I'm an ardent believer in cleaning therapy. I know it doesn't sound as good as retail therapy, but in my experience it has the same remedial effect. And when it comes to choosing between cleaning therapy or traditional shrink therapy there is simply no competition. Cleaning therapy is much more cost effective and even comes with an added bonus. As the mind is cleared and renewed so is the dirt, junk and dust from whatever messy surface was tackled in the day's session. It's a therapeutic win-win.
Cleaning therapy has been one of my treatment options of choice for years. Usually my sessions are conducted right at home. The refrigerator is nearly always in need of a good clean-out and wipe- down. Laundry is never in short supply. Floors never cease to attract dirt. Cabinets never cease to attract dust. Suffice it to say, the therapy couch is always wide open and I have my pick of appointment slots.
The cleaning therapy approach is quite simple. No PhD required. No make-up or dress shirt required. In fact, the messier the outfit, the better. The more unkempt the hair, the better. Once the outer appearance is as disheveled as the inner emotional state, grab a spray bottle, a vacuum, a role of paper towels and a few empty plastic bags. Then pick a surface and get to work.
How to choose what mess to clean first? The question is, how much therapy do you need? Are you looking for an hour session? Go for the fridge, my tried and true favorite. Just need a little pick me up? Find the nearest carpet or hit the bathroom with a scrub brush in hand. If you want better looking clothes to wear after your therapy session is complete I'd suggest tackling the pile of laundry accumulating on your closet floor. And if you're desperate for relief from the oppression of heat intolerance then grab a bucket, a hose and do double duty on beautifying your bug-splattered VW Beetle (or your vehicle of choice) while relieving your muscle from the pain of its spasm.
I can't promise that by cleaning your house or your car or your dog that you will suddenly have no more emotional stress, physical pain or mental instability. The troubles of this life run deep, strong and arise with a frequency I know all too well. But by engaging in a little cleaning therapy you can change your outlook on your circumstances. By getting the hands dirty and the house clean the mind can be cleared to take on the challenges of life with renewed passion and determination. What truly gets clean with every swipe of the sweeper is the anger, defeat and frustration that accumulates in the heart and stops the body from having the will to go on. What happens while cleaning what can be seen is only a glimmer of the true work of restoration and revival underway in the spirit of the cleaner.
If, today, you find yourself burdened with the muck and grime of this life, take heart dear friend because you are not alone. And, if you're like me, wincing with the pain of muscle spams and weeping over the hopelessness of another summer with heat intolerance and discomfort, then turn on the spigot and find relief in the mist of cold water and a clean car. Your car, your fridge or your floor - whichever surface you choose will be the better for your therapy session. And, most importantly, so will your heart. Because while you're busy scrubbing and rubbing the dirty spots clean, God will be doing the same on your heart. He'll renew you and breathe new life into your tired soul so that you can face another day, another challenge, and another dirty floor.