by Johanna Fredericks, Bachelor of Education, Perth WA
A couple of days ago, it was Friday. On a Friday evening after work my routine has been doing the food shopping, washing the clothes and cleaning my house. I usually take my time with this, but sometimes I rush it or have a level of drive behind it because I just want to get it all done. Although there is a level of care behind my past actions, I realised I had a little bit of a rulebook approach when it came to getting through all my cleaning chores. This really means that even though I may have done things gently, I haven’t been completely listening to my body every Friday evening.
I like our house to be clean, to have things in their special place and to be organised with the many tasks that just have to be done. This helps me to not end up feeling overwhelmed with my list of chores, plus it feels nice to be in a clean and organised space.
Some of my thinking/mentality around doing the chores was along the lines of…
“I need to get this done – so I can have the weekend without cleaning chores”.
“If my house is clean, it’s one less thing to worry about”.
“If I get my jobs out of the way, I am free to concentrate on other things that a weekend may bring”.
I began to question the way of thinking that I had adopted and the beliefs I had around chores and cleaning my house… who would have thought that we could have so many ideals and beliefs about cleaning?
Then last week I chose to do my chores a little differently… I felt to do the clothes washing on the Thursday after work, leaving less chores for Friday. I left work a little later and actually questioned if I should do everything on the Friday afternoon. As I drove home from the school I felt pretty awesome and decided to strut my stuff around the supermarket while I did my grocery shopping. I decided that I would see how I felt about the rest of the house cleaning chores after the shopping was done.
When I left the shop it was 6.30pm. I checked in with my body and I felt that doing the other chores would be stretching it, as I was starting to feel a little tired.
I realised that the world was not going to fall apart if I didn’t clean my house on the usual day in the usual way.
At this point I didn’t really know when I was going to fit my chores in with everything else I had to do on the weekend, but I knew that I did not want to rush the cleaning and… I wanted to honour what my body was telling me.
It just so happened that a little moment early Saturday morning presented itself, so I began to clean the kitchen cupboards. I thought I was going to do my whole house cleaning routine but at a more honouring pace, when a little sentence popped into my head…
“Slow down – you have to do it, so you might as well enjoy it!”
This sentence made me think: Enjoy It?… Why not?! What if I just did the dusting and wiping now? What if I cleaned tenderly and allowed myself to feel my tenderness while I was cleaning? The tenderness that I know I have in my touch. What if I used the lovely gift of ‘self talk’, appreciating myself as I clean with how I am cleaning, and how lovely I am re-arranging the things on the tabletops?
This took a huge pressure off me because I was no longer putting an expectation on myself that would cause me to potentially put my body into an outcome based driven-ness. I said to myself that I was going to wipe all the surfaces and mirrors in each room tenderly, then replace everything lovingly. This felt amazing; each movement and moment felt complete within itself because I was in connection with myself as I moved… I was aware of what my body was doing and how it was moving as I was cleaning my house. I completely honoured myself and enjoyed what I was doing. The feeling of each room was even more amazing after I had cleaned it with this level of care. I could see and feel the care and tenderness I had left behind in each room from my loving touch.
It didn’t matter that I had chosen to leave the hoovering and mopping to another time… what I had done was complete and clean.
A moment mid-Saturday presented itself for me to hoover, and then I mopped in the evening. My house cleaning chores no longer felt like chores but lovely little moments where I was able to spread my loveliness around our home.
Cleaning my house this weekend has helped me to further chip away at some small but still false beliefs and ideals I had around thinking that I had to get through in a task orientated way without any consideration to how I felt: some Fridays I had the energy to do all the cleaning chores but others I did not. These beliefs and ideals were in-truth stopping me from trusting and honouring myself and my body completely as the gorgeous and tender woman that I am.
I have felt a deeper level of appreciation in my ability to Trust… trust my body, trust my feelings, trust myself and the rest (including cleaning my house!), will fall into place.