Monday, July 14, 2008

Me and Jessamyn

Years ago, a friend of mine told me that cleaning her house totally destroyed her creativity. This gal was extremely talented. She made and sold one-of-a-kind dolls, designed and sewed original folk art quilts, was an expert on wildflowers of her area and essentially built their house while her husband worked an outside job. What she meant about housecleaning was that when her house was neat, clean and organized, she felt she couldn't create because that would make the house look messy again.

I'm totally the opposite. If I have a project that needs to be done inside (quilting, researching, bulk cooking for the freezer, painting/staining, or any kind of big undertaking) I have to clean house first. It has something to do with organizing my mind along with organizing my surroundings. Muss and clutter are distracting to me . . . or at least the muss and clutter of anything other than what I'm working on. (Someday I'll post a picture of my quilt room when I'm in the midst of a big project. That is if I'm not too embarrassed to do so.)

No matter how much I don't want to clean, I always feel close to euphoric when it's done. My spirits are lifted, my problems are smaller, anything is manageable. I think it has a lot to do with the old saying, "Shape your environment and then your environment shapes you." A clean and organized house gives me a sense of well-being. All is in its place. I'm ready for anything. My base is secure and as it should be.

No, I don't have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as you would readily see were you to drop in on me and my house most days. There are too many things I like and want to do, too many things I'm interested in, too many new areas for my mind to explore for O.C.D. ever to be able to take hold. Cleaning the house is just my Valium.

I don't clean house to please others. I do it for myself.

It does for my soul what prayer does for others.

And it takes so much less faith. House ordering is my prayer,

and when I have finished, my prayer is answered.

And bending, stooping, scrubbing, purifies

my body as prayer doesn't.

- Jessamyn West

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