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Lions Roar : November 2014
writing or talking on the phone, i told myself. i would rather be taking notes or transcribing an interview. until, that is, i came up with the notion of Slow Cleaning. Who knows where the idea came from? one day it simply announced itself, and i obeyed. Now early each morning i tackle a new corner of the apartment and make order there: clean- ing and swabbing the dusty shelves, and examining each book and magazine, each piece of silverware, each old cracked plate. every day i keep cleaning until i find five things that i can part with. Some of these go straight into the garbage. Some make their way to the recycling center or the local thrift store. yet oth- ers—pretty and serviceable, but of no immediate use—i pass along to friends. So many presents! So many new discov- eries! So much trash! in the old days, when i set myself such domestic tasks, there was a big “have to” pulsing in the background. I have to move. I have to downsize. Slow Cleaning feels entirely different. there is no effort involved, no conscientious will. instead, my dominant emotion is one of curios- ity: What will I find today? What can I let go? Housework is no longer drudgery; it has become a quest, a treasure-hunt, a delicious piece of private liberation. often i find things—a beloved silver ball-point pen, a crucial folder—that have been lost for a long time. earrings and bracelets resurrect themselves, offer themselves as gifts. the sense of bounty, of opportunity, is very strong. this is not to say that there haven’t been knots and obstacles along the way. one week, i found a big black cardboard box, jam-packed with all the cameras i’d ever owned—four working cameras, two still in their boxes with their origi- nal instructions. i had to email a good friend for some advice on what to do with all those cameras, but that was the exception. mostly i know precisely what to do with stuff. if you don’t use it, i instruct myself, just find someone else To see the preciousness of all things, we must bring our full attention to life. ~ Jack Kornfield spiritrock.org Woodacre, CA | 415.488.0164 Retreats | Classes | Events SpiritRock_Nov.indd 1 8/8/2014 11:17:45 AM SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 20