I was gathering up my things to leave my house for the day when a thought came rushing to my mind. It was likely brought on by the recent news of terror attacks in the U.K. Not to be morbid because that isn’t my nature, but I thought, “What if I don’t make it back here at the end of the day, for whatever reason. Have I left my home in good order? Would I be OK with a family member or a friend finding things as I left them? A sobering thought in some ways and inspiring and motivating in others.
The sobering part is easy to understand. It is likely that very few people close the door behind them as they step out into the world to “do their day” with the thought of never returning. But things happen, in the United States nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, this is an average 3287 deaths a day. And over half of them are ages 15-44. An additional 3900 people die each day of a range of causes from cancer to crime. Think about it that means that at least 7000 people each day walk out of their homes never to return.
You might ask, how can any of these statistics be the basis for motivation or inspiration. Well, for me it made me stop and have a closer look around. Was I OK with leaving the dirty dishes in the sink? Was I OK with leaving the laundry on top of the dryer unfolded in a wrinkled tangle? Was I OK with clothes and books on the floor in my closet? The answer was no, absolutely not. Dirty dishes and wrinkled clothes are not an expression of my best self. It is not how I would leave my house if I knew guests were going to be visiting or if friends were coming for dinner. So why wouldn’t I leave my house in good order each day for myself? After all, my home is my sanctuary. It is my safe place. It is a representation of my authenticity, passions, and creativity.
As a result of this curious thought entering my mind, I have become more attentive to how I leave things. The dishes are done, the clothes are folded and put away, and the closet has been spruced up. I have noticed that I feel more joy when I get home at the end of the day. And, doing the tasks that keep things in order have become calming rituals instead of undesirable chores. Things left undone have energy, an energy that is low, heavy and lackluster. The opposite is true when an environment is orderly and free of clutter. The energy has vitality, clarity, and a natural flow.
I understand that there are days when things get messy. Life is like that. But for now, I am going to stick to my practice of leaving my home in good order each day. It is a habit that gives more than it takes. It brings more peace to my life and it adds to my appreciation of the little things that make a big difference. I invite you to do the same.