Confessions of a Mindless Housecleaner

mop     As a longtime practitioner and a teacher of various relaxation and meditation techniques I suppose I should  have known better. But there I was about to attack the kitchen floor with a mop and bucket of soapy water. To begin with I’ve never been very adept about the finer nuances of housecleaning…it has always seemed a little mysterious and very out of focus. i grew up in a household where the boys took out the trash, mowed the lawn, shoveled snow and helped any  of the repairmen that periodically showed up. I was never initiated into the mysteries of how our home actually remained clean, including kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms and laundry. I sort of knew that it was the “woman’s domain”. Yet part of me had a vague suspicion that the house sort of cleaned itself or maybe the cleaning fairies worked during the night shift (common male delusions).

       So here I was, once again, with that disoriented feeling in my head and a mop in my hands. In addition it was one of the hottest days of the year in the bay area. I proceeded to rumble and grumble, sweat and swear, and for all of my effort the floor wasn’t looking much better. I was looking forward to the other end of this job. Then that little light went on over my head! I recalled that I  taught mindfulness techniques to students and preached it at my teenage daughter. My attention began to focus on the sensations of mop moving across the smooth floor, the sound of the dripping water being rung out, the color of the floor changing from light to dark with each watery application. I was actually breathing slower deeper breaths. The emotional flow in my body went from irritated to smooth and pleasant. I was so happy that I knew this simple technique..just being present with what my world was at the present moment.

       OK..so it took a while to get out of my mindless space and to get in gear, but I did eventually shift gears , and it made all the difference in the world.