I couldn’t stand it anymore; passing through the house on my way out the door would turn my stomach—and I never knew what I might step on. In a way, in a very twisted way, The Hills women did me a favor: their clutter eventually brought me out of my funk. One night I just started cleaning and it felt good. After that, when everyone went to bed at night I’d go attack a problem—the stairway, the kitchen, a bathroom. It was my house, my mother’s house, and I didn’t like to see it looking so awful.
Besides, all the yelling and whining was getting to me. “Where’s my magazine?” “Has anyone seen my other leg warmer?” “I put my reading glasses right here and now they’re gone.” “I swear, this house is eating things!” “I swear, this house hates us!” “Mo-o-o-om!”
So, little by little, I took back the house.
When I told Linda this story—we were sitting on the lawn outside our dorms where we always had our best conversations—she was very impressed. “You know, dust and clutter create a very negative spiritual energy,” she said. “There is a stickiness to it that attracts more dust and clutter, and this energy affects our minds, too. It’s why the Chinese start their new year with firecrackers, scaring that energy away, cleaning every corner of their house, getting new clothes and haircuts. It’s good Feng Shui to have clean corners.” There, I told myself, when she said this. There, I had been doing a spiritual service to myself, the Hills, and my parents all along. Without even knowing it. I had once read a book about a white witch that had this sentence in it: when she cleaned up her house, she cleaned herself up inside, too.
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