Cleaning Up My Dirty Mind
The practice of Italian mind cleaning
In a previous post I talked about starting our Swedish death cleanse. The idea of leaving all my stuff for someone to go through after I’m gone bothers me a bit. I mean, I’m the kind of person who scrubs the whole house down before a friend comes over to help me paint the living room. In fact, some nights the idea of who might have to clean out my house if myself and my entire family were to die on the cruise we were about to go on has kept me up all night. I kid you not. (An idea which addresses my fear of moving vehicles, but is not the point here, or is it?) Anyway, I don’t want to leave my junk for others, but that has got me thinking, Swedish Death Cleaning takes care of all the stuff around you, but what about the stuff in you, in the dark recesses of your mind? How do you pry that baby open and get those odds and ends out?
My mind is so often cluttered with worry, anxiety, fear and things that make me impatient, frustrated and tired, that I can barely move. So, I thought, why not apply a concept like Swedish Death Cleaning to my dirty mind? How about cleaning that baby out?
My musings led me to the concept of Italian Mind Cleaning – my own personal adaptation of the Swedish trend inspired by the Italian way of life. Italians are renowned for their zest for life, their focus on relationships, and their ability to savor the simple pleasures that each day brings. They are also known for throwing plates, a practice many of you know I took up right after I got married when I was living life as A Woman Overwhelmed. But, now I’m looking at the bright side of embracing my Italian heritage by developing this little idea of Italian Mind Cleaning. Maybe this approach can help us all clear the mental clutter and embrace a more joyful existence.
Italians put a strong emphasis on love, amore. Love is truly the greatest of things; it’s patient, it’s kind, it’s joyful, it’s gentle. Unfortunately, selfishness clutters my mind more than I’d like to say, but I’m sayin’ it. Selfishness, which is the opposite of love, makes me worry about me, stress over me, and get upset when I don’t get what I want. None of which I love. But I’ve discovered that the way to clean out the anxiety, worry and stress is to switch from selfishness to love. Love really does get my mind all cleaned up.
The Italian way of life encourages people to slow down and really enjoy life's pleasures, including good food, fine wine, and wonderful conversation. For me, busyness can clutter my mind, so slowing down and taking the time to talk with others about the things in life that really matter, the big ideas, the deep ponderings of my heart, helps shift my focus away from worry and stress, and reminds me to keep the main thing, the main thing.
Italians aren’t afraid to express themselves, that’s for sure. When you think of Italians, you don’t think of them as solitary but social people, getting into heated and sometimes passionate discussions with one another. And that’s a good thing because social helps declutter your mind by giving you some emotional ventilation, more diverse perspectives, and even problem-solving support. Talking it over with others can reduce your stress, give you emotional support, and boost your mood and energy, acting as a mental reset button for decluttering your mind and improving your well-being.
Che sarà, sarà
The ‘che sarà, sarà’ attitude recognizes the futility and clutter of worrying about uncontrollable events because ‘what will be, will be.’ Embracing this reliance on the certainty that God’s got this, can help us all let go of unnecessary worry and focus on the parts of life we can influence.
Instead of dwelling on the past or constantly worrying about the future, Italians tend to stay rooted in the present moment. Imagine how much worry could be cleaned out of your mind if all you had to get through was this very moment.
Being married to an Italian, I can tell you for certain that Italians have a remarkable ability to find humor in everything. Laughter has powerful cleaning action against anxiety, offering your mind that fresh perspective and filling the space with feel-good endorphins that counter stress.
So, the next new thing (to me) is Italian Mind Cleaning. Even though I’m still behind Swedish Death Cleaning for those who have to deal with my mess when I’m gone, I’m also embracing cleaning up my mind, so the people I live with right now don’t have to deal with my stuff while I’m still here. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and embracing an Italian-inspired approach to cleaning out my dirty mind, might just be the best gift I could give the people I love.