23 Jun 2020

Unless you live in a house or flat just big enough (or possibly too small), most of you have “that room.” “That room” is where everything that doesn’t have a home finds a “temporary” resting place until it is put on Gumtree or taken to the charity shop or put up into the loft – never to see the light of day again.

In our house it’s the dining room. The last time it was even semi-cleared was at the end of March when my daughter’s eighteenth birthday celebrations were abruptly circumscribed to our nuclear family circle and we held a formal black-tie dinner in her honour.

On Saturday I decided to spring-clean. I had ignored the increasing grubbiness for too long. The spiders were building skyscrapers while campaigning for more space and the dust-bunnies were breeding like – well – rabbits!

Armed with vacuum-cleaner, cobweb brush, mop, dusting cloths, furniture polish and kitchen sink – well – washing up bowl of soapy water – I began. I evicted 22 spiders and sucked up more. I brushed down enough cobwebs to make a parachute for a spy. I operated a recovery mission under the sideboard where a colony of woodlice had established a graveyard; lying thick as if their goal were to become limestone in a million years, once the polar icecaps melt and East Anglia is again under the sea. I dusted the bookcases. I polished the table and chairs. I extracted all the homeless objects from the corners and piled them up for later permanent rehoming. I vacuumed and mopped and dusted, and at the end of it all I felt accomplished but physically exhausted.

Yesterday I had the horrible but morally unavoidable task of telling someone the person she considers a friend is a sociopathic child sex offender: today I am emotionally exhausted.

Alison texted this morning to say she has been doing a lot of self-examination in connection with a personal development course. She is spiritually exhausted.

We will both recover. Sunday was a day of rest for me. I lay in the hammock and read. A friend visited for a socially distanced cup of tea in the garden and I went to bed only tired, not drained.

Today I will be kind to myself. Writing everything down expresses my emotions externally, so they leave my body. I shall do a little gentle crafting without demanding from myself a paper-engineered masterpiece. This will nourish me.

Alison will spend some time in meditation and go on a nature walk. Her soul will be refreshed.

When we expend all our energy, we need to rest, to recover and to replenish. It is easy to expect too much of ourselves, to go day after day draining ourselves of everything and not giving ourselves what we need to recharge. I am guilty of this – but I’m learning. Slowly.

My challenge to you today is to think about what you need to recharge. And then to spend some time doing it.


A Moodscope member.

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