Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Chores as meditation

Otherwise known as the blog post in which folding laundry gets a little "woo-woo".

Like you, I've got a lot on my mind.  Mixed in with the never-ending to-do list, grocery items and errands are some big challenges, heavy emotions, and a few dreams too.  Yesterday afternoon, I found myself feeling flustered and pressed for time, annoyed with using what little time I felt I had to do the things that needed doing, like folding laundry.  Somewhere from the swirling sea of my thoughts surfaced a memory of "chores as meditation".  I needed to fold the laundry, so instead of using that repetitive, relatively mindless activity to let my thoughts spiral out of control, I brought all of my attention to simply folding the laundry, exploring my senses and remembering to breathe deeply and evenly.

Chores as meditation takes practice (practice I am only just beginning), so I worked through it out loud.  It went something like this:

I am feeling the warmth in the fabric, fresh from the dryer.
It's a pleasant sensation. (deep breath in, deep breath out--ahhh)
Socks, match, fold together.
I smell the freshness of the air coming in through the open window.
This shirt is his.  Lift. Little shake. Fold.  Place on his pile.
This shirt is hers.  Lift. Little shake. Fold.  Place on her pile.
I feel gratitude that my family has everything they need, that they have so much more than just need.
I need to donate some stuff.
What size is this?
I've got to deal with the donation pile of books.
This room is a mess.
I have too many emails.
I'm folding laundry now, and that's all I'm doing.
Socks, match, fold together.

See what happened there?  My brain and my body relaxed into the meditation.  Gratitude and joy welled up...which somehow released my thought spiral all over again.  The good news is I could spot it and stop it, if only for the remaining couple of minutes of that chore.  And do you know what?  That counts.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Talking through the process

If there's any title more fitting for a blogpost by me, this might be it: "sloooooooow blogging".  Once upon a time, I bought a shiny new domain name and had big shiny dreams about how my very own website would look.  A few years later (eep!), I forced myself to admit that setting up a new site from scratch is simply not for me anytime soon...so I chose a shiny new template on a gorgeous platform and logged in.  It too has sat (mostly) empty.  Apparently, The Blank Page isn't only threatening to traditional authors but can readily apply to online writers as well.  Experiment conclusion: acknowledge that new blogging habits can happen in old blogging spaces.  Voila!  This site is due for a spruce-up.  I'm actually taking a blogging class to get the creative juices flowing, and it's time I start actually attempting the assignments in the space I already have rather than stressing about how to create a new space to fit the assignments I haven't done.

In addition to my blogging course, I've begun a year-long training program in women's wellness education.  This has me thinking about self-care and the ways in which we deny ourselves what we need to thrive.  We all do that, don't we?  We develop big goals that we're excited about, and when life gets in the way, we let all the intentions and plans shift to the sidelines, even if it makes us sad to see them there.  Perhaps it's simply the perfectionist tendency to aim for "all or nothing", though writing it down in those words makes even that seem inexcusable.  It doesn't have to be everything to be something valuable.  If we stray from the path toward our goals, we can simply push through the underbrush and find the path again.  We might find ourselves in a different place than where we stepped off.  We might be further back toward the beginning (ugh).  Or we might be in a new, more interesting section of the path.  There is triumph in simply regaining one's footing and resuming the challenge, no?

No matter how big or small, are there any personal goals you have been setting to the side, waiting for the opportune moment?  What if that moment was now?  What if you could just decide that moment was now?  How would it feel to step your feet back onto the path?