As someone who is not best friends with all things domestic, discovering mindfulness helped with the balance of my day. A busy mum and business owner working from a home studio, I often feel challenged by the needs of the house. Every time I get home from the school run, the house reminds me it is growing dusty, or needs vacuuming. The dishwasher demands to be filled, the shopping list grows and there is daily laundry to be done. I used to find this very frustrating and resented all these tasks that took me away from my art and my desk.
Now I enjoy it. I arrange my day so a list or a project gets done, I measure this by task or by time, I’m quite flexible with it. Then I punctuate my day with whatever needs doing most in and for the house. Sometimes I put on music, I might plug into an audio book or podcast depending on what needs doing and how long I think it will take, this allows me to view the chores as ‘exercising while reading a book’ which, while not strictly mindful in and of itself, it is a practice that has allowed me to alter my perspective, giving me permission to relax and enjoy something I don’t really want to do.
The real difference I have become aware of is when I slow down and notice. I find this most with the laundry. Instead of rushing through it all, now, if I’m standing at the washing line, I feel the fresh air, listen to the birds, or notice how a plant has grown. I allow the experience to nurture me. Indoors, I like the blast of warmth I get from the tumble dryer, the smell of clean washing and the soft feel of the clothes. The heat and hiss of the iron are a friendly break from my desk and my screen. If I’ve been sitting still for too long, a whizz round the house with the vacuum cleaner gets my circulation going and warms me up nicely. Not to mention the satisfaction I receive when it is done, the house thanks me when it is clean and working properly, it is cosier and more inviting.
Another thing I realised by engaging mindfully with my daily experiences is that these chores that loom, that we put off and allow to hang over us, often only take about five or ten minutes, which can be a fraction of the time we spend feeling annoyed about having to do them in the first place. So I invite you to embrace the beauty of your home and your surroundings. I promise you will thank yourself.
This is an extract from my kindle book ‘Find Yourself with Attentive Art: An Introduction to Mindful Creativity plus Five Exercises for You to Try’ You can buy it HERE. X