FlyLady is a website run by a lady with a mission to help distraught "SHEs," (Sidetracked Home Executives) organize their homes and their lives. As I was finishing the dishes tonight and thinking about shining it, the idea suddenly hit me that she works in very much the same way as a traditional spiritual director.
Shining your sink and keeping it that way is the first step every Flybaby takes. This means empty, clean, and dry it every night, noon, and morning, and this one bright spot in the heart of your home immediately gives you the part of virtue that is perhaps hardest to attain--happiness in doing good consistently. This is something you can keep doing every day, and seeing your shiny sink in the morning makes you smile. Then, too, its beauty spreads throughout the kitchen--after all, if you put the dishes in the washer instead of the sink, you might as well run it, and wipe down the countertops, etc. But this only comes later. In the spiritual life, your sink is of course your dominant fault, which St. Ignacio says to check on when? Morning, noon and night! And St. Thomas Aquinas says that any virtue practiced to perfection brings with it all the other virtues, so it spreads just like the sink.
Progress, not perfection, is one of Flylady's biggest mottos, and Babysteps are the way to go. In the spiritual life, I think the application is obvious--it's St. Therese's "Little Way" in fact. We are going towards perfection, naturally, but we can't expect any one day or action to be perfect, and perfectionism only slows us down. "Even the just man sins seven times a day." So the idea is to do what you can, say your confiteor at the end of the day, and don't waste sleeping time at night agonizing over how much time you wasted or how many people you yelled at. Just count 'em up once, say you're sorry and will do better tomorrow, and forget about it.
FLYing is a funny one; it means Finally Loving Yourself and I've seen a fundamentalist saying this is one of the bad points of Flylady, since we're supposed to be worrying about loving God, not ourselves. However, in the Latin Mass article on melancholics, someone made the very good point that "love thy neighbor as thyself" has no meaning unless you do love yourself very much, and this is something that melancholics have trouble with, apparently. Flylady is always saying that you can't take good care of your family if you don't take care of yourself (in fact she has weekly pamper missions) and she definitely has the right idea. Yes, the great saints always had a double standard--tough on themselves and pampering everyone else--but they had no trouble loving themselves or other people (they did penance out of love for themselves, in fact). And look at what it led to for St. Bernard--he got sick and wasn't allowed to follow the community life for I forget how long!
Declutter--very important. "Our stuff drags us down and keeps us from flying!" I think any Christian can see the application of this one, without my help, but let me just say that Flylady applies it to mental clutter as well, and this is important.