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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

For Parents: Clean Sweep

October 18, 2008

Fall Fruit, pastel by Annie Fox

Fall Fruit, pastel by Annie Fox

I wasn’t home much this past week due to a cross- country trip, plus several speaking gigs at local schools. And the two weeks before that? Hmmm… let me think. Why does it seem like such a blur? Oh, yeah! It’s because between us, David and I have been crunching on three major deadlines and two minor ones. There’s actually a sixth — the redesign of my website, but since that hasn’t even made it yet to a middle burner, it doesn’t count.

So, with virtually all my deadlines completed, I felt like I’d been sprung. And for the first time in a long while, I had the freedom to do some things that I love.

As I chopped a red pepper for an omelet and savored its insanely vibrant color with half my brain, I made after-breakfast plans with the other half. What a day off I was going to have! Bread baking, gardening, yoga, meditation, a bike ride, a movie, and some artwork. I’m sure I would have gotten to at least two maybe three of those activities, if a bit of pepper hadn’t attempted suicide over the edge of my kitchen counter and I hadn’t bent down to rescue it and subsequently seen… the FLOOR!

Any neutral observer would have instantly awarded it a solid 8 on the Disgustitude Scale. So either we’d been too busy to notice and/or attend to the increasing muck at our feet OR we’d have to admit that we’re just not very tidy folks. And that’s just isn’t the case. (Ask our friends!)

Because I have a strong bias against dirty floors (when I notice them) I tossed out my fun plans and grabbed a broom.

Sweeping has a calming effect on me. It has a psychic/spiritual component to it. Think about it. There is dirt on the floor that you haven’t noticed… or that you have noticed, but, for whatever reason, you’ve chosen to ignore it, endure it, or deny its significance. There are several ways you can wake up to reality. Often, for me, it happens when I pick up something that’s dropped and I can no longer recognize the fallen item because of all the floor bits now clinging to it. Or maybe you trip over something. Or you’re doing downward dog and you’re at eyeball level with some dust buffaloes.

Whatever has brought you to this new level of consciousness, be grateful. You have awakened and suddenly you SEE what’s really there. Now it’s decision time. And when the decision is to do something about the crumbs, the dog hair, the garlic skins, the dried leaves that blew in when you opened the front door, well, I don’t know about you, but that’s the time when I start feeling empowered. Which is why, for me, sweeping begets more sweeping.

And while I swept the kitchen, then out on the deck, then down the stairs to the front gate… then out into the driveway and down the sidewalk, I thought about the upcoming election. (You’ve heard about it, right?) I thought how I, along with 89% of Americans currently feel like our country needs a scrub down. So if you’re feeling some of the frustration, sadness, anger, revulsion, betrayal, embarrassment, shame, despair, outrage, confusion, and bewilderment from the past 8 years that I’ve felt, then what are you doing about it?

November 4th is 17 days away. Got your broom ready?

Filed under: Meditation,Parenting,Politics,Yoga — Annie @ 2:58 pm

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