It is stunning the opportunities we miss to bring our whole selves to all we do and connect dots that stare us in the face.
Why do creative and imaginative people (and we are all inherently creative and imaginative) shut down their creativity when in certain domains or situations that are in no less need of their essence and presence. Why would a great writer or a good student or an amazing teacher close up their openness to learn and grow when in the seemingly mundane? Why is it hard to see that attention to detail is attention to detail whether you are preparing a presentation or mopping a floor? Why is it hard to see that exiting a space you just cleaned without looking over the work you just did is the same as creating a piece of art and not enjoying the beauty that just came through you or writing an article and not going over it at least to see if there are corrections to be made? Why don’t we see that being limited by a task list or cleaning tool is the same as a failure to step outside the box?
Why did it take me long to see that being a good custodian of a temporary structure like a building is great cross training for being a good custodian of timeless structures, values and principles?
Perhaps the essence of janitorial work and the essence of banking for example, are the same, assuming a banker is truly a custodian of and not a gambler with or a “stealer” of other people’s financial resources. What limits a banker and building janitor from exploring custodianship and stewardship together? Perhaps that very outside the box experience done periodically could expand both their worlds and return them to their essences, which is what cleaning is about. Cleaning is revealing essence again and again.
Centuries of compartmentalization has trained us to bring our whole selves to certain situations and shut down parts of ourselves in others. Perhaps we need permission to “decompartmentalize” and see that the universe is an interconnected system and separateness is a severely limiting mental construct.
Cleaning as Practice is giving people permission to “decompartmentalize”, to “unseparate”, to cross imaginary boundaries to bring our whole selves to the seemingly mundane, to be as open to learning about ourselves, the world and the universe from the act of cleaning as we would in the loftiest of domains. And it goes beyond the act of cleaning. But cleaning is an apt metaphor for the process of wiping off limiting ideas. Cleaning as Practice is the invitation to look where we have been ignoring. It is giving ourselves permission to erase the borders of our empathy, creativity, imagination, integrity, humility and openness.