What an Unmade Bed Can Tell You

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

I make my bed every day.  On the rare occasion when I don’t for some reason or another, a part of the day feels a little wonky. I imagine that most of us do the same thing. As adults, the act of making my bed is more important than what it actually looks like.  A made bed is a great start to the day, offering a sense of accomplishment before you even leave the house for work or school or whatever takes up your day.  A made bed creates a small moment of external order in life. It also offers a welcomed space to return to at the end of the day.

I have been interested lately in the 12 Laws of Karma, something I have recently written about and continue to find interesting mostly because these laws exist in just about every cultural tradition in some form or another. It’s a basic rule for living “awake”.

Rule 2: The Law of Creation. You can understand this law by seeing that things outside yourself can tell you what’s going on inside. If you have not made your bed in a long time, it’s a sure sign something is going on inside. If you can’t find the floor of your office because it is covered with paper and stuff, surely something is amiss inside.  If you don’t like your life the way it is now, surely there are external signs of it.  The Law of Creation says that it is up to you to look inside and see what might be causing you to be unhappy. The Law of Creation invites you to actively move in a new direction. Creating happiness involves your own capacity to have your inner life match your outer life.

Our external life mirrors interior life on lots of levels. If I am grumpy to others, I’m probably out of sorts inside myself and might be spending a great deal of energy just to put on a happy face. You don’t need to hold a Ph.D. or be a holy shaman to know that.  Jesus understood that when he said, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets”. (Matthew 7:12)

According to the Karmic Law of Creation, we need to be active participants in our lives if we want to get what we desire. We cannot simply wait for things to happen to us, or worse, blame others for all our troubles. We should aim to see how much our inner life mirrors how we act in our outer life.

So what does an unmade bed tell you? That a happy and creative life requires active participation, and starting with small things. Fullness of meaning, happiness, satisfaction with where we are in the world, does not come by accident. Rather, God expects us to engage, to jump in, to take steps that bring our external world into sync with our internal realities. It is not something we do alone or without context.

For Christians, God’s grace plays an enormous role. We can, by God’s grace, see that our inner life mirrors our outer one. When I reach out to others with kindness, I am creating a more peaceful world. But that reaching out in kindness begins with a kindness inside myself. Sometimes making the bed is the beginning of a peaceful day, in which I indeed do for others what I myself would want for myself.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

14 responses to “What an Unmade Bed Can Tell You

  1. I make my bed unless I am ill. I had a cat who insisted the bed be made before she would nap on it. She would cry and stand at the top of the stairs until I made it. Took me a while to figure thst one out. Bunny O’Brien, OPA,ct.

  2. Thanks, Anne,
    I remember that once, at a deRicci meeting, the facilitator suggested that if we always make our bed, try not; and if we don’t, give it a try, then observe how the behavior made us feel.

  3. Thank you! Making my bed is kind of like a morning prayer…even on retreat or staying elsewhere I do that. It sets my mind tone for the day and is an offering of thanksgiving for my blessings…

  4. Thanks, Anne, for your creative thinking. I have to make
    my bed before I leave my room in the morning. Gets me
    started on a good day. Thanks. Kathleen

  5. Once again, right on target! God, my family (boys/ men) think I’m a bit “off” because I love order: made beds, ironed clothes, polished shoes and a clean car…You made alot of sense, as far as, I’m concerned.
    Keep those blogs coming, thanks! Peace & harmony!

  6. Thanks for the reflection, Anne.
    When I and my sibs were kids growing up, my mother would tell us not to go out looking like an unmade bed if, in her eyes, we were not quite put together right. Humm…

  7. LOL! Anne, I recall our conversation on this topic many years ago … and yes, I, too make my bed daily!


  8. Thanks, Anne, this was a good reminder and reflection on how to be happy with oneself and others. Oh, yes, I do make my bed everyday. And is does help me get a good start of my day.

  9. Thanks, Anne for your insights and reflection.
    I admit that I make my bed everyday because I enjoy
    the beauty and harmony it gives me when I sit in my chair
    and look at my bedroom.

    Blessings and peace,

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