Sunday, May 11, 2008

Carpet cleaning - Spring Cleaning: The house or the heart?

Spring Cleaning: The house or the heart?
Sun, 16 Mar 2008 12:24:33
By F. Mardi, Press TV, Tehran
You walk into a house and say: "Wow! It looks like a magazine!" You might think to yourself: "She must have too much time on her hands," or "I'm glad my husband isn't a neat freak like hers." But deep inside you want a house just as tidy and clean and organized.

You know it is hard work, so you call it sour grapes or put it off forever. What about when guests are coming over during the holidays, what about when your kids have play-dates?

What do you do then? You shove all the clutter into one room and still make no decision to tackle it. It's something we've all done; there's no use being ashamed of it. Then comes the New Year and along with it - resolutions. Losing weight, and balancing your career and family life are usually at the top of the list. Somewhere on the list is having a better environment to live in; more importantly, maintaining a safe and healthy environment for you and your family.

We all want a lovely home, but sometimes finding time to clean up or making the decision to pitch unneeded items is difficult. Saving things in moderation is considered normal. When carried too far, this impulse is considered to be a clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder. Compulsive hoarding "is not laziness, criminal negligence or failure to attend to the responsibilities of life," explains Sanjaya Saxena, MD, director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program at the University of California, San Diego. "It is, in fact, a neuropsychiatric disorder that will not get better unless the person is treated." According to Branscum's article "The Hoarding Syndrome -- When Clutter Goes Out Of Control" Readers' Digest,) March, 2007), as many as three million to six million Americans may be afflicted by this disorder at some level.

This is serious. Since ancient times, Iranians have had certain customs about cleaning. Muslims believe that "An-nezhafat-o men-al-iman" meaning cleanliness is an aspect of faith.

It is very close to what Christians believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness. Near the Persian New Year, this tendency to clean reaches its climax. Khane-tekani, literally "shaking your house", meaning spring cleaning, is an ancient ritual carried out in Iran 'til this very day. It needs to be done, no questions asked.

All family members and sometimes hired help chip in and do their part: from washing the walls and carpets to emptying all the cupboards and closets. It's something people talk about in the check-out lines. "Did you finish your spring cleaning? I'm almost finished with mine,"…

The question I'm proposing at this point is what about our hearts? We pay so much attention to our living environment, which is great, but what about our minds and souls?

We constantly dust and wash and scrub, and we still have major cleaning to do for the New Year. What about our souls? Do we really spend all that much time on cleaning and reorganizing the space we have in our hearts and minds?

In our hearts, there might be grudges against old friends or family members. It only takes a phone call to clear it up and make that part of our heart shine like it has been lovingly polished.

There may be negative thoughts stopping us from reaching our goals. With some positive thinking and good planning we can remove those debilitating stains.

There may be feelings of jealousy towards others lurking in our hearts. The jealousy will eat away at our bodies and souls and never stop. Now is the time to remove it.

Unfortunately, there is no ultra 1-2-3 spray to remove all the stains from our hearts. Sometimes we manage to clean a particular spot in our heart, but we haven't paid it enough attention for it to heal. The heart needs personal and continuous care. Take the time and make a habit of caring for your heart and soul. Have a check-up once in a while.

Why wait until it's too late? Why put ourselves off? What is so important that isn't letting us move forward? Each person has to perform an inventory on their own. Each of us has to see what's in our own heart, what should be there that isn't and what shouldn't be there - but is.

We can go at it slowly. Number one: devote more time to those important relationships. Why not take baby steps? Make an effort to communicate in a more positive way. Try spending less time on the phone at home. At meal times, ask how the people you care about are. You might even have to make room in your busy schedule to have a meal time! How is it that we can devise plans for billion-dollar businesses and not manage to see what we need to succeed personally and spiritually? Every heart needs another to comfort it. In this world where we try to get ahead by doing things by ourselves, being lonely will not get us anywhere.

Spring cleaning of the heart should be a family undertaking, just like spring cleaning of the house. Everyone should help each other. It's tough, nobody said it was easy. Anything worth having is worth struggling to achieve. Take into consideration why we were put here on earth. I think you'll agree that it wasn't only to sip tea or sit on the couch and watch TV.

Don't let the clutter in your house get out of control. Don't let the clutter in your heart get out of control either. It's just as important. In the first case, you might have the Hoarding Syndrome, but when too many negative things crowd your heart - well, let's just say it's not a pretty sight.

It doesn't matter where you are from, take the Persian New Year as another opportunity to start a good life. You matter! A whole person is one who cares for his heart and home. It's just like everything else in this world, it's a cycle. It never ends. Each time you think you have finished something, just realize that it's actually the beginning of something else.

May God give you strength to continue doing what is right until you reach what you are worthy of.

Looking forward to receiving your comments or questions at!
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