I once had a set of vintage kitchen towels embroidered with the designated task for each day of the week. If I recall, Monday was wash day and Tuesday ironing day etc. They were colorful and fun, but totally not an accurate account of how my week flows.
My mother always cleaned the house within an inch of its life on Thursdays and frankly, coming home from school that afternoon was not a welcoming experience. We kids were reminded that she had just cleaned, so "don't mess up anything." I get that, for when I clean, it is nice to have everything pristine for at least a few hours. Mom cleaned on Thursday and bought groceries and got her hair done on Friday. More than likely she did laundry on Monday, and I think she cleaned bathrooms everyday.
In this regard I am not my mother's daughter, and I don't have much of a schedule. I am more apt to wash clothes when the laundry basket is getting full, and perhaps Bruce has already started a load, anyway. I clean when the house needs to be cleaned or when I have the time or inclination or when company is coming.
Or in the case of yesterday because I needed a break from writing, and I needed to clear the space before tackling this week's writing tasks.
Sunday had been a frustrating day at my desk. I was a bit behind writing the chapter to submit on Monday for my online writing class, but I finally had found the rhythm and was pleased with how it was coming along. Just as I was about to hit the print button, all six pages disappeared. Yup, that's right. Gone and not to be recovered, no matter what I did.
I had not followed my own guidelines about backing everything up and saving and printing drafts. Perhaps I should have those rules embroidered on hand towels and hang them in view of my desk. Please--no chastising or advice. I messed up in more than one way, and I am grateful I only lost that one chapter. Lesson learned.
I spent most of the rest of the day recreating the material, and I was able to meet the class schedule, but would you believe when I started printing my copies, I ran out of ink AND the printer jammed. I always have extra ink cartridges, and I was able to unjam the printer fairly easily. Never mind my ink stained hands. It was just one of those days!
Given the lost time, I didn't do anything else I planned to do on Sunday. My desk was overflowing with tasks I had put off all week, and it would have been nice to read the Sunday papers on Sunday and…and…and.
That brings me to Monday, a day open and unscheduled till time to go to a writing class at The Loft Literary Center in the evening. Just what I needed. I decided to do my version of laundry first--clear my desk and my email inbox. I filed and organized and answered necessary emails and deleted many more and did some online ordering and even allowed myself some fun planning for an upcoming field trip this week with friends. Stay tuned for that report.
At last I thought I was ready to return to my desk and put on my writer's hat and begin work on this week's assignment. This week I will begin working on a big new section of my book, and that feels a bit daunting to me. More than a bit. I know I will need lots of concentration as I move through a muddle of trial and error. Was I ready? Not quite.
I don't know that anyone else would notice, but my garret office felt a bit stale, just a bit grubby and grimy to me. I needed to dust and vacuum. And so I did.
Sometimes that kind of clearing the space is just what is needed to move on or to settle into the situation at hand. Clearing the space can reveal what we really think and feel and what we need in this exact moment or what the next steps in our forward movement need to be. And none of it feels possible before we clear the space. Intentionally and deliberately.
I suppose sometimes clearing the space --or doing other than what you said you were going to do or are supposed to do--can be viewed as a distraction or procrastination. But often clearing the space, the physical, emotional, or spiritual space is just what is needed, and the Universe responds with a sigh of relief. "Good for you. You listened to what you need, and now you are poised for the next step."
Sometimes clearing the space means taking a walk or a nap or reading a book for pure escape and pleasure. Sometimes clearing the space means having a good cry or raging about a current loss or dilemma in your life. Sometimes we need to simply declare defeat and call it quits. Sometimes we need to enlist the help of others, professionals or a close friend. Sometimes we need to sit in quiet meditation or prayer and surrender to the present moment.
Yesterday I just needed to dust and vacuum to clear my space.
What do you do to clear your space? How do you know when clearing the space is what is needed? I would love to know.