Choosing Hell

For the past couple of years I have been building my mentoring practice while continuing with the house cleaning business I’ve had since 1985. My plan has been to taper off house cleaning as my mentoring practice grew and for a while now I have been writing and mentoring Mondays and Tuesdays and cleaning houses Wednesdays thru Fridays.

At some point it became very difficult to switch gears in the middle of the week. I felt completely done with house cleaning. It was as though on Wednesdays I was stepping into the past. This was not like burn-out, which I had experienced often before. I wasn’t burnt out; I was done. One Wednesday this past summer as I was heading out to my car in the morning I casually wondered why I was still cleaning houses. Unexpectedly, I got an answer from the still, quiet Voice deep within: “Because you are too afraid not to.”

This answer blew me away. I asked the question casually and I wasn’t expecting an answer! What I was being told was that I was the one holding me back and the implication was that I had not been listening to the Holy Spirit. Obviously, I could’ve stopped cleaning houses a while before, and that feeling I had of being completely done with house cleaning was the signal from the Holy Spirit I was ignoring. I had preferred to be a martyr to house cleaning and to blame the Holy Spirit for my still doing it!

“Because you are too afraid not to.” I knew right away why I held on to house cleaning. House cleaning was my own little patch of separation from God. It was mine dammit, the Holy Spirit couldn’t have it! Twenty-two years ago it was the Holy Spirit who led me into house cleaning and all along I have felt Its guidance. But now that the Holy Spirit said it was time to let go, I held on and made it mine alone. What could the Holy Spirit do but just sat back and wait patiently for me to pay attention?

At the end of September I let the idea in that I could stop cleaning houses at the end of the year. I waited a couple of days to be sure this came from the Holy Spirit and not ego. I told Courtney right away, but no one else close to me for a couple of weeks while I let the idea settle in. Notice that I still put it off until the end of the year. That was me, not the Holy Spirit. Of course I could’ve just stopped right then, but I wanted a buffer zone to deal with my fear. And it has been doubly hard to switch gears in the middle of the week! More than ever I feel done with house cleaning.

So what am I afraid of? Without house cleaning, everything in my life will be about God. It’s symbolic of really leaving the world behind. The ego has been having a field day. It tells me I am dying. Sometimes I feel a jolt of despair and the ego whispers, “Why don’t you just kill yourself and get out of this conflict?” Other times it pouts. These open attacks remind of when I was first a student of the A Course in Miracles and experienced the holy relationship. The ego was this vicious then, only then I hadn’t any detachment from it. I could barely hold on, I thought I might be losing my sanity. Now, I just ride the ego out. If it gets really bad, I warn my loved ones that I am cranky and hole up in my office, relaxing, processing, meditating, detaching.

What is the ego saying? In essence it comes down to what it always says: “What about me?! What about my needs?! What’s in this for me?!” When I began my spiritual path I thought the ego’s needs were my own and so it was hell when I began a journey of letting go of it. I still get hooked by the ego – that’s why I get cranky – but I never really believe I want what it offers anymore. Its tantrums are like a cold or ‘flu that I just have to let run its course. While it cannot attract me with the things and situations it offers, what I do seem to still want from the ego is to be my own little god in my own little kingdom. That’s why it can still tempt me. That’s why sometimes I still choose hell. The cost of my own little kingdom is peace.

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