Transform Housework into a Meditation with Candles
It’s like the dishes dirty themselves, there is always more laundry, floors regularly need sweeping… Housework can seem never ending. Oh, wait! It really is never ending. It can feel like mindless drudgery. It’s not interesting, and it is oftentimes backbreaking work. Housework is a bitch. It’s easy to end up in a bad relationship with your home because of chores. Home-care is a demanding job.
Quit Hating, Start Meditating
Instead of hating your housework, embrace it - with gratitude. The task is not going away. The wishing it away is what creates suffering. Thus, in a Buddhist way, get curious about the work at hand. STOP being so mindless. Get mindful.
- Notice the temperature of the water.
- Notice texture, smell, color...
- Notice the feelings in your body (try swaying your hips).
- Notice the thoughts in your mind, let them float in and out of your consciousness.
- Notice your breath. Always come back to your breath.
Divide and Conquer
Meditating for 15 minutes is a challenge for many. And, most chores take at least 15 minutes. If you cleaned your whole house in a mindful state, you would be ‘meditating’ for several hours. This takes practice and patience. So, break it up.
Make sure your housemate/partner carries some of the load. “But you are home all day,” my inner critic says. I have to remind her I am working, too: caring for small children is a fulllllll time job.
Do just one “bigger” chore in a day. Some things are on constant repeat: dishes, laundry, sweeping. Other things require less frequent attention: shower, sheets, mopping. I consider these “bigger” chores. Pick one of these tasks and spend 20 minutes on it.
Magic in the Flame
It takes me about two minutes before I forget to be mindful about my chores and remember how much I hate doing them. The trick? Light a candle. Before I begin a task, I light a candle in the room where I am working. It is a way to acknowledge/welcome helpful Invisibles, unseen spirits/energy. I think the house likes it when I light a candle in her honor. She feels seen and appreciated. This act alone can transform housework from something I must do, into an act of love.
Remember to Breathe
The candle is a visual reminder to return to the breath. While you work, your mind will wander and draw your consciousness away from the present moment. But, suddenly, the flicker of a flame will catch your eye and bring you back to the here and now. Gently return to the practice of curiosity and gratitude.
All’s Well That Ends Well
When you are finished, take a moment to intentionally snuff out the candle. Don’t just blow it out like, “done Bitches!” Instead, center yourself and thank the Invisibles. Get a little Namaste with it. Pause in gratitude. If you have a candle snuffer, slowly lower the bell so that it doesn’t touch the wax and wait for the oxygen to burn out. If you are using your breath, exhale ever so slowly as if inviting the candle to blow itself out.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Meditating is hard. Mindfulness while scrubbing shower grout is harder. Remember, always come back to the breath (unless bleach is involved).
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