We hadn’t realized that Yoko Ono published a sequel to her enduringly wonderful Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions, written in 1964. Acorn‘s conceptual “instructions” seem more overtly focused on healing and personal change. We are especially intrigued with Cleaning Piece III, wondering what it would be like to NOT say anything negative about anybody. Would it change how we think?

Yoko Ono/Acorn
Yoko Ono/Acorn

Susan Timmons actually tried Ono’s practice, taping the instructions to her fridge. She described its effect:

…After several days’ attempts, I began to seriously worry about my character. It seemed I couldn’t even get past 9 a.m.

… I worked hard. At first, I did a lot of tongue-biting. I was humbled and dismayed by how often negative thoughts about someone could slip into my consciousness, but with effort and concentration I was able to stop the words from coming out.

It started to get just a little bit easier on the third day. Fewer negative thoughts were coming, and I wasn’t having to work so hard to squelch them when they did.

And then came Day 4. I began to sense a very real qualitative shift in my thinking, perspective, even consciousness. I felt different. I was looking at the people and world around me just a little bit differently, with a little more peace and clarity and empathy. There was no need to suppress negative thoughts, because here’s the thing: They just weren’t there.

I was amazed. I could make a shift in my perspective, and indeed perhaps in my very soul, just by changing what I said? This was powerful and exciting. If I could feel this much change in the first few days, what indeed would happen to my life over three months? (Read more here)

Friends just completed a 3 day juice fast, hoping to cleanse their system; they described it as being REALLY difficult. It makes us wonder if any real change involves a period of discomfort, “slipping”,  and hard work to break through to a shift.

Shall we try?


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5 replies on “Yoko Ono’s Cleaning Piece May Change Your Life

  1. The shift is only a moment when you compare it to the time getting there and eternity .
    i keep wondering whether there really is something like positive and negative , are they just ‘decision helpers ‘ . so using this like a compass , one will of course discover new land by changing direction .
    Q : how come something perceived as purely negative always wants to make itself feel like endlessness ? That is an illusion . Like one needs to find that light moment to escape , or rather tear down the veil .
    Did it ever seem that easy ?

  2. Q : how come something perceived as purely negative always wants to make itself feel like endlessness ? That is an illusion . Like one needs to find that light moment to escape , or rather tear down the veil .

    Where was I reading this very thing, Sahana, that negativity seems like it will never end, and joy fleeting. WHY?!!!

  3. It is a challenge . Happiness is just as strong ,yet feeling lost in negativity is a shock to the system . I wonder about many of us being taught that they deserve it. Who would ever look at another and think something like that? Even if one does not especially like a person, think of the consequences of spreading ‘negativity’ . Reminds me of the yin-yang -symbolism. As long as we divide , either ‘side’ will try to regain balance.
    Maybe this exercise is a good way to realize how feeding the negativity will make it grow even ‘unintentionally’ (sorry , grammar failing here ).
    How often do we realize that we were saved from harm ? We do not know .

    Have a lovely week-end, Sally


  4. quick ps : as this is an illusion, if you struggle with it, you confirm it.
    thus ‘let it go’ can be a powerful sentence

    thank you for bringing it up .

  5. Yoko is an International Treasure.

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