My background has been in the Hospitality and Hotel Accommodation Industry working as a Hotel Executive Housekeeper, in Interior design, Managing and Building hotels, and as a professional House Cleaner, cleaning homes. The quality of cleaning I would offer was always very high, but nevertheless there was something missing.
In my experience working as an Executive Housekeeper, I was always feeling pressured for time. With every task that I did I had a very high expectation of myself and others. In order to achieve all that was needed to be done for the day, I would start very early and finish late in the evening, without any breaks. I always put the guests and all the other staff first before I considered how I myself was feeling, or what was truly needed. Later I realised that this way of going about my job was connected to the fact that I was brought up with the belief that everyone and everything came first before I did, and this belief programmed the way I worked – never bothering to stop or eat lunch. I had become a slave to my work, being obsessed with being perfect in everything I did, and always putting others’ needs before my own. Even my children called me a martyr.
I would help the room attendants to clean the rooms to be ready in time for guests, because I was afraid I would get into trouble with my manager and CEO if the jobs were not done and the guest complained. No wonder my day was so long and exhausting – I was constantly afraid of getting into trouble and never had enough time to do my job because I was doing other peoples’ jobs! I felt anxiety, stress and tiredness to the point of being numb in my body – but I kept pushing myself to the limit.
Living this way meant that my body suffered the consequences with stomach problems, migraines, back problems, anxiety attacks and heart palpitations. I ended up with blood poisoning and thrombosis in my right leg and had to spend 3 weeks in bed: after that I had to give up work. This experience showed me how I had being working and living all my life.
This pressured and stressful behaviour was also happening in other areas of my life, including my own house cleaning – something that in fact could have been a lovely, nurturing experience. I had come to live in a way that was just ticking one job off the list before I launched into the next. Before I even started to do my house cleaning I would get anxious a day before because it felt such a task to do. I could feel body tension in my arms, legs, back and neck and I would program myself so that the cleaning could be done by a certain time. My body would ache and feel exhausted and I would get frustrated and angry with myself for allowing myself to get to a point where I just wanted to go to bed and shut myself away from the world and sleep. There was no joy in my life, only pain and sadness from not being able to stop myself from this workaholic way of living. And it stands to reason that the quality of cleaning, and everything I did, was compromised because of how I was feeling.
Since I started work with Universal Medicine I have truly realised how I had been living and working. I began to feel my body and to know whether I was being nurturing and loving towards myself or not. I am now aware of the way my body communicates to me about how I am being and living. The more I connect with my body the more love I feel. The more love I bring in my body, the more I become aware of the way my environment feels. I could feel that if I was tired and did the cleaning in a pushed way, the quality of the cleaning and the house reflected that back. The house might have looked clean, but you could feel and tell that I had rushed my work and pushed myself to get it done and nothing that I had cleaned felt right or in its place.
Now I am more aware of the way I clean mine and my clients’ homes. I prepare myself each day in a loving way – preparing my body by starting earlier in the morning, not rushing in getting ready, and having a nurturing breakfast so when I start to do the cleaning, vacuum, clean the bathroom or place a piece of furniture, I am aware of not pushing my body. I work gently and my body knows where and how to place things so that the room feels harmonious. I love to do the little things that make a difference.
In the morning I love making my bed and being playful. When I finish this job it feels complete. This way of being supports my body and creates a beautiful welcoming feeling in the home; everything in the home feels loving and in its right place. I have discovered that it is not about ‘what’ or ‘how much’ I do, but the quality in which I am doing it.
Since I have become more aware of how my body feels in everything I do, I get more things done with ease. I feel light and there is a flow in what I am doing.
When I stop being aware of my body, my mind comes back in, driving me in everything I do and I can feel that this way of being is acting against myself and against time. My body then becomes tired, aching and exhausted.
When I stay connected to my body I have more clarity and I know how to be; time is no longer an enemy. Nothing is too big or too small for me to do. Listening and honouring my body not only supports me in everything I do, it also supports those around me. Life has become simple and fun. I enjoy the quality of cleaning services I now offer at a whole new, amazing level.
By Kathy Avram, Melbourne, House Cleaning Business