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.

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