Lessons from a Dusty Fan

mocha momentsI recently bought the Kindle version of The In-Between by Jeff Goins. It’s about embracing the tension between now and the next big thing.


My ‘now’ the other day was cleaning a VERY dusty ceiling fan. I have been looking at it forever. It’s in the bedroom so it’s a ‘must see’. 🙂  And I’ve been meaning to clean it too. Good intention. Zero action.

So anyway, I read the Introduction, Part One and Chapter 1: Siestas – Searching for a Breakthrough of Jeff’s book since I was feeling a lot of tension myself having recently moved to Tobago, and having not had that many projects to work on….you know to feel worthwhile DOING something, since this is the only way we know how 🙂

Of course I did have a fan to clean (but no one’s really keeping score) except perhaps Anastasia, who I told far too many times that I was GOING TO CLEAN THE FAN!

So in-between reading, doubting myself, feeling as if I was useless (yes sometimes it gets dark for me), thinking about getting something to eat, and reading some more, I decided on August first – [drum roll] TO CLEAN THE FAN.

I got everything ready: bowl of water, purple cloth, step ladder and started.

My first thought was that I HATE this. The dust had really accumulated…(sorry I didn’t take a picture) but Jeff talks about that too…you know rather than just being in the moment we have an ever increasing need to capture and document. So I kept this dusty fan moment for my eyes only and decided to really just focus on CLEANING THE FAN. Pretty soon I got into a rhythm: Hold a blade, remove the first layer of thick dust, rinse the cloth, wipe the top side clean, rinse, wipe the bottom side (who ever thought that you could write so much about a process huh?)

And then it dawned on me: How could something that is constantly in motion collect so much dust?

First stop Google! I found this information via Imponderable Books author, Dave Feldman’s site, which was a bit much for me starting off with the fact that tens of thousands of human skin flakes fall off our body every minute…you can read more here if you’re interested in the details. But basically:

  1. There’s dust in the house (much of which we don’t usually see)
  2. The circulating air from the spinning fan blades creates an air flow which throws dust around
  3. The dust particles carry and electrical charge, attract each other, but are also attracted to the ceiling fan blades which themselves carry a static electric charge – (as the blades rotate, they experience frictional forces as they `rub’ against the air; this knocks electrons around, causing the blades to build up a net charge. The charged dust particles then stick to the charged areas of the blades. This info submitted by Loren A. Larson of Orlando, Florida.)

And now for my in-between lesson:

Ceiling fans are made to stay in one place but sometimes we behave just like ceiling fans spinning around and around in one place, not going anywhere, not making progress, and the busier we get DOING more – the more s**t we attract! We also draw more and more meaningless crap into our lives – thinking that the NEXT thing will be our salvation. What we need to do is to ‘switch off our fan’, and work through the dust that has accumulated in our ‘busy mode’. Clear the air, and get some clarity as to where we are right now.

There are seasons in life and they keep repeating (not sure if you’ve noticed) lol, but not every season is about doing.

Everything Has Its Time
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I’m still reading Jeff’s book and am happy I’ve started. I think my school friend Gillian Goddard gets the in-between better than I do. Recently she posted this:

I love having the challenges that I have. The interpersonal problems with living in community, the lack of privacy with homeschooling, the need to thin arugula seedlings, the bat guano on the bathtub, the high effort required to leave a beautiful home location, the self-imposed pressure to pick sunflower seeds and hog plums, missing Hawaii and the desert of West Texas, the complete unpredictability of the future and the money side of my life. Many others would hate my circumstances and I would hate theirs. I’m so glad to live in a world where we don’t all have the same life. Oh and the tarantulas, snakes and centipedes… And the fighting roosters. And the pooping puppy.

I certainly need to embrace my in-between, which is going to involve more cleaning in the structure that houses my body, and the structure that houses my soul. I am after all – a work in progress.



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