Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wax On Wax Off

There is a Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." Being mindful of your work, present in the actions of your labors, can cause them to seem lighter. It is easy to be at peace in the moments of praying or meditating, but continuing this mindful clarity once you have risen from your knees is difficult. Add daily chores to the mix and my patience goes out the window.

With this concept in mind, I poured myself and strong cup of tea and painstakingly unraveled a very tangled skein. The process was long, challenging, and absolutely worth the effort. But, I knew it would be. I enjoyed the work because I knew there was a reward at the end. Yesterday when I realized my floor needed hands and knees mopping since I had neglected it for so long, I was not so spiritually present in the face of the task. I was trying to think of an excuse to call in sick. Generally you can't call in sick to your own house, so I sucked it up and got to work. The next thing I knew, I was on a roll, cleaning everything I tend to ignore, and by the end of a couple of hours, I felt good. I had accomplished something I didn't want to do at all. When I was fully present, aware of each action, taking the time to pay attention to details, I can't say I enjoyed myself, but I felt better for focusing rather than dispersing my energies. Chop wood, carry water, life happens.

The Lady Knits sent me this tangled skein of Pigeonroof Studios yarn to sort out and love. She is spreading more fiber love on her podcast, Stitches in Time with a give-away. Carry your bucket of water over to her site and enter to win.

8 comments:

teabird said...

Oh my, I wouldn't have minded untangling that skein, either! I slip into a meditative state when I have skeins to untangle, too.

elizabeth said...

Even the mundane tasks can be somewhat comforting! I do my best cleaning when I'm angry, however. I don't get angry often, though, so my house is pretty messy!

Kathy said...

Great Great post. Chop wood carry water. Or at fireman says "shut up and shovel" . Mindfully of course.

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

My goal at the moment is to stop looking ahead and enjoy the here and now, especially as it relates to work.

Sandra said...

this reminds me of people who tell me they actually *enjoy* finishing knitting projects (shudder) because it's "relaxing". (double shudder)

and i tend to relinquish tangled up skeins of yarn as soon as possible to anyone who's willing to take them. i find them *infuriating* to detangle. but for pigeonroof tho, i dunno. i'd probably take a few breaths and suck it up myself. . .

in all seriousness, I do understand where you are coming from tho. i've been really burnt out from work and need to remind to give myself a few moments of peace.

kim said...

I know the truth in your words. I've experienced it. And yet... still feeling the lethargy. But I really enjoyed reading about your efforts; and having knit with Pigeonroof yarn, I'm sure it it quite amazing!

the Lady said...

Nice post.

It always satisfies me so much to clean and do well.

You approached the skein in a much more useful and mindful way than I did. Thank you.

Mom said...

Brilliant! I wonder who gave you that beautiful teapot and cup?