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Jun 27, 2017

Stress, plants, watching clouds, and cleaning house.





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 This weekend was a cleaning weekend.  When the semester is on and one thing    after another piles up, sometimes things  like getting rid of stuff I don’t need any  more  or donating things (usually clothes) I  don’t  use anymore (or at all) gets put on  the back  burner. The back burner is my  favorite  place but it sometimes topples  over and  then I have a mess. So this  weekend I  decided that I was going to  clean it all out. I  will say that not all the  projects around the  house got done, but it  feels good. The  definition of clutter is  different for everyone  – home clutter, brain  clutter, emotional  clutter and so on and so  forth. The more  physical “things kind of  clutter however is  considered both in Hinduism and Buddhism as energy crushers. In Hinduism, keeping your home clean is one of the biggest concerns of people who follow the religion astutely (it is a different story that sometimes they forget to keep their surroundings clean in a similar fashion, hence the levels of pollution in India, but let’s not get carried away). In Buddhism, clutter is considered to disrupt energy flow. Positive energy flows through spaces that are uncluttered. I follow a little bit of Hinduism and a little bit of Buddhism (I made up my own religion with a mish mash of things from everywhere) but mostly I believe in energy. The energy of my mind and my space. I have noticed from my own experience that when my home is uncluttered my mind works better for some reason. When I don’t see things lying around that I need to get done, then I don’t get distracted easily. Now to plants. I love plants. I believe that I have a green thumb. Being around plants, seeing them around my home, tending to them, all works into the uncluttered sense and helps with the energy. They are green and soothing to the eyes. They bring some sort of peace and oxygen of course, if we want to be technical.

In short, however, both these things help me destress. I have learned over the years to observe my environment when I am stressed. Is there something in particular that is stressing me out, do I feel trapped, pressured to perform, exhausted of fighting? Can I do anything immediately that can help me with the stress. Sometimes just doing something that does not require cognitively complex tasks such as cleaning or decluttering, help with the stress. Sometimes spending time with plants, staring at trees as their branches dance in the wind helps too. I was having a conversation with a colleague the other day as we analyzed a bunch of data and our eyes were starting to glaze over – she said, “have you ever laid down on grass and watched the clouds?” And I said, “No…but I am sure I would enjoy that. It used to be fun when I was a kid.” And that very day as I walked home I decided today was the day to watch the clouds. It was a whole new world that I knew about, had lost, but then rediscovered with someone else’s help. Ah! And as I watched the clouds I was grateful for the idea. Summer is the time! To watch clouds, to walk to work, to stand in the twilight with fireflies, and to clean house.

Take a deep breath of the fresh fresh summer air! Inhale…hold…release…
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Jyotsana Sharma is a Doctoral Candidate, Counselor, Educator, and human being in the making.  Visit her website at: www.jyots21.wordpress.com or find her on twitter @jyots21s. 

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