We slept with the window open last night. It was nice to have fresh air. Until the wind picked up. Literally, the wind picked up dirt from the torn up landscape and delivered it to every horizontal surface in my home.

We used to be able to sleep with windows open even with the wind. Well, that was before the construction behind our house and before we cut out a big chunk of grass in front of the deck (still in construction). Here in the Tri-Cities, we live in an area with fine dust – silt from the Missoula Ice Age Floods. This fine grit travels quite nicely on a bit of a breeze. And then ever so evenly falls upon clean surfaces.

Well, mostly clean. I dust about once a week. I wipe of counters three or four times a day sometimes . . . I tend to spill whatever it is that I’m cooking. This morning my wet rag was covered in dirt.

Isn’t that how it is with ourselves and our spiritual life?

We leave that window open just once and we have damage control to manage.

If I allow myself an opportunity to feel sorry for myself, or beat myself up about something, I’m cleaning up remnants of that “shame-blame dust” for days afterward. Just like the dust all over everything, “shame-blame dust” gets everywhere in our conscious and subconscious being.

Like a dry cloth just spreads dust around, getting mad at ourselves for our diligence slipping. Being irritated at ourselves just adds another layer of “shame-blame dust” over what we are trying to clear.

So, how do we clear that stuff?

First, I like to look at it in amazement. Wow! Look at how much crap is here! It can be almost funny. I was just fine a couple of days ago and then I doubted myself or I criticized myself because I could have done it better. Now the whole place is dusty! Dust is everywhere. All aspects of my life are gritty and unpleasant with negative thinking, followed by more judgment and negativity! It’s crazy! By noticing it in this way – “Wow! Look at that!” I shift out of judgment mode. Shifting out of judgment mode is the beginning of the shift and clearing.

Next, I pray about it. I tell ya, I cannot do this clearing stuff alone. Prayer is the part that allows the “dust” to stick to the cleaning cloth and be washed away. Even if it’s just noticing I haven’t been taking care of myself for optimum physical health. . . it’s vital to shift out of shame-blame in order to take the next step and I often cannot move out of shame-blame without Divine Intervention!

There is no wrong way to pray. Just open to Divine Source and speak from your heart.

Once I’ve prayed about it, I keep praying. Throughout the next day or so, I specifically recognize each and every time judgment (shame-blame) comes up and ask to be uplifted out of that. Each time I pray it gets easier.

As prayer continues, I begin to take some different steps. Maybe boredom was the cause of the previous slippage. How can I do it differently? If I’m not eating appropriately, what could I add to my meals that would wake them up. What could shake up and wake up my taste buds while blessing my physical body with nutrients necessary for good health? What joyful action could I take to ease the boredom of same-old-same-old? How can I bring fun back into my moments?

Once I start to do the little things a little differently, I start feeling much better and clearer.

Finally, I apply gratitude. This can be really challenging while I’m in-process of clearing. I find gratitude illusive when I’m covered in “shame-blame dust.” Yet, finding gratitude reinforces the positive energy and totally sweeps the last remnants of grit out of my awareness. I may not be able to find gratitude with a current situation, so I look for other things to focus my gratitude upon. I can allow feelings – deep feelings- of gratitude to emerge when I look at a flower or think about a kindness someone has done for me. Once I access the gratitude, then I can access the flow of gratitude that can wash over my whole being. Everything in my life becomes awash with gratitude. Colors brighten, relationships flourish, ideas and creativity ignite, energy magnifies, insight expands.

There is just so long that we can ignore the “shame-blame dust” before it becomes intolerable. Don’t wait! Life is so much more pleasant without grit. It takes a bit of effort, yet this effort seems effortless in comparison to the effort it takes to ignore the “shame-blame dust.” The space you can create beyond the grit grants you an amazing amount of energy and peace.

You deserve a clean slate!