Thursday, 1 November 2012

Lessons in Domesticity


Today, for the first time in my life, I bought a feather duster. Metaphoric to my time of life perhaps, there are a couple of cobwebs on my rather high ceiling that I’ve intentionally neglected for a while (too hard to reach … I don’t have the right tools etc). But fresh from a Vipassana insight retreat, I am cleaning up my bedroom, to match my newly cleansed mentality.  

However, as Vipassana so voraciously taught me, expectation without insight is a dangerous thing. And as it happens, my rather fetching red feather duster does not cut the mustard; let alone the cobwebs. In fact, it would be fair to say that any previously inconspicuous webs have now clumped together forming a blackened tapestry as they cling to my blinds and door frame; as opposed to simply dangling from the ceiling as they did before I decided to ‘clean’ up.

Cobwebs, it’s argued, are not necessarily the product of spiders, but are potentially collections of household dust, which might explain why they are having a hard time letting go. Instead of happily allowing themselves to be escorted out of the building, they are putting up a fight – there’s plenty of dust around and as we know there’s safety in numbers.

But if the world is merely a mirror for our internal microcosm, then I guess I need to let go of the old dust, allowing myself to really clean up, and start with a clear freshness that shines with newness and clarity. And instead of hoping I can stand on my bed and merely brush away that which has freely claimed space above my head for months, I would be better to don a pair of rubber gloves and give the walls a good scrub. The same can be said for any old beliefs I have that are hanging around. It can be tough letting go of what we know, because, well, it’s what we know and familiarity breeds safety.

But safety is not generally where we learn life’s greatest lessons, oh no. The most magnificent rewards come when we have no idea of the outcome and simply take a huge breath before jumping feet first into whatever situation is before us. And there’s where I’m at.

My feet are currently on a precipice of new beliefs, with most of my decisions making no sense to my weathered mind, while my heart takes the wheel and navigates a new path. And for all the sensibility, which my mind has provided me with over the years, I feel good about finally carving a new, entirely heartfelt way.

If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll work out how to really clear away my mental cobwebs, leaving only sunshine and sparkles and an arctic white twinkle every time I smile? Sounds like something I used to read about in fairy tales, only now I’m the one writing the story, and yes, I’m choosing to create a happier reality, whether other people get it or not.

Boy, who knew cobwebs could be so enlightening!