I used to consider sweeping the house a deeply boring and pointless chore. Over the years, however, I have managed to turn this task into something I enjoy. These days, sweeping has become a time of retrospection, a much-needed pause in my day. I now consider sweeping a cleansing ritual, an undertaking that offers me an almost-immediate sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, making me feel calmer, more organized, and mentally refreshed.
Let me state from the outset that the floor of my house is often dirty. I live in the country, I run a farm, and I have a young child. We are constantly tracking dirt and who-knows-what-else into the house no matter what time of year it is (think muddy boots, logs for the fire, etc.); plus, the reality of feeding a toddler is that a surprisingly large percentage of food ends up on the floor.
As a result, I sweep my house almost every day. It takes about five minutes, and after I do it, I always feel better because my house looks a tiny amount cleaner, and the cleaner my home is, the calmer I feel. (This is especially important since I work from home.) Sweeping is extremely straightforward yet offers that “fresh-coat-of-paint” feeling—it’s not very much work, but the results are noticeable.
A freeing task
The reality of sweeping is that everyone has to get out of the way while you do it, which means that while I’m sweeping, I’m alone in the room, free to follow my thoughts wherever they lead me. Plus, the tools involved are always ready at hand and are lightweight and easy to use.
I also enjoy the more metaphorical aspect of sweeping, as I consider the gathering up of messes a sort of energetic cleansing of my space: cleaning out the old (the crusty, the dusty) that allows the smooth surface of the floor to reappear.
I have dreams of making my own broom one day to further add to the enjoyment of this daily task. But until then, my standard-issue broom and dustpan will be the tools I wield during this daily ritual of cleaning up, settling down, and looking inward.
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