Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Habit of Cleanliness

Cleaning the house is an ongoing thing. I hate that. In my mind it was always a project-oriented goal: clean the house so it will be Clean. But then of course you have to keep it clean, and despite your best efforts dust and cat hair still appear like magic, and the only way to keep it clean is to... clean the house.

This is true in our lives as well. To keep your life Clean you can't just do one thing. Think of those ritual fasting and cleansing regimes. You go through a terrible experience drinking nothing but lemon juice laced with hot sauce and pepper, you get the runs for a week, but then, who-hoo, your body is clean! Or is it? You finally get to eat again so you sit down to have a piece of bread and look--carbs and sugar are entering your body!! It's not "clean" any more!

So, what do you do? Most people would try to eat better (smaller, healthier) meals for a while, but then eventually they fall back into old habits and before you know it they're eating chocolate-chip pancakes with a side of pork rinds for dinner again. Thank goodness all they need to do is another cleanse!

But they (we, you) need to realize that a temporary cleanse is not a permanent solution! Keeping your whole life clean, including your body, your house, your sexual habits, what have you, is not a one time deal. Why not? Because the sun also rises tomorrow, and with it food, dust, and temptation. Keeping your life clean is an ongoing process. So yeah, if you fall behind in dusting, mopping, and throwing away the junk mail, you might have to sequester yourself for a few days to do a deep cleaning.

But the sure way to avoid doing another one? Every day when you come home, throw out the junk mail, put away the clean dishes, and do the dirty ones. For those of you used to doing chores, remind yourself of this the next time you reach for a chocolate bar. To keep your body clean and healthy, every day you have to make the right choices. There is always some room for saying "I will have this cake because it's my friend's birthday so tomorrow I'll just have salad," but you must be aware that tomorrow is always someone else's birthday. It is a constant struggle, one that will honestly never be over until you submit to the fact that you will always be fighting until you can control your urges. Say no to the second helping, take the 3 minutes to load the dishwasher and put in the soap, and don't go out to the club tonight if you're feeling depressed and vulnerable.

It's about the baby steps, but as one fight becomes easier, you'll be ready to attack the next one. It is always a struggle, but keep it up and some day you'll realize that you haven't had to stay at home for two days in a row just to clean, because everything is being taken care of in daily, easily-manageable packets of time. And your house is spotless.

Until the cat walks through it, at least.

1 comment:

  1. The nice thing I'm finding lately though, is that once you get on a roll, things get a bit easier. It's like pushing past that wall in Zumba, if you can make it past 20 minutes, you can make the full hour. You just have to push past that point when you don't want to anymore and then it gets a little easier.

    Until you hit the next wall of course, then the pushing starts again.


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