Cleaning My Damned Apartment, Day 4: What would Buddha do?

Training progress It's easy let things slide when I'm busy. Forget the filth: I'm not exactly batting a thousand in the diet and exercise departments these days, either.

But this three-week period is as much about attitude adjustment as it is getting to clean. So it's important that (a) I focus on just the one thing, no matter how many other things I start to see I could also stand to improve upon and (b) when I backslide a little, I quietly refocus my efforts and return to my objective (i.e., appreciating my blessings through taking care of them) without adding emotional clutter (i.e., berating myself for failing).

Meditation teacher Jack Kornfield compares changing a habit (in his case, meditation) to puppy training. It's a given that a mind untrained in a discipline is going to resist and/or lose focus, just like a puppy being housebroken. We don't yell at the puppy; we don't call it a stupid idiot. We don't even make a big fuss over it. We just pick the puppy up gently and start again.

Things got a little messy yesterday. There were too many dishes in the sink this morning; there was too much trash in the wastebins. But I didn't yell at myself, or dash around like a madwoman trying to right my wrongs upon arising; I selected a half-hour where I had some time, set the timer, and did a mini-dash.

I may not get to a "big" cleanup thing today, but I have to remember: that's not the objective of this "salute". My real goal is to break a habit, or create one that better serves me and my goals today.

And as far as that goes, I think today was a real victory...

xxx c

More about Jack Kornfield and meditation retreats at Spirit Rock here.

Photo by gabesâ„¢ via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

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