I recently had my furnace ducts cleaned. For some reason, this motivated me to clean the shelf in my kitchen where I dump everything I don’t know what to do with. Then, I began to clean out a drawer here and closet there.

When I started cleaning my oven, I began to worry. I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d done this and wondered what in the world had come over me?

Was there something deeper, more vital, that I was really trying to clean?

Wouldn’t it be nice to just vacuum up self-doubt or scrub away fear? How about cleaning out the drawer where I stash all my anger and frustration to pretend they’re gone?

A perfectly clean home or a perfectly clean attitude need not—and I believe should not—be expected of any of us. Life is messy. Emotions are messy. We are going to spill coffee on the rug. We are going to have those little dribbles of toothpaste in the bathroom sink. Sometimes our fear is going to spill onto our faith, and sometimes our doubt is going to dribble all over our confidence.

Most of us clean our house on a regular basis, or at least once in a while! It’s wise of us to do the same with our emotions. What feelings need to be acknowledged and understood? How can we be kinder, gentler and more compassionate with ourselves?

What emotions can we learn from and recycle into wisdom and growth?

My hope for us all is that this work will deepen our relationship with ourselves and allow us to become more at ease in our own lives.