This morning, in a hurry and late for the train I saw ... out the corner of my eye that stopped me cold and had me running for the broom. Right next to the chair in front of my faux ... sa
This morning, in a hurry and late for the train I saw something out the corner of my eye that stopped me cold and had me running for the broom. Right next to the chair in front of my faux fireplace sat three very tiny, very fresh rat, er… let’s call them raisins. Anybody who knows me knows that I have a borderline phobia about vermin in general and rats and mice in particular. The very sight of one tiny mouse would have my 230 pound frame up on the bed not willing to come down until I was sure that it was gone.
I’ve always known that there were rats in my house but I’ve been willing to ignore them (i.e. pretend they weren’t there), but these rat raisins revealed the very real presence of one of my biggest fears.
No doubt about it: it was time to clean house. It was time to clear my space of anything that a rodent could eat or live in. My sloppy living habits were keeping me from living a clean, healthy lifestyle, and this paralleled my spiritual “house” as well.
After all the cleaning and laundering and sweeping was done, my room looked halfway decent, but I knew that the rats were still “out there” somewhere. Action had to be taken to see to it that no rat would ever find my domicile comfortable enough to live in again. I made a list of things to do and before I knew it I had a plan. I noticed that with a slight adjustment, the plan could be used to clean up my life; my spiritual “house”.
This is the blueprint I used to clean house, both spiritually and physically.
1.Admit that I have rats: Those “raisins” by my chair were evidence that I had rats; just as certain behaviors and attitudes I harbored were evidence that I had the “rats” of negativity in my life. Despair and loneliness, as well as a host of other negative feelings were evidence that there was something gnawing away at me spiritually. The first step to sweeping away the filth of my personal rats was to not close my eyes to the evidence.
2.See What Needs to be Done: My next order of business was to do something to clean up my room. After admitting that there were rat raisins, I looked around and saw that I also had cobwebs in the corners, and also dust on all the surfaces, a refrigerator that needed cleaning and a myriad of other things that needed doing.
I sat down and made a list. One by one I examined my room and wrote down what was wrong with it. By doing this I could see exactly what needed to be done. In the same way, I could make a list of things in my life that are wrong and see exactly what needs to be done with that.
To help me make this list I went to the website of Bill Ferguson, a divorce lawyer who specializes in trying to help divorcing couples part as friends. His book, Miracles Are Guaranteed describes the process. You can see the basic idea of his concept here. He’s also produced an audio course outlining the same strategies to help people clean up their spiritual houses. It’s worth it to give his website a look too. Most of the ideas found in his book and audio course can be found there: http://www.masteryoflife.com
3.Be Thorough: I had to be honest with myself; did it really matter if I left an unwashed plate in my room? Do I really have to pick up after myself? Rats have amazingly resilient digestive systems (i.e. if you don’t clean your plate, a rat will clean it for you and rat saliva is neither appetizing nor sanitizing), and I myself have found evidence of rats living in one of my junk drawers. That’s right, more raisins.
In the same vein, I had to be honest and thorough when examining my life; the resentments I carried, the anger that seems to dominate my life. All these things are frightening and hard to look at, but they are all evidence that I had spiritual rodents running around gnawing at the joy I was seeking.
4.Start Cleaning: Once I had my list, I could see exactly what needed to be done. Floor dirty? Sweep it! Cobwebs in the corners? Knock ‘em down! In life I had to do the same thing: Holding a grudge? Forgive the person, not for them, but for my own well being and peace of mind. I found out how to do that at Bill Ferguson’s website too.
5.Maintain Cleanliness: In life as well as in my house I had to maintain the habits that would keep me in a clean, rodent free house. Put the clothes in the hamper. Wash dirty dishes daily. Keep on the lookout for any negativity in my life and take steps to avoid it. Sure I get lazy sometimes, but if I don’t do what needs to be done, I’ll just wind up with more vermin.
Basically, those are the steps I’ve taken and am still taking to keep my house and my life free of rats. I’m not perfect at it, and I don’t always do it to my own satisfaction, but what has been done so far has made me a much happier person.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wash my plate.
Loy Williams’ alter ego Yobyol is the webmaster of the weblog “The Happy Heretic: My Escape from Organized Religion. Go to http://www.yobyol.com to see his most recent posts. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.