This old phrase, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” was spoken by theologian John Wesley in the 1700’s. The notion is that after worshipping the Creator, keeping yourself clean is one of the most important manifestations of showing love or respect for the Creator.
Each of us can take something from this saying or interpret it our own way. For me, it just acknowledges that the body is a temple. It houses our soul. And in gratitude for having this human experience with a body, that the least we can do is honor it by keeping it clean. And as an extension of that, we can feel godly keeping our homes and work spaces clean as well.
By showing respect for our worldly possessions and personal environment, we are honoring how each thing we own was made, the toil, the creativity and the prosperity which allowed us to have things around us and to serve us.
Now, does that mean that a messy person is somehow less evolved? Is the person who decides to bathe only once a week somehow less godly or conscious? I would never want to be the judge and jury on this issue, but it affects me on a very visceral level. I work with a family member who doesn’t bathe regularly and it shocks me on a regular basis.
And yet I know that there is a very primal region of the brain where this activity is just not seen as really necessary. Perhaps we are even over-washing ourselves these days, as studies have shown that by removing all the body oils from our skin with daily bathing, we can’t even absorb vitamin D from the Sun as effectively. Maybe all the dry skin and hair problems can be partially traced to washing too much!
I think there is another saying that “Your rights end where my nose begins.” Perhaps the only real litmus test is whether or not we have offended another person by our appearance or smell.
The subject of cleanliness comes up in the course of an Organizing session because dusty, dirty environments are often cluttered as well. These are all just signs of neglect and not making cleaning a priority.
I like to think of house cleaning as the “unintended work-out.” I sometimes embarrass myself to find how sore my muscles are the next day after just cleaning my house! How badly out of shape am I? As a Feng Shui consultant, clients often apologize for their home being messy, but there is often a really good reason why. Creative people, busy people, and sometimes un-organized people, will just not make cleaning a priority. For some it is just drudgery and they would be happier having someone else do the cleaning for them. Wouldn’t we all? I would also like to have a private chef create perfectly, nutritionally balanced meals for me. But I digress.
One thing we don’t want to waste vital life force energy on is being uptight and stressed out that our personal environment may not be absolutely clean all the time. From an organizing stand point and from a Feng Shui stand point, we don’t want to strike fear in the heart of the average person, that they cannot enjoy health, happiness and prosperity unless their personal space is clean and orderly beyond practicality. Studies have also revealed that children who grow up around more germs, pets and dirt end up having stronger immune systems! Standards of cleanliness can also vary from culture to culture.
Author: Kartar Diamond
Company: Feng Shui Solutions (R) Since 1992
From the Tao of Organizing Blog Series