Just as he was leaving for his office, she got into a huge argument with him. What started as an innocuous statement, slid into another matter and then the past came up. Once the past issues came up, the argument went into a slanging match with both of them screaming at each other and not willing to listen to one another. It ended when he banged the front door to leave for office. She sat down for a while stunned at what happened. Myriads of emotions washed across her. Anger, bitterness, dejection, disappointment and tons of sadness. She wondered why each of them could not have responded differently. Then a wave of guilt washed over to compounded her emotions. Why get into an argument when someone is leaving home? A short while later she went and emptied all the clothes from her cupboard. It had been a mess. Today was the day to clean it up. All the clothes were dumped on the bed. She spent the whole day putting cleaning her cupboard and putting all the clothes neatly folded back into the cupboard. It soothed her, calmed her and she felt peace returning to her.
After a huge argument about pocket money with his dad, the son got down to cleaning the bathroom tiles and the washbasin while thinking about the argument. At the end of an hour, he felt better about himself, his dad and life in general.
Many of us have experienced this. We get into a bad mood - could be anger, sadness, anxiety or guilt - and without thinking much we get into cleaning some neglected area in our homes. We rearrange the cupboard, the drawers, clean the work desk, the kitchen counter, the clothes basket, the terrace or the garden. When in an emotional peak, cleaning tends to calm some of us. We may do it without thinking. But the act of cleaning, removing dust, organizing things changes our mood.
Although we are removing the dust in the outside world, it is as if we are removing the dust from the mirror to take a better look at ourselves. It is removing the dust from the glasses so we can see others better. Cleaning a set of bathroom tiles, seeing the washbasin is spotless, the kitchen sink empty, the God’s room organized, the garden rid of dead leaves feels like getting a grip on ourselves. We are bringing order from the chaos and that makes us feel in control. We feel we can handle things.
If you have not tried it give it a shot. The next time you are emotionally upset choose a place in your home to clean and bring some order to it. Cleaning can be calming, peaceful and healing for the person.
Cleaning can be cathartic in more ways than one.