Keep Sweeping

July 5, 2023

I cut my hair into a short pixie this past month. I also cut my nails down and chose not to paint them. Both are visual reminders of my clean sweep. A Clean Sweep, created by Coach U., offers you an opportunity to look at aspects of your life and make decisions about what is wearing you down and if you’d like to change and/or stop those actions. The author states, and I agree, “You have more natural energy when you are clear with your environment, health and emotional balance, money and relationships.”

May was a crap month. We learned my boyfriend has multiple myeloma. I went through my own tiny health scare, which is all good now, but ugh. I also found out that colleagues and friends were facing serious health challenges too. The diagnoses brought me to a full on stop. Into a current state that really asked me to step up and be here now in a way that I hadn’t been doing. Two feet in the present. Whole face listening. Here.

I realize now – in sharp relief – how distracted I am most of the time. Regretting what could have been. Avoiding difficult tasks and even easy ones. Worrying about the future. I know I am not alone in this distracted state of life. The Clean Sweep asks you to look at your life and asks you, “Have you cleaned up your office and files?” “Have you scheduled your annual physical?” “Have you given away clothes in your closet that you don’t want anymore?”

The things mentioned above are easy for me to answer. I get an ‘A’ in being a ‘J’ on the Myers-Briggs assessment. I make plans. I take care of paper and closets. That is easy. It’s the relationship section of the Clean Sweep that keeps me thinking and makes me pauseā€¦hard. Statements such as

  • I quickly clear miscommunications and misunderstandings when they do occur.
  • I have communicated or attempted to communicate with everyone who I have damaged, injured or seriously disturbed, even if it wasn’t fully my fault.
  • There is no one who I would dread or feel uncomfortable “running across”. (In the street, at an airport or party).

I am PROUD of my development around these parts of my life over the last decade. I have been stretching at my edges and am working daily on my communication. I have taken responsibility to clean up what I mess up.

And, I am noticing that these statements don’t just trip me up, but trip up those with whom I work. The Clean Sweep is about personal development but hey, if we could work on these behaviors in our professional lives too, I think we’d have healthier work cultures and less social friction in our lives. How cool would that be?

Our schools and organizations have big work to do. Complex, whole face, be present work. We adults need to work on our development so small(er) things are handled before they get in our way of doing the big stuff. We need to stretch. Yet to focus on our growth isn’t the norm in so many work spaces. Aren’t adults already adult? Maybe, and sometimes, (or often times), we have to admit it, not so much.

The folks at Coach U expect that those looking at the questions on the Clean Sweep can make some deeper changes in about one year. I have been looking at the questions for the last 20 years and I am still a work in progress. Yet as Shane Parrish says, “Be stubborn on destinations, flexible on tactics, and relentless on progress.” Be relentless on progress.

My boyfriend has a treatment plan; he’s working it and is feeling pretty good. I am making plans to see the friend who is managing his own scary health journey. I am working on being here now. And I keep sweeping. Here’s to rocking my short hair this July and most likely for the rest of the year too.

If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you.

Cool Resources

Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing As We Age by Mary Pipher. “In Women Rowing North, Pipher offers a timely examination of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. “If we can keep our wits about us, think clearly, and manage our emotions skillfully,” Pipher writes, “we will experience a joyous time of our lives. If we have planned carefully and packed properly, if we have good maps and guides, the journey can be transcendent.”

Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up by Norman Fischer. “Growing up happens whether we like it or not, but maturity must be cultivated. Challenged to consider his own sense of maturity while mentoring a group of teenage boys, Fischer began to investigate our preconceptions about what it means to be “an adult” and shows how crucial true maturity is to leading an engaged, fulfilled life. Taking Our Places details the marks of a mature person and shows how these attributes can help alleviate our suffering and enrich our relationships.”

On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good by Elise Loehnen. “A groundbreaking exploration of the ancient rules women unwittingly follow in order to be considered “good,” revealing how the Seven Deadly Sins still control and distort our lives and illuminating a path toward a more balanced, spiritually complete way to live.”