Ok. Don’t laugh at me.
But this morning I had a spiritual breakthrough while I was… umm… cleaning my house.
So, lately I have been reading books like Thich Nhat Hahn’s “Miracle Of Mindfulness”, or “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, and the like, and they have slowly changed my life. They’re basically about – to put it in one phrase – being in the moment, and being grateful for it.
It’s not always easy, especially when there’s real problems, real suffering in and around you, when you feel like nothing’s stable and … fair, for that matter.
But I have experienced that going back to that one very moment that you’re in anyway and realizing all that it… GIVES… changes even the worst moments.
But back to cleaning the house this morning: I had so much fun!
HA! You think I’m crazy!
I couldn’t believe it at first, but when I started working this morning ( – and wow, it really needed to be done – ), I found myself more and more aware of what I really did.
I realized that I am CHANGING things here. That I am taking something dirty and transform it into something clean.
Anne Lamott writes in “Stitches” (which I am currently reading): “Every time we choose the good action or response, the decent, the valuable, it builds, incrementally, to renewal, resurection, the place of newness, freedom, justice. The equation is: life, death, resurrection, hope.”
Funny, but all of a sudden my housework became a part of that.
And while I was scrubbing the floor I became so grateful. For the house we live in. For my 3 children, playing peacefully while I was working. For my ability to move my hands and arms. For my eyes and ears. For being able to realize the color of the beautiful wooden floor in the light of this sunny saturday morning. For running water in our house. For our heater. For soap. For all the beautiful things I am surrounded with. For the smell of “freshness”. For my kitchen, for the fact that I was able to arrange the furniture and decorate the house the way I wanted it. For the ability to make things pretty. And keep them pretty.
Ann Lamott (again) writes: “Beauty is meaning.”
Somehow this morning I was able to not only regard the art I make, the songs I write, the things I edit and only show to the world when I think “this is how it’s supposed to be” as “beautiful”, but also the way this house looked and felt while I got it cleaner and cleaner. The meaning the things that I was cleaning have to our family, our life.
Scrubbing toilets this morning was my service.
Vacuuming the floor was my prayer.
Wiping surfaces and washing dishes felt like making music.
And when I was done another thing occurred to me: the act of taking care of these things CONNECTED me to them in a whole new way.
I don’t think I have ever appreciated this house and all that’s in it more than today. And I feel a part of it. It happened because I was in the moment. But at the same time, my awareness KEPT me in the moment.
Ok. This does not mean that from now on cleaning will always be that much fun. I know, I am living my life in circles, constantly moving, leaving, and coming back to where I was before, deepening.
It does not mean that my joy about washing laundry this morning has any great or meaningful effect on anything or anyone.
But Mother Teresa said that none of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.
That’s what I did this morning. And I was grateful for it.
(And, by the way: the house looks really good now!) ;o)