Chores and Breathing
"When you bring an awareness to your activity, even to ordinary things, that's what art is about. Drinking a cup of tea can be art."
The Artist of the Everyday...Mingwei Lee
Jan 31st will be 161 days into my breathing/meditation practice. I feel like I'm just now learning how to breathe. Everyday I practice at least a little. I can't imagine going back to how I was breathing before. Was I even breathing???
Shifting habits is like learning to breathe. It takes time. My home chores used to consume too much mental energy. They felt like a weight to my soul. Today my chores don't always flow with a Mary Poppins tune. but they are infinitely more nourishing, easier, lighter than they once were.
They are becoming a tool. I use them use for mental health, to find clarity, to put order in chaos, to reboot my day-life-my emotions. I practice breathing and doing the dishes. I'm not "there" yet, still exploring-growing.
In my head, I hear the mom of 4 kids, saying: "I don't really do much, nothing special...I just do a little bit as I go." I met her probably 15 years ago. I was there to "teach" her how to take care of her new surfaces in her new home. She taught me way more than I taught her. Her home didn't seem to take any of her energy. When I asked how she did it all, she looked perplexed. What all?
I'm learning. When I wait for the messes to pile up there is too much friction in my head. When they are tiny, I can step through tiny friction. I'm learning to notice. It's not a straight path, more like the path of a butterfly-wiggly and curious- interesting, life giving. It's like poetry, like art.
"Breathing in, I smile. Breathing out, I release. Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment. Breathing out, I feel it is a wonderful moment."
Thick Nhat Hanh
1% transformation, tiny shifts in perspective & actions, cell by cell, breath by breath, day by day. According to James Clear- Atomic Habits, This one percent becomes a 37% deeper skill in one year. Maybe not perfect but much improved...and then next year another 37%.
Daily Chores and your breath will travel with you your entire life. Use them to add joy in your soul, as tools to enhance and nourish. A place to wake up.
Try this: Pick a chore any daily chore. Breathe slow and deeply while you work. Sing a little tune, hum along. Stand a little taller, relax your face into a slight smile. Notice how you feel- before and after. Just notices...try it again tomorrow.