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Dust If You Must

While there are times when we all get stressed about the amount of laundry there is to do, or the rising lawn that needs mowing, or the bathroom that needs cleaning, perhaps it is worth remembering that the mundane chores will always be with us until the end of our lives.  Opportunities to make the most of unexpected good weather, or that half day off work we didn't account for, should sometimes be seized with both hands before they disappear.  To live more 'in the moment' is a desire of many people I encounter in the therapy room, and always makes me think of the following inspiring poem:


Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better

To paint a picture or write a letter,

Bake a cake or plant a seed.

Ponder the difference between want and need.


Dust if you must, but there's not much time,

With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,

Music to hear and books to read,

Friends to cherish and life to lead.


Dust if you must, but the world's out there,

With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair,

A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,

This day will not come again.


Dust if you must, but bear in mind,

Old age will come and it's not kind,

And when you go, and go you must,

You, yourself, will make more dust.


Dust If You Must’ written by Mrs. Rose Milligan (published in the 21st edition of The Lady magazine, September 1998)


While it would be foolish to live only for today (and never do any dusting!), perhaps there is something to be said for maintaining a flexible state of mind which allows for occasional deviations from the daily plan.  After all, isn't variety the spice of life, as the saying goes?  Building up resilience for tough times can be invaluable, and some of the activities listed in the verses above can help provide a healthy store of pleasurable memories for when the dark clouds of illness or adversity descend and challenge us to remember brighter days.


Working as a therapeutic counsellor at a hospice for children and young people has made me appreciate that the time allotted to each one of us in not guaranteed nor can it be predicted.  As we all sometimes forget, life is precious and tomorrow should never be taken for granted.  In a sense, perhaps we could all do with remembering to 'dust if we must, but bear in mind...'.



Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy


Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com


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