This afternoon, David came into the kitchen with the new bottle of olive oil I bought at the store. "Were you planning on taking this to the bathroom?" he asked. He'd found it on a table on the way to the bathroom, where I left it and forgot about it.
I have a problem with mess. It's a problem I try to actively work on improving because it's confusing to live in a mess, especially now with children, who by their nature are mess machines. I don't know why I'm so comfortable in a mess; perhaps it's genetic. Definitely inherited, although my mother abhors mess, so I didn't get it from her. My father's messes are horrifying and GOD FORBID I end up keeping every scrap of every bill that ever arrived in my mailbox. Sometimes I worry....
When I was younger, the number one conflict that occurred between my mom and me was over my mess. "Clean up your room!" rang her constant refrain. I would start to clean it up with excellent intentions and energy, but then I'd find something interesting -- a book, an earring, a plastic horse, a shoe -- and my imagination would spark, and then I'd be floating in some other world, some inner place of reverie. Before I knew it, an hour had passed and my room was still a mess.
It got so bad, the messiness and my mother's harping about it, that around 10 years old, I decided to pray to god to help me out with it. I asked god to grant me powers like Jeannie had in "I Dream of Jeannie," the television show. I sat on the end of my bed, crossed my arms, closed my eyes and nodded my head vigorously, once. Opening one eye, I saw my room still strewn with stuff everywhere.
"Come on, god. If you're real, you'll help me clean my room." Again, I assumed the pose.
Now I've started trying to clean my room yogically; that is, I attempt to notice my mess, to become conscious of the feelings I have while I'm tossing or shoving aside the medical bills, the empty bags, the unmatched socks, the boxes of defunct files. I notice but do not judge myself. I'm cultivating a deep intention to clean.
Maybe someday I'll actually get to the actual cleaning part.