I have some friends who are neatniks. They clean up the dishes while they’re cooking and after every meal. Their counters and sink are clear. Everything has its place—there are no unsightly piles to be found, not even in the garage. Their toilets sparkle. There is no dust or cobwebs gracing the nooks and crannies. And, like this guy at Burning Man, their floors are spotless.
I am in awe and a little bit suspicious. How do they do it? I certainly have never been accused of being a neatnik! But I do enjoy periodic cleaning. I like to imagine that I’m releasing elemental spirits trapped in the dust and grime.
“If one has thoughts that relate to the world of elemental beings in a valid way, then they receive something…. They receive nourishment from the centre of their evolutionary situation. It is nourishment for them when human beings think of them and relate to them lovingly. Elemental beings are like children who dance and are happy if their mothers stroke their hair.”
Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker
There is a freshness, a lightness of being, that arises from this kind of care. It doesn’t even require antibacterial soap, bleach or harsh chemicals. In fact, the scent of those makes me feel like I shouldn’t even be breathing in! Michael Pollan, in his latest book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, advises not to eat anything containing more than 5 ingredients. Could we apply this wisdom to the other products we buy? Do we really know what’s in our household and personal cleaning products? In How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation, Rudolf Steiner describes various meditations for self-discipline and achieving freedom in thinking. One of them is called the Pin Exercise. He suggests imagining a straight pin in your mind’s eye. Think on its form and function. Then, working backwards, visualize in detail how it came into your hands: retail store, distributor, factory, and the process of gathering various raw materials. A straight pin probably is comprised of less than 5 raw materials, but I wouldn’t even know where to start. Who would in this day and age? And to think of the multitude of ingredients in our dish and hand soaps, hair and beauty products, and floor cleaners. I can’t even pronounce most of them!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a company that explains where the raw materials come from, how they are extracted and processed to become the product for sale? They could provide research on the negative effects on people and the environment. And they could rate companies for best practices. But knowing, we probably wouldn’t buy anything. Would we?
But if the devil makes you do it, clean! David Suzuki has some recipes for making your own 5 ingredient or less supplies.Scouring Powder
Check out Suzuki's website for recipe cards for just about any household cleaning product you might want, as well as a wide variety of cosmetics. Clean safe and have fun!