Insights from the Pavement: Welcoming New Dirt


Silly, though that statement may be, it still has a profound meaning within the constructs of one’s home.  And while abroad, this statement will remain with us if we take the time to apply it in our at-home lives.

While traveling, it’s certainly important to be in the moment with each of the everyday items that requires our participation (walking, meeting, writing, planning, etc.).  But one of the few things that we rarely engage in while on the road is the action of cleaning.

We clean our clothes, we take showers – some of us might even polish shoes or hats (I am one of these people).  But generally while we’re traveling we don’t do the same type of cleaning as we do at home.  And this might not seem important (or even noticeable) to most people.  So it might just as well go without note that our bodies actually miss the experience of cleaning our spaces.

Trash Clean Up_resize

I realize that this is an odd statement to make – especially for those who would just as soon lounge on the beach with a martini than to sweep the kitchen floor yet another time.  But cleaning has a way of giving us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective than we normally have.

Cleaning really doesn’t benefit us in the same way that other actions do.  It doesn’t get any more of our pages edited from our new book.  It doesn’t get the financial reports in on time.  It doesn’t walk the dog or take the kids to school.  But it’s important nonetheless.

Cleaning isn’t just an act of making things shinier.  When we’re in the moment of cleansing our space, we are engaging that place within us that transforms internal intentions into physical action which ultimately rejuvenates an environment.  So it’s much grander than the connotation that the word “chores” brings with it.

Philosophically speaking, the dust that moved around us while doing the things in the past has eventually sifted down onto the floor.  And so these little particles, which will remain until they have been swept away, represent the other types of work that we’ve previously engaged in.  Sweeping them away clears a metaphorical workspace for new activities, more work and therefore more progress.  And once swept away, these particles will be replaced by the remnants of our future efforts.

So in this way the action of cleaning means something much more subtle, yet no less profound, to our inner selves.  Taking off to travel also means leaving that activity behind.  And whether or not we find ourselves with white sand and bottomless martinis or a dusty road with an endless horizon, we will continue to create, progress and carry on.

So the next time we return home we should welcome this time to clean.  When sweeping, mopping or scrubbing, we should be in the moment of not only cleaning the physical elements of the past from our space, but also welcoming the growth that this new, clean space will allow us to manifest.  And the next time we find ourselves remiss of our cleaning duties, we’ll still be able to rely on our pattern of welcoming new dirt.

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If you liked the photo from this journal, why not visit the album from Bangkok HERE.

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