Introducing clean cleaning as a vital part of shifting from humanity's war on life, to becoming agents for the healthy care of a living planet.
Drawn from "Renewing the Flow: Clean For Life", part of Cynthia Alves' Living Earth Awareness series (copyright 2008).
Holistic life, holistic cleaning Because our planet is so huge and everything so complexly interconnected, it can be a huge challenge to become aware of Earth as a living being, where all that every person does makes a difference for ill or health. "Renewing the Flow: Clean For Life" is to bring our attention to the vital need for us all to change our attitudes toward cleaning as well as how and what we clean with. Just because climate change is big in the news now (at last!), doesn't mean that problems of pollution are any less, or less important. Even if we can't see it, we are certainly giving Earth grave problems of pollution, and unnecessarily.
Holistic cleaning includes, and is about much more than 'green cleaning' for a healthier environment. 'Environment' is not just something 'out there', its also our own life. For example, Earth's water is the water life of our own bodies; her soil becomes the food that makes our cells. As we look at our living planet, we see that cleaning is an important activity in the cycle of all life that we need to understand and respect, for the sake of Earth as well as for human bodies, homes, work and public places. When we disrupt any part of the cycle of life, we inhibit the flow of life force and life giving materials. We do so every time we use a synthetic or poisonous cleaner, including the many polluting body products.
Holism* recognizes that life is generally benign. This is very much in contrast with the current world view that most modern products of cleaning demonstrate. Pay attention to a week's worth of cleaning product ads on TV, in magazines, in shops, etc. Kill, destroy, fight, combat. . . We have made life into an enemy which we have to fear and defend ourselves against. The outcome of such deep beliefs, usually unrecognized and unquestioned, is that the life we are fighting against isn't just some germs on hands and in household. Our beliefs are poisoning, drip by drip, bottle by bottle, spray by spray, the life that gives us life: Earth. (*For profound and inspiring presentation of Holism, dive into William Bloom's wonderful work meaningful and provocative work helping us change how we see the world and act.)
Most of the cleaning products for person and home that we buy now are pollutants. They are harsh, unnecessary chemical soups which "befoul physically; contaminate, make [any feature of the environment] offensive or harmful to life (human, animal or plant...)". That's what 'pollution' means. Even if a product is not specifically a poison (as are e.g. chlorine bleach, bacterial killers), all the 'soup' of combined harsh and synthetic products put onto our bodies, into our homes, water systems, air and ground end up as polluting, as poisonous to life.
Each one on its own is unlikely to be much of any problem to anyone or anything. But that's not what is happening. Have a look around your own home, at all the cleaners and body products that you use daily and weekly. Judging by the rows and rows of stuff stocked in small and large grocers, because people are buying them regularly, almost all are unhealthy. They also have synthetic scents that deaden sense of smell, an important system for health. The chemical 'soups' may be contributing to illness. If you aren't vibrantly well, I recommend "Cleaning Yourself to Death: How Safe Is Your Home?" by Pat Thomas.
At the least I hope you will consider using more gentle and life-friendly cleaning products that are just as if not more effective. More stores are stocking more simple, safe 'green' cleaners, such as white vinegar, 'real' polishers (that spray polishes are unhealthy is not a matter of preference, it is a matter of fact). Bicarbonate of soda washes most daily things wonderfully, as well as deodorizing. Surfing online with "green clean home" turns up all sorts of safe, pleasant to use, effective and inexpensive cleaners, and 'how to' tips.
I hope to encourage you to step into healthier and cleaner ways by learning how to become more aware of and pro life, to clean up cleaning. The care you give yourself and families is also care for all of Earth.
Cynthia Alves, copyright 2007