I have been based here in Montreal for about ten months now. This is my last week living here. For now. One never knows what comes next. Despite all our planning life remains full of surprises. I embrace the sense of not really knowing much for sure. At least not in the way I once thought I ‘knew’ things. All I can be truly certain of is right now. This moment. This feels like a very clean way to live. We can honour the truth of our own being, this sense of presence, moment to moment. Always right here. Memory can so easily pull us away from this space. Intention, while often healthy, can become a distraction also.
But memory and intention are also held gently in this space of presence. They are welcome here. As is all else. But it can be helpful to let the tank run dry once in a while, to empty ourselves entirely, just to check our footing, to really see what we are resting on. The ground of being. The everlasting arms. Pure awareness. There are a lot of things we can call it. But it needs no name. All labels are held within it, so to speak. Nothing can be stuck to it.
As I clean various spaces I reflect on the action of removing dirt. I am only revealing the essence of the spaces I move through. I am adding nothing. I am subtracting. Leaving as little a trace as possible. The better job I do the harder it is to tell I was ever there. But many home-owners are outwardly grateful to see the before and after, knowing some of the burden I have lifted from them. It feels good to clean in little nooks and crannies where nobody has been in years. I like finding these tucked away spaces and freeing them of cluttered dust and cobwebs.
Having been cleaning various spaces for the past two months, I have seen many homes, offices, schools and gyms, leaving each one a little bit emptier. I take more than what can be seen with me when I go. I am not only lugging bags of recycling and garbage and my dirty rags when I depart. I am taking on other, more subtle, junk and reworking it as I clean. Returning it to the source, to be reabsorbed and reassigned.
I don’t even really know what that last bit means. But I mean it. Cleaning has taught me a lot. Zenith Cleaners has backed up its claim to be ‘spiritual practice you get paid for’. I have enjoyed the opportunity to anchor myself more deeply in presence as I clean a wide variety of spaces. I appreciate the physical component of the work. It is great exercise. I appreciate the unavoidable humility and simplicity of the work. I enjoy peeking through a window into the world of so many different people, glancing at their lives in passing, often alone in the homes of people I will never meet. But we share space all the same.
And on a practical level it is nice to be paid. It has been a while since I have had this direct relationship with time, work and pay. But it is now coming to a close. On Friday I will head back to Toronto, cleaning my tracks as I leave here. Though many connections remain. Doors are open for the future. Because the path is clean I can come back easily.
Now I will rest. I just came from a demanding six-hour job at a dusty loft apartment with a Great Dane. It is now a clean space. I am soon heading off to an office for an evening clean. I will be up at 3 AM to clean a climbing gym. I must rest when I can.
Have a great week! I will be writing from Toronto next week.