Jerolyn Morrison has told us of her life as an anthropologist/archaeologist/potter who has spent springs, summers, and autumns on Crete, researching the lives of the ancient Minoans. This is her response to our March Challenge, in which we urged our readers to bring some change—however minimal—into their lives.—Ed.

JEM_potting_cooking_pot_Stella_Johnson_photographerJerolyn Morrison creating pots in the Minoan way. Photo by Stella Johnson, 2011.


“I need to polish tarnished areas in my life to restore a sense of balance.”

This month I am determined to remove the dust bunnies from the corners of my house and life. Corners are considered by some to attract and store large amounts of low and negative energy—and by removing these little bundles of fibers, hair, and other unmentionables from corners, we remove stagnant energy that can cause complacency. This idea is so ludicrous that it’s laughable; still, there must be a little truth behind it, for when I see dust bunnies gliding from one end of the room to the other, to rest in a corner, I am 100 percent annoyed! I feel the weight of taking care of the space around me.

My decision to consider the mundane task of removing dust bunnies from my space is born of my utter neglect of the kind of routine that creates a balanced life. During the past seven years I have focused enormous amounts of energy into the single task of completing a Ph.D. thesis in the archaeology of ancient Minoan cooking on the island of Crete, in the southern Aegean.

I spent years sitting in front of my computer, writing hundreds of pages of text and composing even more pages of images. All told, I spent countless hours discussing the finer points of my research and organizing a myriad of talks, lectures, and hands-on workshops to persuade others that my approach to the field had value. I was totally committed to my work, and in doing so,  I let everything else in my life dissolve: my mantra became Scarlett O’Hara’s famous phrase, “After all, tomorrow is another day!” My relationships and health suffered, and I felt that at age 42 my future was no more secure than it was when I was in my early 30s. What the heck?!

This dismay does not mean that I did not enjoy the tunnel-focus. I did. In fact, on a certain level it allowed me to redefine myself as a woman with a high level of commitment—although my commitment extended to only one area of my life. On a personal level, I understand very well why completing this task was important, and I am ecstatic to have accomplished it. In hindsight, what surprises me is that I had put on hold other valued aspects of life—such as personal relationships, health, and financial security. Now that my thesis has been accepted, I often experience the feeling that I am waking from a dream, and when I open my eyes, I find these darn dust bunnies mucking up my space!

My response to Women’s Voices’ March Challenge is both metaphorical and literal. I want to begin by practicing the physical act of cleaning, so that this can transcend into a more spiritual cleanse. Perhaps polishing tarnished areas in my life to restore a semblance of balance will take more effort and mindful dedication than what I have been willing to put forth during these past few years, but I am positive that it is worth it!

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  • toni myers March 29, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I get completely what you are saying, Jerolyn. I hope to do the same. Whatever I am working on tends to create chaos by leaving the everyday things unattended and very messy.
    Thanks, will save this to remind me.

  • Diane Dettmann March 29, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Jereolyn, I can really relate to your March Challenge. I tend to be a one focus person when it comes to projects and goals. In the process, my life becomes unbalanced in other areas. Congratulations on finishing your Ph.D. thesis and good luck with those dust bunnies!