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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mental House Cleaning

How frequently do you find it necessary to do some mental house cleaning? What strategies do you use?

Though clearly not fastidious about the cleanliness of my home, I'm also not a slob. Most of the time, my home looks lived in but clean enough that an unexpected visitor isn't cause for acute embarrassment. That said, one of the benefits of regularly entertaining others is knowing a thorough cleaning is bound to occur now and then.

But how about mental house cleaning? What could be an equivalent trigger to remind me it's time to clean my head like the people I'm about to entertain reminding me to clean my home? Based on how long it takes whenever I finally get around to it, seems clear I'm waiting too long between mental file dumps. Before ceasing full time work, I periodically took a "mental health" day. More often than not, those days ended up filled with tasks and errands and my head remained as cluttered as that kitchen drawer we all have.

In my experience, even a regular meditation practice, though undeniably beneficial, does not obviate the need for occasional mental house cleaning. Meditation is about getting clear, open and quiet and works optimally when you let go, don't think or judge. Mental house cleaning is more active; you sift through what's no longer needed and discard it. For me, even if the extra space and sense of order I sense after mental house cleaning is imaginary, it's worth the effort expended.

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