martha dawson

errant inspiration

the extraordinary lives in the ordinary

evict your dust bunnies

THE DUST BUNNIES ARE RUNNING OUR LIVES!

Who are these fuzzy tyrants that dictate the quality and tenor of our lives?

They are the rigid beliefs and innumerable rules we have adopted throughout life and have come to accept as the unchanging truth about ourselves and the world. I call then dust bunnies because they pile up unchecked in the nooks and crannies of our minds like the furry tumbleweeds we find under our beds. They include things like the “one size fits all” formulas for the perfect life, such as what makes a good, smart, beautiful, lovable or spiritual person,   a successful and fulfilling career, a healthy love life or even what we should eat for breakfast.They also count among their numbers those “ I have THAT all figured out and can file it away forever” mind farts that close down any future curiosity or learning about the matter. When that happens you can be sure you just gave birth to a whole litter of dust bunnies! Another member of this over populated tribe is every label that you or someone else has applied to you. She’s smart, he’s a troublemaker, I’m too sensitive, selfish, fat, such a good person, a doormat, so enlightened, a victim, and so on.

These furry beasties take up residency in our subconscious and influence EVERY decision we make and dictate how we perceive ourselves and experience the world. It is especially challenging these days when we are constantly bombarded with information that is good, bad, and often just useless. Our minds are drowning in a sea of conflicting data and attempting to run our lives from its murky depths. 

And here’s the thing, when we believe in and act upon something that isn’t true for us, it creates chaos, resistance, and suffering, and it also makes us deaf to our intuition, the voice of our divine essence, and hinders the expansion of our awareness. We get stuck, become exhausted and unhappy.

So what to do?

1. Slow down the flow of information that you allow into your life by being selective, and always check in with yourself to see if it resonates as true for you. If it doesn’t, consciously toss it out. Otherwise, your mind will file it away for future reference. It is much easier to curate the filing cabinets of your mind than have to do a massive clean-up operation.

2. Begin the massive clean-up operation. You have a lifetime of mind clutter that has accumulated. Try not to be paralyzed by fear. I promise you are designed to do this job, and from my experience it is very liberating. I can frequently be found laughing when some stupid rule bubbles up to the surface. I have rules about what I’m allowed to put ketchup on????

Take a cue from Marie Kondo of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up fame. She has her clients hold each item they own and ask themselves just one question: Does this spark joy in me? Do you know why this is such a brilliant question? It’s because joy is a language of your Soul, and your Soul tells you the truth. So for example, I take up the label that has been applied to me since I was young, I’m too sensitive. This label does not spark joy for me. It implies I am broken, but when I remove the word “too” from the statement it becomes I am sensitive which does ring true for me, and I can see that my empathic nature is a strength, and I am free to learn more about it.

Let’s try another one.

I am a liar. Well, that obviously doesn’t make me feel any joy. It’s origin lies in childhood, too. My mother’s narcissistic insecurities required complete control over her children. It was implied that I was not allowed to have private thoughts ( She read my journals and listened to my phone conversations, as well.) and if I didn’t share all of my thoughts with her then I was a liar. I was unable to comply completely, so therefore I must be a liar. This began when I was very young and could not afford the thought that my parents would do anything to hurt me. The damaging effects of this belief did not end there. My inability to act upon this over-exposing, over-sharing behaviour with other significant relationships in my adult life  increased my shame. This dust bunny has been evicted!

Here’s how I release them:

I release (name the belief/rule) from my being and send it to the light, and I flood the space in me where it resided with the unconditional love of Divine Source. (Nature abhors a vacuum so you want to fill it with something of your choosing and not give the stuff you just released an easy opportunity to return.)

Don’t know where to begin to uncover those elusive beliefs and self-imposed rules?

Try this:

Schedule a day with the intention of only doing things that you enjoy. 

Let me guess. Your mind just told you that you don’t have time to do this, right? Check back in a couple of months or years and we’ll see if we can squeeze it in.

Now ask your mind to explain how you have time for all the things you’re not crazy about doing and not have even ONE DAY to spend on the things you enjoy?

