won’t mind being in their rooms for reading, resting, and meditating.
Lets also work on using different terms. Maybe the word ‘chores’ and ‘house cleaning’ are triggers that rub you the wrong way. So lets called it Creating Sacred Spaces. Lets look at creating each room as a sacred space in a way that inspires imagination for spiritual growth. I remember when my girls were much younger and we would pretend to be Mary Poppins and snap our fingers and sing fun Disney songs while cleaning. Adding a bit of imagination to the task made it much more fun.
We can add a little bit of fun to our Sacred Spaces. Many different religious traditions have ways in which to make their homes sacred. Some Christians anoint the door frames with oil and say a prayer of protection and blessing upon each room. Some Asian traditions involve adding the earth elements to a room such as a bamboo plant, or small electric waterfall. Some Country Dwellers recite poetic prayers over their rooms when they swept the dust and negative energy out of their homes.
Creating each room into a sacred space can become a beautiful spiritual practice while keeping things clean and tidy. It’s all in the perspective we have.
Here are some spiritual practices I am incorporating into my daily routine.
Before entering a room that needs to be cleaned anointed, I visualize what my desire is. What kind of spiritual energy do I want to have for this room? Purpose within your heart that you will fill the room with joy by being joyful in the process.
Turn on some music that reflects the kind of mood you want for that room. Maybe you like Gospel, or nature sounds (I love the sound of ocean waves with Whales singing), or maybe you like old country folk songs.
Floors: Sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming can be approached with a prayer for getting rid of dusty emotions, bitterness, or frustrations about the room. You can add a fresh scented fabric softener sheet to your vacuum bag to add an enjoyable fragrance to the room. You can also add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a bucket of water for mopping up a dusty tile or wood floor. (Some days don’t require a thorough mopping, but a moist mopping helps keep dust bunnies under control.)
Glass: Cleaning mirrors and windows can be approached with honesty. Mirrors reveal things about us and windows are symbols of transparency in a home. Cleansing these glass surfaces with a streak free glass cleaner with a fresh scent can be viewed as an opportunity to take personal inventory of our hearts and attitudes toward our families and our homes. Practice expressing gratitude while shining up the mirrors and windows. Allow the cleaning of dirty window sills to be a symbol and reminder of keeping those more visible character trait flaws under submission to your higher calling.
Dusting: Dusting shelves covered in dusty knick knacks is a pet peeve of mine so instead of detesting this responsibility, I will approach this as a moment to reflect upon grace. Sometimes there are things in this life that just don’t make sense. It’s ok to set those things on a shelf until another time. Perhaps we need to go through some kind of event in our lives before those things will make sense to us. As you dust and polish each shelf, mentally place those unsolved mysteries back on the shelf with each knick knack you put back in it’s place. Commit your heart to be willing to look at those things again at another time and offer yourself some grace in doing so.
Picking Up: Use a basket to go through your room to pick things up. As you pick up each thing that doesn’t belong there, ponder the things in your spiritual journey that seem to be out of place. Maybe the shoes you pick up are a symbol of places you have been to that don’t edify your soul. Perhaps the unmatched socks you are finding is a representation of some disorganization in your thought life. As you complete picking up each thing in the room, continue to the next step of putting all those things where they belong. May this be a symbol of what steps in life you will take to remedy those displaced things you have been ignoring.
Once each room is tidy, you can light a candle to set the ambiance for the room. I enjoy scented candles and you may like plain white tea lights in whimsical ceramic candle holders. Whatever pleases your soul works best. When you light the candle, verbally speak a blessing into your room.
May we all find the best way to create sacred spaces in our homes. Stay tuned for more articles about Creating Sacred Spaces.