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Clean Up Your Space to Clean Up Your Life

By Debbie Mandel

My dishwasher came to a grinding halt and so, I am washing the dishes. Don’t feel sorry for me. Washing the dishes reminds me of my connection to my mother, grandmother and great grandmother – their wisdom, laughter and stories. The warm soapy water cleans a plate, one at a time, to its outer edges and so, cleans out my chaotic or negative thoughts. I use this time as an opportunity to think of nothing special at all, simply reflecting on what’s in the sink – a cleansing meditation.

Next I became inspired to clean out other spaces in my home because of this small success. The results help me to realistically see, certain pivotal points in my life. I start to understand that most of us are so busy defending our mistakes, that we lack both the clarity and energy to correct them!

However, actively and personally participating in cleaning, like a ritual, transfers from the physical to the emotional/intellectual. If you are feeling messed up, have been trying to clear the air, or are ready to infuse your life with a brand new vigor, here are some symbols for the various cleaning counterparts:

Cleaning up the:
  • Living room makes my space more inviting to my friends. I want to cultivate a support system and am prepared to let people in.
  • Bedroom promotes a restful retreat. If I have a mate, it refreshes our relationship. It boosts our positive energy and augments the visual cues to attract the right kind of attention in this room.
  • Clothes closet helps me to let go of “old baggage” to see the essentials – what has been outgrown or no longer fits the context of my life – an opportunity to give what is still in good condition to others who might feel that it is a great find. Also, I can now rediscover my own buried treasure, previously hidden from view – the old becomes new again in a novel way.
  • Refrigerator helps me to see with greater awareness what has spoiled and must go to make room for fresh, healthier counterparts. I can organize my day around greater health.
  • Bathroom helps me to appreciate my body, encouraging me to pamper it instead of pounding it into submission with food deprivation and hours of exercise at the gym. This is a room where I can release toxins and restore my aching muscles with warmth.
  • Windows will help you to see new opportunities and if you live on a lower floor and can look in, you can reflect on your inner view.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: