Your Symbol for Order

Today I realize that I absolutely must scrub the kitchen floor.

If I don’t, I think about the stains of chocolate from Kate’s “Dipping Chocolate Cookies”; I think about the cilantro deep in the crevices from our shrimp taco night; I think about coffee grounds and cinnamon and stained tiles from dripping teabags.

I realize this is strange, but then I wonder if you have a symbol of order in your own life–that thing that, if clean and arranged, makes everything else feel manageable. And then I wonder if we were only self-aware enough to know what this thing was, and if we attended to it, we’d feel much better about our start-of-the-week.

I need a sign in my home that says, “If I’m out of sorts, remind me to clean the kitchen floor.”

I wonder if, when I’m snapping at my children or husband, they might whisper gently, “Mom, is this really about the kitchen floor? Might we clean it? You’ll feel so much better. There. There. Let’s clean it.”

The clean kitchen floor symbolizes order and that all is right and at peace again. My office might erupt with papers and spill over with books, but it won’t matter. It’s the kitchen floor that for some bizarre reason determines my mindset.

A made bed. Carefully folded blankets on a couch. Orderly bookshelves. An organized refrigerator. Tidy drawers. Whatever it is, do that thing that brings everything else to order.

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