Sunday, April 11, 2010

Zen of Laundry

My husband loves to say that laundry is one of my favorite activities. (Btw he hates being called "Al" on my blog, so I'll have to come up with a new alias.) I have laundry routines that are fairly rigid, and even if I'm very busy, the clothes will be done every Wednesday and Sunday, sheets every other weekend. See? I said it was rigid!
I used to despise the laundry. Especially the millions of tiny baby socks to be paired up, and the onesies, like 3 a day, right? Ugh! But even then, in the midst of colicky babies and burp rags, I found laundry to be something I didn't have anywhere else: a fully accomplishable goal. If I got the laundry sorted and started, it could be finished and put away. A box checked off my to do list, and a fresh start on the week.
Laundry is also a task that requires no intellectual effort. It can be done with full mindfulness on the moment. In the book Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh describes washing dishes in a really beautiful way, feeling the warm water, enjoying the smell of the soap, and knowing that washing them allows you to eat off a clean plate tomorrow.
Laundry is my dishes, I guess, because I still hate washing the freaking dishes :) But I can apply the same mindset. I can feel the fabrics, the warmth of towels straight from the dryer, and I know DJ's favorite shirt will be clean to wear for the second time this week. I feel calmed as I fold, with no thought except how to get the fitted sheet into a neat square (maybe someday!). But also because I have met a goal and attained an endpoint. How many places in life can we say that is true? The best part? There is ALWAYS more laundry...

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1 comment:

  1. The "Zen of Laundry"...that has a catchy ring to it. I enjoyed reading this post and I'm glad to see your reference to Thich Nhat Hanh. Speaking of Thich Nhat Hanh, I was interested to see a wonderful interview of Thich Nhat Hanh by Oprah Winfrey in the March 2010 issue of O Magazine. I was able to access this interview online and print it out from the Oprah website. I have been carrying the interview around with me in my notebook to refer to often for inspiration. Thanks for this post, it reminds me to slow down and enjoy everyday tasks...