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Cleaning Up Your Marriage
Polishing the world around you can help clean up your social life, including marriage.

You'll be amazed at the reconnection when the clutter from your life is removed.

This nesting ritual transfers from the physical to the emotional/intellectual by cleaning out the mental clutter.”
My dishwasher came to a grinding halt and so, I am now washing the dishes by hand. Don’t feel sorry for me. Washing the dishes reminds me of my connection to my mother, grandmother and great grandmother—their wisdom, laughter and stories. The warm soapy water cleans a plate, one at a time, to its outer edges and so, cleans out my chaotic or negative thoughts. I use this time as an opportunity to think of nothing special at all, simply reflecting on what’s in the sink—a cleansing meditation. (If you are wondering what my husband was doing, we have a deal: he cooks and I clean, each to his or her skill-set).

Next, I became inspired to clean out other spaces in my home because of this small success. The results help me to realistically see certain pivotal points in my life. I start to understand that most of us are so busy defending our mistakes, that we lack both the clarity and energy to correct them.

My husband grew interested in my buzzing around the house and he actively participated in cleaning and clearing out stuff without even being asked (a euphemism for nagging). We both noticed something amidst the winter doldrums. This nesting ritual transfers from the physical to the emotional/intellectual by cleaning out the mental clutter. For example, you could plan an expensive, romantic evening in a restaurant on a Caribbean beach and have it deteriorate into angry words because of "old cobwebs in your emotional baggage," a costly loss during a recession, or simply and freely shine up the kitchen together and feel sexy and connected; now there’s an investment in your marriage!

Therefore, if you are feeling messed up, you have been trying to clear the air in your marriage or are ready to infuse your life with a brand-new vigor, here are some symbols for the various cleaning counterparts:

1. Living Room: The living room makes my space more inviting to my friends. I want to cultivate a support system and am prepared to let people in.

2. Bedroom: The bedroom promotes a restful retreat. It refreshes our relationship. It boosts our positive energy and augments the visual cues to attract the right kind of attention in this room.

3. Clothes Closet: The closet helps me to let go of "old baggage" to see the essentials—what has been outgrown or no longer fits the context of my life—an opportunity to give what is still in good condition to others who might feel that it is a great find. Also, I can now rediscover my own buried treasures, previously hidden from view. The old becomes new again in a novel way. The joy of novelty in one arena transfers laterally to another arena.

4. Refrigerator: The refrigerator helps me to see with greater awareness what has spoiled and must go to make room for fresh, healthier counterparts. I can organize my day around greater health, which will help me to access vital energy.

5. Bathroom: The bathroom helps me to appreciate my body, encouraging me to pamper it instead of pounding it into submission with food deprivation and hours of exercise at the gym. This is a room where I can release toxins and restore my aching muscles with warmth.

6. Windows: The windows will help me to see new opportunities, and if I live on a lower floor and can look in, I can reflect on my inner view to give me greater insight.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of "Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life," a stress-management specialist, the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City, produces a wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com.

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