I have written many blogs about mindfulness and how being in the present moment can impact your life.. So when I read the article by Karen Maezen Miller in www.lionsroar.com the following quote really hit home for me.

“ The search for meaning robs our life of meaning sending us back into our discursive minds while right in front of us, the laundry piles up”.

I can spend lots of time questioning myself and my life, but I still get worked up about house keeping. Now I must admit, that my mother was right when she said I was not much of a housekeeper. I don’t particularly enjoy, doing dishes, laundry or cleaning the bathroom. I find it tedious, boring, never ending and “not worth my time”. I can certainly enjoy raking leaves on a beautiful fall day, but then get frustrated when more leaves fall after I am sure I am finished!!

So, thinking about the value of these ordinary housekeeping chores made me stop and think. How do I need to bring the practice of mindfulness to these everyday tasks with less judgment and more open attention to what is right in front of me?

A place to begin is to tune into the fact that cooking and cleaning can be an expression of compassionate care to everything and everyone. I can be more present if I can notice the texture, color, shapes of the food I am preparing. Spending a few moments thinking about what went into the growing, harvesting, and transit of this food to my table can enhance my appreciation .

Doing dishes might be the last activity I would choose, but as Miller states, “cleaning up our dish can push us to rinse away our self importance” . If I let go of the judgment about cleaning that I have always brought to the task, I can even try to pay attention to how the light of cleanliness can open up my sense of spaciousness. Paying attention to my senses- sound, smell touch, taste and hearing will create a different experience. Miller challenges us to notice the fabric of our life as we sort our laundry. How does your softness, rough edges, smooth feelings affect your daily interactions with those who matter to you?

As far as raking leaves or even weeding, the mindlessness of the activity can be a chance to stop and be only in the present moment. Although the task can feel pointless, as Miller states, many other aspects of life can seem pointless. Checking out my thoughts while raking and bringing myself back to a place of less judging can only enhance my senses.

Now you might be saying, “ Give me a Break”. No one appreciates all this hard work I do for them!! Well, that might be true and these tasks still have value. Define what you want done and how much time you want to spend on it. Set a timer for the task if you want to and stop when it goes off. Try accepting this ancient Chinese Proverb:

“Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water”.

Now it is time for me to do the dishes!!



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