How to clean and tidy up as if your life depended on it

How to clean and tidy up as if your life depended on it January 18, 2021

Tarok Dondorf Cards, Nr. 245, originals in my own collection

My mother cleaned and tidied up in the same way she cleaned and tidied up her love affairs. Before she married my father she had an abortion. Because her aviator lover did something very stupid and then called her ridiculous. As mother’s trade was logic, she made sure to clear up all the idiotic fallacies of affectation, as if her life depended on it. That is to say, she cleaned and tidied up as she would her physical house. Spotless. I grew up with spotless. As if my life depended on it.

I’ve been down the memory lane with this story and some others in my book released on the solstice, The Childless Witch: Trembling, Dance, Voice, Oracle, Grace. While I didn’t exactly address the idea of ‘as if a life depends on something,’ I’m thinking about it today, when I clean and tidy up. For mother there was no ‘as if.’ Why is my perception different?

The Childless Witch by Camelia Elias

I find it amusing to think about it, especially since my latest title, the massive book, Read like the Devil: The Essential Course in Reading the Marseille Tarot, the first volume in a planned trilogy of books based on my cartomancy foundation courses, toped the Amazon charts yesterday, scoring the number 1 slot in new releases in both categories Tarot and Philosophy and Zen, and overall in the Philosophy and Zen beating the queen of the magic of tidying up, Marie Kondo, as number 7, with Kondo following right after as number 8. I find all this immensely hilarious. I hurried to send strong vibes of love to my mother, whose genius was quite unsurpassed. I praise myself lucky to have been brought up by her.


All this to say that instead of January resolves, we may think about our strategies and tactics of cleaning and tidying up. I practice this myself not only in my mother’s spirit, but also in the spirit of Zen. I’m interested in getting beyond the perception of, ‘as if my life depended on it.’ I want to just do it, without thinking about it. Without pride attached to it, or any of the other nasty judgmental positions anchored in comparison. I work hard on placing my acts beyond compare. But how to do this, without being attached to ‘results?’

Let what I do be a manifestation of ‘what I do, I do.’ What I find seducing in the implications of this for life in general is that doing what you do in factuality and actuality presupposes no belief, no conviction, no agenda, no mission, no proselytizing.

If I find that if I don’t have clarity about doing what I do beyond the conceptual, I ask the cards about it. I frame my question so that particularly the idea of cleaning and tidying up is in focus. For instance, asking, ‘what needs cleaning and tidying up so that doing can stand free of any irrelevant and insignificant associations?’ can reveal a number of interesting things about the way you approach life from the perspective that is more than the situation of ‘as if my life depended on it.’

What’s up with all these relations of dependency? As a Zen inclined person, this is the first I’m asking myself in all situations. If I spot the slightest tendency to depend on anything or anyone, I clean and tidy up. Now, ‘isn’t this a purist stance?’ some may ask. To this I’ll respond unhesitatingly: it is indeed. I like pure. Why? It’s simple. For as long as we can agree that there is such a thing a clear thinking versus muddled thinking, or simply clarity versus confusion, I’ll take purity as the manifestation of the possible as far as clarity is concerned. I’m not in the camp of those who advocate for slacking when an idea resists, or when life resists. I’m a martial artist. I prefer slashing to slacking.

Therefore today I asked the cards, ‘what needs cleaning and tidying up, as in, right now?’

Tarok Dondorf Cards, Nr. 245, originals in my own collection

The Queen of Hearts is looking on to the 2 Diamonds. What is she dancing with? Behind her the clear path of the 6 Diamonds. Below her the cards of the body. One fair, one nasty. 5 Spades in exchange for the 5 Hearts. What needs cleaning is the body. What needs tidying up is the emotional overload especially as manifested in any form of self-indulgence. Ouch. Didn’t I just say I was a martial artist, the idea behind it being associated with discipline not satisfaction? I’m so full of shit.

Well then, there you have it. Off I go now to clean and tidy up. I don’t even have to like it, but for once, I’ll indulge myself: I actually love cleaning and tidying up, all the way to the 10 hearts.

Stay tuned for cartomantic courses. Next in line is the Playing Cards Foundation Course.

About Camelia Elias
Camelia Elias, PhD & Dr.Phil., is a former university professor. After 20 years in academia, she left her career to pursue her interests in teaching and writing on the philosophy and practice of reading cards. She works with contemplative arts, oracular language, and martial arts cartomancy and Zen at her own school, Aradia Academy. You can read more about the author here.
"The collection is now at the Danish Royal Library."

What art collectors say beyond the ..."
"I read his articles and notes around collecting decks some decades ago, when he still ..."

What art collectors say beyond the ..."
"It was really helpful to see you literally lay out the many different messages you ..."


Browse Our Archives