Four hours north of Mexico City is a town called San Miguel de Allende. In the mornings, if one stays long enough to numb to the sounds of barking dogs, crowing roosters and the all too occasional cohetes (fireworks), the whisper of a straw broom against aged-old cobblestones can be heard.
For many around the world, sweeping is the morning Joe. It’s the start of the day and a new beginning.
In India, front walkways are swept and washed then adorned with a rangoli, a mandala drawn with powdered colors, created to invite prosperity and bountifulness into the home.
Yet who has the time, or inclination, to engage with personal space on such a micro level?
Time is precious. Sometimes we can afford the time to do as we please, but mostly we buy and sell it like a commodity. We value jobs that afford us the ability to buy the consumer goods we want. We fuel the economy. We work and buy, work and buy. Sell our time to buy more things, to wake up again and sell more time.
Hopefully our time is highly valued, and hopefully we have some left over to spend on things we enjoy, things we value. Like time with our kids or with friends who inspire us, or having much needed alone time to recharge, or simply being in our personal space.
Our hearth and home, is where we put our kids to bed and arise in the morning. What we put into it can be qualified as energy. If we put too many things into our home then we become out of balance. According to ancient Indian knowledge, when balanced, the five elements: earth, fire, water, air, and ether allow humans to function at the highest level. If we buy many things, store them in cabinets and closets, and fill our home with unessential items, we risk leaving little room for space. Our homes become cluttered and harder to manage.
Creating space and time for our family is equally as important as preparing a healthy meal. We spend time being creative in the kitchen, but what about the energy we put into our homes by simply creating a clean, fresh space.
Sweeping may not be viewed as pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be work. Placing significance into any action can have a transformative effect if we simply choose to consider it.
The next time you and your surroundings feel flagged and uninspired, reach for the broom. It’s not simply what has sparked tales of witches flying about. Consider it a staff in your hands used to freshen up the space around you, to sink your feet more firmly into the ground, to be quiet, to rest your mind, to have a moment, as you mundanely move the broom back and forth back and forth.
Leslie Hendry is an advanced Ashtanga Yoga practitioner who lives in Los Angeles and is also rooted in India and her native Texas. A former New York attorney, she designed the #3-ranked kids app “Everything Has a Home” and is working on her second book.