Sometimes the mess is so big the only thing to do is to attack it with cheerful exuberance. Music jacked up as loud as possible, thumping with a beat so loud you have to shout over it to hear each other.
"MOMMY! I AM GOING TO MOP NOW."
"WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOU."
"I'M GOING TO MOP NOW."
"MAHM-MAY. I. AM. GOING. TO. MOP. NOW."
"I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU SAID, BUT SOUNDS GOOD. YOU'RE DOING GREAT. I COULDN'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU. GODSPEED."
This is how I'm training the kids to deep clean. Tidy every day but only really clean once everything gets way out of control, do it all in one big burst of speed and togetherness. With as much dancing as you can possibly muster. Afterward, we're all proud and sweaty and tired. And, of course, making a big mess once again. Nothing invites happy mess-making like a clean house.
I think of my mind like a house sometimes. I take a step back and do an inventory of all the clutter I've let accumulate in there: insidious half-truths, unexplored ideas, problematic beliefs, unexpressed core values. It can feel a little suffocating when these things begin to pile up in teetering stacks, like the flotsam and jetsam of schoolbooks, projects, and papers on my desk.
I set the boys on organizing the desk. They're both meticulous (something they clearly inherited from their father). With the beat ringing in their ears, they sorted everything into neat piles: save, recycle, put away, and trash. They worked with focus and determination. (Also something they clearly inherited from their father, I work in confounding circle-8 patterns that make no sense, but somehow get the job done.)
I try to do that in my own mind every now and again. Sort these things into piles: Save. Recycle. Put away. Trash.
Save the core values. Figure out how to express them. Recycle those problematic beliefs, pull them apart, clean and break them down into something new. There may be something potentially good in there, like brown scratchy napkins or shampoo bottles. They just need straightened out and repurposed. Trash those insidious half-truths. Those lies I believe based out of fear and scarcity. Sure the world is scary, but that's not home base. Love is, in it's miraculous multiplying abundance.
Usually my thumping beat that's loud and shouting isn't the old school rock anthems that make up our cleaning playlist. Usually it's a mantra, a thought yanked from scripture that drowns out everything else and focuses me. Gets me doing the hard work of rewiring my mind while dancing with surprising exuberance.
I've been doing this for a month now, pretty consistently, in my quiet time. The results are wonderful, there's a spaciousness inside myself now. Room to drag out those ideas that excite me and dump them on the floor and start playing. Just like the kids do once everything is in it's place and the floor is fresh and clean, they get busy making another mess, learning, growing, exploring, experimenting.
Creating requires a clean mental space and a really good soundtrack.