Peace through LaundryJuly 21, 2008
Today, I read Crunchy Chicken’s blog about how doing her laundry brings her peace and stress relief during this very trying time in her life. Her husband is undergoing cancer treatment. She needs to find some peace in her day, and for her hanging the laundry is it.
This post reminded me of something I read years ago by Robert Fulghum. I think it is in his book, It was on Fire When I Lay Down on It. In one of his essays, he talks of going on a retreat to achieve enlightenment, or at least a greater communion with the divine. He is there for weeks, but he does not quite get what he is looking for. He gets close, but somehow, he misses what he wanted to learn.
Later, he realizes he had the lesson all along. He didn’t get it at the retreat, he had been taught it years earlier. When he was a young man, he had been instructed in the proper way to iron. The proper way to iron came down to focus on what you are doing, and be present in the moment you are doing it. All meditations teach you how to be more aware in the now, live life in the present moment, not the past or the future, but now.
Which brings me back to laundry. Crunchy enjoys hanging her laundry, it is her respite from the chaos of her life. I enjoy vacuuming. I like how the machine makes the stripes in the carpet. I enjoy seeing the canister fill up with what the vacuum has sucked up. To me, vacuuming is not a dreaded item on my to-do list. Instead it is a fun activity that I anticipate. Every time I vacuum, I feel that my house is cleaner. I know a woman who uses dish washing time as her mediation time. When she washes the plates, she remembers where she bought them, how happy she was that day, and how much she likes how they go with the rest of her kitchen. She enjoys her memories, and her current moment. She has transformed a chore into mindful action.
What is your favorite “chore?” Is there something that you currently think is a chore, but that you could look at with fresh eyes?