ORIGINALLY POSTED: 2/17/2009.
I realize that the title of this post isn’t really a choice (i.e. you can have both), but this seems to be the challenge I am facing recently.
This is particularly for homeowners, stay-at-home parents, those facing responsibilities of housework, mortgages, ….ok, basically anyone. Many say that housework (laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc) can be put aside to attend to more important things - playing with the kids, exercising, yoga, etc. While I agree that these priorities are greater than cleaning, the clutter around the house doesn’t seem to understand that it doesn’t need to grow to get attention while I’m focusing on the kids.
It’s a non-ending cycle: I get low in energy (for whatever reason). Housework and related responsibilities get put aside as I focus on doing the bare minimum and things that will increase my energy. During this time, laundry piles up, clutter seems to increase, and projects around the house remain uncompleted. As my energy cycles back up, I find myself working on my yoga classes, taking the kids out to the library, drives, etc., and once again focusing on healthy living. The housework takes a back seat as I strive to take advantage of the energy to blog, connect with friends, grow my inspiration, keep up with the kids. Slowly the clutter comes back into focus and with my renewed energy, I clean, de-clutter, try to tackle some of the projects that got ignored before. (The typical spring cleaning) Because of the lack of attention the cleaning previously received, there is a LOT to do. Something has to be sacrificed due simply to time and energy - connecting with my soul or cleaning the house. You can probably guess which one I choose to let go. As it is does, energy cycles and drops and the cycle begins again…
I am well aware that clutter around my environment is directly related to clutter in my body, my mind, my soul. Yet I find trying to keep the dirties out of my physical environment just as challenging as keeping the dirties out of my body (prepackaged, cheaper, lower calorie food versus the much healthier but more time-consuming alternatives). Previously “success” was the signpost that determined which clutter I chose to focus on at the moment. Succeeding at maintaining a healthy environment (need to rid our home of chemicals, for us and the kids! get rid of these piles of papers and the clutter, for my mental health! guests are coming over-clean up the stains, for my social sake!) or perhaps succeeding at my passions (get the website up! Set up appointments to make those oh-so-important connections!). Enjoying what is took a backseat to enjoying what might be.
So now, faced once again with a turning point in this cycle, I reflect to see how I can break this habit.
Simplicity seems to be a key. Admitting that I can’t do it all (as my wonderful yoga teacher, Marsha once said, “my mind is writing checks my body can’t cash”) and honestly deciding what it is I want to do. The housework simply isn’t going to go away and will continue to grow if ignored. My husband helps around the house but we have chosen our primary roles. His is bringing in the income so I don’t have to find a job, mine is taking care of a majority of the housework so it gets done while he works. These are the roles we have chosen, and I value every gift of being able to not work. I need to honor these responsibilities and the beauty inherent in them instead of looking to succeed elsewhere. This does not mean giving up my self development (yoga teaching, photography, etc), but simplifying each role so that I have the energy to consistently devote time to my physical environment and my inner environment.
Speaking of….the kids call. The blog will have to wait.