Not so long ago I was involved in a big house clean. For context, I live in UniMed Brisbane’s heritage listed stately home (usually called a Queenslander), which basically means it is a 2 story dwelling, made from timber, that has large balconies that surround the majority of the home. It is a large building covering around 1000m2 of living area, including over 10 rooms and is all white, so invariably twice a year requires a clean as part of its upkeep.
The very generous Steve Leca, who owns and runs a cleaning business, comes to assist us to conduct this clean of the outside of the house, along with his team and many from the Brisbane Esoteric Community. It is a really fun morning, with many hands making what would ordinarily feel like a huge job become a seamless and very achievable task.
Once the house had been high-pressure water blasted, and so that the white walls didn’t dry all streaky, we were asked to wipe down all the walls from the very top to the very bottom. This required getting up and down a very tall ladder in order to reach from the 12-foot-high roofline to the verandah.
Lesson in Conscious Presence
From the moment I started to climb the ladder, I could feel how important it was for me to take my time, ascending the ladder, each step with conscious presence. The circumference of the house I was wiping down was about 140 metres, so I was up and down the ladder approximately 70-80 times over a period of a couple of hours, climbing a ladder that was 2 metres tall.
Everything was wet, my shoes, the verandah, the ladder, the house walls, so each time I allowed myself to feel my feet, each time I placed my foot on the ladder rung, I felt my hands, the gentleness in my hands as I held the ladder and supported myself by holding the house wall. This enabled me to go about the process of what I needed to do, but with such an elegance, a joy and being completely present with my body.
In the past I would have jumped straight into the ‘doing’, the task at hand. What did I need to get done? I would have been up and down the ladder a million times without any awareness of my feet, where they were placed, how was I cleaning, what it felt like to be cleaning and more importantly, not even having a clue about whether I was present or not. I would have just been totally focussed on ‘getting it done’.
Blessing the House with my Movements
Setting myself up this way, being consciously present and connected with the cleaning task at hand, I was able to wipe down the walls of this beautiful house with such a grace and tenderness, I deeply felt how the house was then being blessed by the way I was moving and going about wiping it down. I felt the love in my hands and the quality of that each time I moved.
This felt natural because of the quality I live in and how I move each and every day, with grace and tenderness with myself – it didn’t just turn up the moment I stepped onto the ladder. Each day when I wake up, I feel with conscious presence the qualities I hold in who I am; when I am walking, it doesn’t matter where, I feel my feet and when I touch things, opening doors, picking up things during the day, I feel my hands as I go about these everyday tasks.
It is finding and holding conscious presence in these everyday tasks that has helped build a love and consistency within me, which I didn’t ever think I could. I had previously been overly anxious, a totally ‘in my head’ person, who continually had multiple streams of conversations with people going on in my head at any one time. So the exercise of cleaning UniMed Brisbane was an incredible marker for me to say, “wow, what a confirmation of my daily choices.”
By Raegan Cairney, B Comm. Adv Dip Counselling, Brisbane, Australia