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  • Denise Frakes

Cleaning out the Bones- Unconventional Clutter Clearing

Cleaning is ordinary...until you decide it's poetry...and then it becomes extraordinary

We do what we know. I coach, teach clutter clearing and cleaning like I would like to learn it. From my heart. It's a practice that expands our soul...not a chore that must be done.

We all have teachers and mentors that travel with us, whispering in our ears. We are the results of many ingredients, time and temperature.

We never travel on this journey alone. It is a practice of listening and trying new things. Repeating the ones that work, letting go of the filler.

This morning I was reading the introduction to Natalie Goldberg's book: Writing Down The Bones. Natalie teaches writing workshops- or at least she did when she wrote this. She says "I teach the same methods over and over again. It is such basic information about trusting your own mind and creating a confidence in your experience that I have never grown tired of teaching it. instead my own understanding continues to deepen."

Whenever Natalie Goldberg would go visit her Zen Master Katagiri Roshi she would ask him about Buddhism. Natalie teaches writing. "Whenever I went to see him and asked him a question about Buddhism, I had trouble understanding the answer until he said, "You know, like writing when you..." When he referred to writing, I understood. About three years ago he said to me, "Why do you come to sit meditation? Why don't you make writing your practice? If you go deep enough in writing it will take you everyplace."

This is how I feel about creating homes and lives. They are our practice. Cleaning out the weeds the brambles from life isn't really work. It's a deep archeology dig of exploration of waking up our souls. Over time we all get lost in the details, in the daily grind. By rebooting our lives we are forced to look at our lives. We can find fresh canvases under our rubble. Places to begin again. Clues to who we want to be.

Our past builds up as compost. When compost is done it produces a rich deep gold enriched soil. Our job is not to live in the compost pile but use the black gold to fertilize our lives, to plant new seeds, grow new possibilities. To use our work as our practice- to go deep. To explore, to trust what we are looking for, whatever we are looking for is here. What we need we already have. What we are looking for is not out there or in a book or class it's right here.

Unconventional clutter clearing is our practice. We don't exactly follow a linear path. A doesn't always lead directly to B. Cleaning out is a creative exploration. We learn to create habits that pave our lives forward. We wake up, dive in and learn to play again.

Houses are places that keep us safe and warm. They are gifts. They are living things, breathing ever changing. They need care and love...just like us. In order for our lives to be nourished we must learn to live a nourished life. Sometimes we have to clean out the barn to find ourselves.

Cleaning and clutter clearing are like an eggplant.

"The first poem I (Natalie Goldberg) opened in the book was about cooking eggplant! I was amazed: "Your mean you can write about something like that? Something as ordinary as that? Something that I did in my life? A synapse connected in my brain. I went home with the resolve to write what I knew and to trust my own thoughts and feelings and to not look outside of myself. I was not in school anymore. I could say what I wanted. I began to write..."

Cleaning is ordinary...until you decide it's poetry...and then it becomes extraordinary

Listen to your poets...use heart wisdom to clean out and find your way.

Happy travels my friends,


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