Sunday, August 2, 2009


Buster Brown cleans up the houseImage via Wikipedia

Last week, I treated myself to a real splurge.

A fancy dinner? Spa treatment? Retail therapy? No, something even more decadent.

I hired a maid service to come and clean my house.

This was even more of a splurge because the place was in fairly good shape. We keep things pretty well picked up and presentable. However, there were lots of little things that perhaps nobody else would have noticed, but I was feeling dissatisfied. And, with a busy life, career, and appointment schedule, all but the most basic cleaning and straightening goes undone. It was time!

I had mixed feelings about calling a maid service. I still remember, long ago, my mother cleaning along the bathroom baseboards with an old toothbrush. And I also remember her saying, "If I don't move anything, then you can't tell how dusty it is." Needless to say, those two extremes are hard for me to navigate. After returning from travels and launching into some major work and volunteer projects, I decided it would be more valuable for me to hire out for the cleaning so that I could focus on other things. I called the Keep It Green Maid Service, an eco-friendly mom-and-pop operation, and felt good about my decision to "Support Local, Grow Together."

Now, I am filled with a convert's zeal. I'm more aware of the new standard of cleanliness (nearer to godliness are we!) and so it's pretty easy to keep. However, I know that time will pass, I will get busy, I will pay less attention, and things will begin to deteriorate again. Life happens, and stuff along with it, and dust and clutter. I'll need the Keep It Green Maids to come back in another month. I'll also get them to teach me some workable strategies for keeping things under control between our sessions.

It occurred to me that learning, especially the kind of learning we do in the Feldenkrais Method, is kind of like having your house cleaned. To keep the changes, you have to pay attention. You have to remember how it was, and how you wanted something better. And then, you have to do just a little bit each day to be able to maintain the awareness and the results. A Feldenkrais lesson provides a gentle but thorough housecleaning of your movement patterns. Those aches, pains, or klutziness are like dust and grime that keep things from going smoothly. Your Feldenkrais lesson will leave you feeling calm, focused, and in improved condition. Sometimes, you need a pro.

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Barbara McCool said...

Mary Beth, hooray for a good cleaning. Keeping up the house is one of the last things on a busy person's priority list. But having a service from time to time helps keep your external world in order. The orderly symmetry helps me be more creative in my work and relationships with others. Cheers for the maids! Barbara

MaryBeth Smith said...

Thanks, Barbara:

As you realize, but others commenting on the blog may not, this article was not REALLY about housecleaning. It uses housecleaning as a metaphor for the effects of the Feldenkrais Method. And yes, you got the point: order and disorder make a difference! We can easily see when the external world needs maintenance, but not so easily with the inner world. THAT was the point of the story.

I wrote about housecleaning because it is an everyday occurrence that most people can relate to. It was the "hook." It was a device of my writing style, not a cry for help! :->

So, other commenters: please don't spam me with links to your favorite cleaning service, or tips to get a storage room, or that I need more boxes. I've got it handled. Happy to field questions about what I'm really writing about -- the Feldenkrais Method.

Thanks --