When we think about finding deeper meaning in life, we might consider topics like religion, philosophy, mindfulness and dreams. Tedious and menial chores such cleaning the house and gardening may be the furthest thing from your mind when you are seeking a deeper connection with your highest self or the divine. But you don’t need to be a reclusive monk to access the most profound wisdom of the universe, and you don’t need years of training or months spent hiding away on a mountain top. You can enrich your life and reach significant insights about your self and your relationships by doing a task as simple as sweeping the floor.
It may seem like a grand claim to make, but the truth is that every thing we do, every interaction we have is loaded with symbolic meaning, and therefore can teach us more about our own inner workings and the marvels of the universe than most people realise. Once you start to understand that symbolic acts are common throughout life, you will see the magic of synchronicity and meaning that constantly surrounds us. Then not only will simple chores seem rich with significance, but the symbols that we encounter in other realms, such as dreams, prayer and meditation will become much clearer.
The key to reaching this understanding comes with mindfulness and reflection. As you go about your normal daily routine, stop and take a moment to reflect on what the action is really about. As you dress, ask yourself “Why I am doing this? What do I achieve by taking this action?” You may think about how you are presenting yourself to the world, or how you are protecting yourself from the elements. “Clothes” and “dressing” then may symbolise your public persona – the way you wish the world to see you, or they may simply be practical and about protection. Conversely, having no clothes may then symbolise lacking a public persona and being seen for who you really are, or having no protection and feeling vulnerable. If you then dream about being naked, this can provide great insight as to what your own dream means.
There are many such examples you may start to understand once you pay attention to the language and feelings you have about your daily routine. Sweeping may be about pushing away things you no longer need, or “clearing the floor.” I personally enjoy cleaning the gutters (yes, strange, I know!) as when I do it I remind myself that I am clearing blockages from life and allowing “energy” (water) to flow freely. In this way I not only intellectually understand what the symbol may mean, but I also connect with it on an energetic level, allowing the otherwise tedious chore to become an act of healing and honouring the subconscious, and expressing a deep respect for my home. We can use any aspect of our daily life and elevate to the role of ritual. The important thing to remember that everything we do has an element of the sacred within it.
Gardening is another particularly potent way to achieve understanding whilst also integrating a deeper wisdom into my body and soul. I find that the act of connecting with nature seems to enhance the symbolism and literally bring the healing and creative energy to life. When done consciously and with understanding, weeding can be about removing those things that would otherwise strangle the fruits, vegetables and flowers of my life – those that nurture and give me sustenance rather than suck away the life giving energy of sunshine, water and soil nutrients that weeds do. Dead-heading flowers is a favourite ritual, as I cut away that which once bloomed in my life, I honour the joy it gave me, and then let it go in order that new flowers may grow.
Personal care, exercise, cooking, eating, work and creativity are all other valuable areas where we can allow the symbolic nature of our actions to infuse our life with deeper meaning. When we bring the symbolic into our consciousness, we can connect with interconnectedness of all things, we can start to see the beauty and magic of nature and the divine running through even the most mundane aspects of our lives.
As we start this new year, I invite you all to take a moment when you can to stop and consider what the symbolism may be in the actions you take each day, to honour the lesson within it, and to integrate this deep wisdom and healing into your soul. As you do this, not only will your waking life feel richer and more fulfilling, but the meaning or your dreams will become clearer, because you are learning to speak the secret symbolic language of the universe.