Mission #7 : Clean Up Your Own Mess

“Here’s to now, for as long as it lasts.” –Anonymous

07-anonymous-kindnessThe idea for this week’s mission (and the phrasing!) comes from the classic Robert Fulghum essay, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

In the essay, Fulghum says that everything needed for a meaningful and compassionate life is contained in the lessons of kindergarten. For this week’s mission, I’ve taken just one of these lessons and am encouraging you to make it the focal point of your kindness practice this week. In short, pay attention to how cleaning up your own mess is one of the kindest things you can do, especially for those people closest to you.

For instance, clean up your kitchen after each meal, put your clothes away, make your bed after you get up, change the toilet paper roll, and whatever else you need to do to clean up after yourself. In practice, there are countless opportunities to do this each day. In the essay, the lesson prior to this one is “Put things back where you found them.” 07a-anonymous-kindnessConsider this an extension of cleaning up your messes and be thinking of it in terms of cleaning up after yourself, illustrated in actions like returning your grocery cart to where you got it.

In the spirit of anonymity, do these cleaning up exercises without making a big deal about them. Yes, others may be seeing you but cultivate something along the lines of invisibility as you do them so they appear to be something so natural or automatic, perhaps like breathing, that others don’t notice.

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