For many years, I’ve done an occasional imaging routine in which I imagine that my mind is a big two-story house with an attic and a basement. Each room has a gold plaque with its name, like “Vision Room” or “Hearing Room.” When I go into those rooms and clean up old hazy grime and waxy build-up with my magical cleaning supplies, my vision and hearing seem clearer. There are also rooms named “Old Baggage” and “Room of Bitterness.” The Old Baggage Room has a pile of hard-cased luggage like old Samsonite, and the Old Bitterness Room has boxes of smelly crap. They’re all labeled, and the suitcases and boxes have gotten fewer and smaller over the years, but some perversity makes me hold on to them. Every now and then I go in and dust them and decide which ones I’m absolutely done with.
The last time I did that Mental House Cleaning ritual, I discovered a room I didn’t even know I had. It was the Room of Noxious People. I was surprised that I’d let people I didn’t like move into my house, but there they were, all lined up on shelves like big warty toads. And the most galling thing of all was that I realized they couldn’t be there if I hadn’t been feeding them, which meant I must have been sneaking in there and giving them dead flies or something to keep them alive. That was even more disgusting than finding them there in the first place. I had to ask myself why I had invited all those obnoxious, despicable, hateful people into my house. I don’t even know most of them, they’re just politicians or neighborhood blowhards that I have no personal interaction with. So why in the world would I waste my time feeding them flies and giving them a room in my house?
My rule for cleaning my Mental House is that I can’t kill anything, but with my ray guns and magical shooters, I can send things into outer space. So I had a great time turning my magical shooters on the noxious toads that I’d let into my house. Their little legs were churning as they flew away. I’m sure they landed safely in some slimy bog where they’ll be much more at home. Then I sterilized the room and made it inviting for People I Like. Painted the walls and cleaned the floor and put out fresh flowers and fruit and stacks of good books for them. I like the feeling that People I Like are upstairs in my Mental House now, because when you get right down to it, I am whatever is in my house.