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The Importance of Self-Reliance

Humans thrive on community. We have survived for millennia due to our ability to communicate in an ever growing sophisticated manner. Not only to survive wild animal attacks in the Anthropocene or share medical data globally to prevent the spread of disease, but also to the extent where we become experts in certain areas and rely on those experts around us. But do you need an expert to clean your teeth, shower you and clean your house?

Many of us are capable of preparing our own tax returns, yet we appoint experts to prepare these for us as they have less chance of screwing up than we do. Many of us have the ability to drive, but rely on taxi drivers after a tipple or two. But are our lives really too busy to clean our house that we pay someone to do it?

Your taxi driver can take the wrong route, drive to erratically, or just be plain unpleasant. Your cleaner may not organise things the way you want them to.

Cleaning your space, is a physical act that filters through to your mind

Cleaning is so rewarding and there are myriad books on the benefits of this action. Some people are crammers, in that they let things build up and then spring clean. Some are neurotic and have an obsessive compulsion to clean. Some people hire cleaners to do the ‘dirty work’ because their time is better ‘spent’ elsewhere. But they are depriving themselves of the benefits. Cleaning your environment really does have a positive mental effect on you, the Tibetan monks make this a daily practice because it brings a sense of organisation and peace. After all, they say that cleanliness is next to godliness.

‘But I have kids that mess everything up and I spend my time looking after them...’ clean with them. Show them the benefits, make them a valued part of the household community. It is a fantastic way of bonding and teaching simple domestication.

Self reliance is one of the core principles at Burning Man, and for good reason. When we know how to fend for ourselves through cooking, cleaning and working we achieve a deep sense of self fulfilment. Of course, we ask for help from time to time. Sometimes, we are too tired to cook or clean and having others around us to assist us selflessly can also provide a warm fuzzy feeling. Yet for those who are able bodied and able minded, why are you denying yourself a sense of personal growth and personal reflection when you constantly hand the keys over to another? Do you not want things the way you like them?

Whatever you are doing when you are not cleaning will still be there, whether it's work, Netflix or whatever. This time is important for you, it's rewarding, and it costs nothing.

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