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When I'm Cleaning Windows. Wednesday February 15, 2017

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When my elder daughter started senior school four years ago, she was given what seemed, at the time, some very good advice: "Stay well clear of the "popular gang.""

If she had gone to one of the local schools (it was local people giving the advice) no doubt those words would have been wise, but at the school she attends it turns out that the "popular gang" consists of hardworking, intelligent and kind girls. Girls just like her in fact. Oops!

So it's taken her a few years to find her friendship group.

Yesterday was the first time she felt confident enough to invite a group of friends home. Five of them turned up for a Lord of the Rings movie marathon.

I took the position that, being teenagers, they would be happy if well fed and watered and they wouldn't be too concerned about the tidiness or cleanliness of the house. My husband disagreed. Out came the hoover. Out came the duster. Then he started on the windows...

Now, we don't have a window cleaner and I will be the first to admit that my windows do not have that crystal clear sparkle in which a housewife might take a proper pride, so I watched him with affectionate tolerance as he wielded a soapy rag and squeegee in the cold outside.

The problem was that, once he had cleaned the outside, the grime on the inside became glaringly obvious. Well, there was no glare; just grime!

So I set about cleaning the inside of the windows...

Which revealed the inadequacies of his outside cleaning...

Once that had been addressed, the remaining smears on the inside became visible...

By the time we had finished yesterday I was convinced that our windows would have passed the most stringent sunshine test.

Until this morning, when the sun shone in from a different angle... Big sigh...

It occurred to me that the analogy of the windows could fit our lives and our efforts in the direction of self-improvement.

Whether we start on our inside or our outside, we need to work on both, for both need work. We can take decisions and actions which affect our circumstances (the outside), but until we change our way of thinking and being, we cannot fully benefit from those decisions. That change in our thinking often results in further decisions and changes and so it goes on.

I have experienced this most recently with my marriage. A resolve to communicate more honestly has resulted in some hard conversations. This has cleared up a lot of things, but highlighted those areas where we needed to change our actions. Taking those actions has in turn revealed further scope for personal change.

All this has meant that our marriage is healthier now than it has been for a long time, perhaps than it has ever been.

Of course, there is still room for improvement. But, after all, perfection is so boring, isn't it?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Tychi's Mum Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 7:10am

Oooh I feel honoured to be the first to comment. Mary, as you know, I love your writing and look forward to your Wednesday blogs.
You have not disappointed in your blog today....I absolutely love your cleaning windows analogy. It's so insightful. Perfect.
I'm lucky, I have a lovely window cleaner, but just because my windows are sparkly clean and smear free, it doesn't mean I am!
Wishing you all a bright, sunshiny day...whatever the state of your windows x

Jane Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 8:02am

Thanks Mary for an insightful blog and thanks Tychi's Mum for the cheery hello to all. I'm struggling today, my windows are black. Overthinking, overthinking, overthinking. I hate Valentines Day, yesterday, feeling unloved. Sorry - this is depressing isn't it

Hopeful One Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 9:07am

Hi Jane- sorry to hear you felt unloved.Cyber hugs winging your way.

Leah Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 11:18am

Jane I am sorry you are struggling .If you want to email me ask Caroline for my email. You are coping with such a lot of things. I also overthink and then I overthink that I overthink. SEnding hugs xx

Jane Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 12:58pm

Dear Hopeful One and Leah, thank you so much for your kind messages, They really helped to lift me a bit, thank you! Yes Leah I will do that, thank you so much xx

Hopeful One Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 9:04am

Hi Mary -this is a cool blog.A simple idea in itself but leading to a far deeper insight.Our outside and our inside are two different places and the more incongruent they are the more our suffering. By endeavouring to align the two is where the healing occurs.

Here is today's laugh which makes that alignment a lot easier.

Mr. Marcus was briefing his client, who was about to testify in his own defence. "You must swear to tell the complete truth. Do you understand?" The client replied that he did. Then the lawyer asked, "Do you know what will happen if you don't tell the truth?" The client looked at the lawyer and said, "I imagine that our side will win."

Lex Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 9:20am

That is both funny and insightful, dear Hopeful One!

Lex Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 9:21am

Hey Mary, the power of sunshine to reveal the 'truth' eh? Great insight wonderfully and clearly explained. This was not seeing through a glass darkly - this was crystal clear.

DAVE Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 10:54am

Hi Mary,
I love your inside and outside analogy.

They say that Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...We cannot see you on the outside, but your inside reveals love, compassion, empathy, awareness and a certain determination....We're beautiful, you're in-tune with reality, (despite the mental baggage we all carry), and in tune with your husband reflected in the outside.
Marianne Williamson in her delightful book 'A Return to love' describes our inner and outer self, through our relationship with God.
Please don't allow the Windows 'Paneful' weather you can see out or not ! ! !
Dave X

Brum Mum Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 1:25pm

A super analogy but I love the phrase 'perfection is so boring'....We so often perceive others as perfect and our being the only ones failing. Facebook often portrays a 'perfect' portrayal of others feeding into our own paranoia. After all if we were all perfect window cleaners would be out of a job!!

The Gardener Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 6:21pm

Perfection boring? I beg to disagree. During the years when our garden was 'open' on Wednesday mornings Tuesday evening saw the nearest to perfection we could achieved - dead-heading, staked plants, brick paths perfect, box hedges at Monty Don or Versailles level - it was a joy - yes, we purred on Wednesday mornings, but the results were a joy to us, not a chore. Now I look around at all the things that need action, achievement a long way off. I can't write, can't make sense - Mr G has deteriorated to childrens' playground taunting - I have to keep calm, concentrate on the mundane, because, the window analogy is perfect because both sides clean at once is a pipe-dream - but if I achieve a passable meal and a tidy kitchen it's all I can aim for today - stop aiming, striving, and you're done. But, our new cat visited - a sort of viewing of her new home to see what comforts (security) she needs to be our 6th successful cat in 62 years of marriage. Two cats are buried under the lilac tree in the old house - they were a wicked pair of thieves - hoping their influence will not cross the road. The new cat allowed a welcoming hug, so hope ice broken - and she deigned to eat.

Mary Wednesday Thu, Feb 16th 2017 @ 1:54am

Wishing you well with the cat. Perfection with a garden? Perhaps... a garden is not static; it is for ever growing. Relationships too I suppose. But one has to end a blog somewhere...

Nicco Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 1:09pm

A great analogy, Mary, thank you. I also now know I'm not alone with the inside-outside window-cleaning fandango! Although not able to do any just now with right hand/wrist/arm in a splint due to RSI!

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