Here it comes……..It’s selfish and indulgent to do such a thing. People need you, there is so much work to do and there are dirty dishes in the sink, and you want to loll about in your own personal la-la land. How narcissistic.  
You have just discovered a load of dust bunnies, beliefs that don’t serve you. You do not deserve a day to enjoy yourself. There’s never enough time for you to take care of yourself. It’s selfish to take care of yourself. Everyone else comes first. That’s what a good person does. When your mind puts on its big black judgy hat and starts calling you names, it’s because it’s feeling insecure and unsure and it has resorted to bullying you back into submission. Unfortunately one usually give up at this point shrinking from the guilt and shame we are sure are coming to devour us. INSTEAD STAND YOUR GROUND AND SCHEDULE THE DAY ANY WAY.

And by the way, even if it was true that you are only here to serve other’s needs and do all the mundane minutiae you think is required to run your lives, wouldn’t you need to spend some time caring for yourself so you could continue to do so? Big red flag, your mind isn’t making any sense.

Now that you’ve scheduled the day, it’s time to think about how you might like to spend it so you aren’t floundering around on the morning of your lovely me day. You get ready to make your list and your mind goes blank and brain fog rolls in. Judging, guilt, and shame didn’t work to keep you in line, how about I just block ya? 

This happens partly because you haven’t had much practice thinking about what a whole day of pleasurable moments would actually consist of for you. First, it doesn’t have to be a super duper, grandiose, life altering extravaganza. (That’s your mind telling you it needs to be so important and special to be worthwhile or don’t bother. You’ve just uncovered another stinky, lifesucking belief to release!) Small pleasures are the best. Remember the tagline at the top of this essay: The extraordinary lives in the ordinary. 

Here is one of my lists to help inspire you:

  • Try a new soup recipe (I pick Parsley Soup!)
  • Paint
  • Read a novel
  • Watch movies
  • Stare out the window and enjoy the beauty 
  • Listen to French Cafe music
  • Daydream
  • Have a coffee with a friend
  • Hang out in the bookstore
  • Nap under a tree
  • Spend an hour intentionally doing nothing 

This is not a to do list! It’s a list of possibilities from which to choose. If your mind is anything like mine, it will try and poison the experience by saying your day was a failure because you didn’t accomplish everything on the list. Bingo, another dust bunny exposed!

Your day arrives, you open your eyes and your mind immediately sticks a laundry list in your face (Which will probably include doing the laundry!) of all the things that MUST be done before you can be ALLOWED to enjoy yourself. DON’T BACK DOWN. PICK SOMETHING FROM YOUR FUN LIST AND DO IT.

Your only requirement for the day is to enjoy yourself. 

During the day just make some notes about what your mind vomits up to try and stop you. Then go back to having fun. You can identify the beliefs/rules later and release them.

Here are some of the things I have gained from doing this practice. 

  • I have learned that I create each day and therefore, I choose each thing I do.
  • When each day includes activities that I enjoy, even the tasks I grumbled about before have become more effortless because I don’t feel deprived of what I love doing.
  • I can now hear what my body wants to feel good.
  • I am more myself therefore I’m more content.
  • I am more present and more aware.
  • I have learned that when I do what I love, I don’t automatically turn into a unlovable narcissistic bitch and the world doesn’t fall apart. This has made my mind quieter.
  • LIFE IS MEANT TO BE ENJOYED! (Joy being a language of the Soul underscores that truth!)
  • The more I fill the day with my version of joy, the easier it is to do it even more.

Now be gentle with yourself. It’s all about taking one baby step at a time. There is a lot of history that created and supported the whole life is basically hard with only a few lucky glimpses of fleeting joy and peace concept. That paradigm has crumbled, but we are still suffering from its effects because we hold onto that old belief. The new paradigm is grounded in love, but it can take some time to become aware of it and embody it one moment at a time. Your Soul knows the way. Why not ask?

With that in mind, I’m off to make caraway shortbread. Yummy!

From my heart to yours,

Martha

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