Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Laundry and the Meditation Cushion

I had a revelation today while pulling clothes out of the dryer.

Yup, ladies and gentlemen (are there any gentlemen who read this?!), while doing laundry.

My mind had been filled with all of the countless things I had to do before I could do...well, the things I had to do.  The garage needs to be cleared out so the kids can have a shady area to play.  (We can't even pull our cars in there right now.)  We need to figure out where the cra...stuff is going to go before it can be cleaned out.  I have to clear a path to my chair before I can find my sketching materials again.  I have to fold these clothes before I can switch the ones from the washer (which have already been in there a day) into the dryer. And so on.

A day or so ago, I had determined that one of my goals for this summer (and I will repeat this later) is to get on top of things and then stay on top.  (I can hear my hubby snickering in the background.)  Seriously, I want to get to each and every corner and clear out those things that get neglected because once we are done cleaning the kitchen countertop and the kids rooms (AGAIN) we are too tired to tackle the corner.

So what was the revelation?  That NOW is the only time things can be done.  Deep, no?

NOW is the only time things can be done.

I don't mean that if dinner doesn't get made RIGHT NOW that my family will starve. 

I mean that "right now" is the only time that exists...that piling up mail for "later", stepping over the clothes that I'll deal with "tomorrow", and purchasing more books to read for "when I have time" is pointless. 

Sooner or later, "Tomorrow,", "Later", and "When I Have Time" will become "NOW"...the only point at which I can get stuff done.

I have a problem.  I'm piling crap on top of crap.  I live my life as if there will always be a better time to do something, that tomorrow there will be free time to deal with "it".  The donation pleas and camp notifications pile up because I trick myself into thinking I'll deal with the papers during the evening hours.  That time never comes.

The clothes that the kids have grown out of and the toys that are still perfectly useful but no longer age-appropriate pile up in the garage because I keep thinking I'll have a garage sale and be able to use the money for something useful.  I believe we have things that have been in there since we moved in.

I have papers, notes, cards, banners, and pretty much anything else than can be saved from the past 5 years (in particular), thinking that I'm going to put together an awesome baby book and a scrapbook from our vacations and wall art for the kids from their baby photos.  I think it is more likely that these things will crumble from age then end up in a beautiful homemade work of art.

So my goal for now?

To take care of everything Now.  I don't mean I'm going to tackle the garage and the art area and the kids clothes and the laundry and my sketching and blah blah right now.  No thanks.

I mean when something comes up, I'm going to deal with it.  In between wiping up the milk and cheerios and sorting through the mail, I vow not to take on any more large projects or choosing to bring in any more things-to-do.  When I HONESTLY look at it all, I have more than what I can handle on my plate...more "to-do's" than I can possibly do, more inspiring books & websites than I can possibly absorb, more clutter than I could possibly ever sell or use.

(This has included not buying any books for myself at Half Price Books and passing on an online class I really wanted to join.  This is NOT going to be easy.  I'm tearing up a bit right now thinking about not buying another book for awhile.  *Sniff*)

This also means life is going to be pleasantly BUSY and that I'll be
moving at a much DIFFERENT PACE...i.e. SLOWER.

It is easy to imagine I have all sorts of free time.  And I do.  But that "free time" is built upon oodles of To-Do-dles.  (Tee hee)  The time is only free, the house only "clean" because of what is shoved in the corners and assigned to do "later". 

And life gets more and more out of control as I keep thinking there is any time but now to deal with my life.

Remember the phrase I've been running with....How I Do One Thing Is How I Do Everything?

I have not sat my toosh on a meditation cushion in months.  I keep pushing it aside....just like the piles of laundry.  I push each part of my life a little further aside to make room for More or Different.

So right here, right now, I set my intention to Just Do It.  

To meditate, do my yoga, to do the laundry, to do the sketching and to play with the kids.

And lest you worry about me (you kind being), know that all of this is done not by stressing and trying to cram more into each moment, but by moving at a different pace..the pace of awareness & intention

I am going to have to give up some television time.  I'm going to have to accept that I may not move as quickly on Suzi's class and that the Artistic Mother projects may not get done until the end of the summer.  And THAT'S OK!

I am going to breathe and move and be for right here, right now.

When my kids call for my attention, I intend on giving it to them even if it means pausing the video lesson online.  I intend on not stepping over any lost sock or lonely lego, but pausing in my journey to help it find its home. 

It is going to be hard, this I know. 

But it could also be the start of something transformative and beautiful.  It's that on which I focus.


On a less deep note (sorta), Danielle LaPorte's The Firestarter Sessions & Kelly Rae Roberts' Flying Lessons classes are TRANSFORMING me.  (I know I just used that word.  It's a cool word.)   I don't think I'm teasing you when I ask you to watch for BIG BIG things coming soon.


On an even less deep note, today is our son's last day of Kindergarten!  How odd that we will soon have a child who is beginning his journey on the numeric steps of education (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.).  I hope to post photos of pre- and post- school soon.

Ok....breathe.  be.  now.


  1. Lisa- this post so resonates with me. With the start of school, I have been feeling much like you, not quite overwhelmed but looking for the answer in all of it. There has to be a way to balance the family and school and art and a couple online classes. These are all things I want in my life. So with that thought, I am optimistic I will find my answers. Sounds like you found yours. YaY!

  2. Hi Lisa, sometimes I feel overwhelmed, too, with all the things that I must do. I have been trying to pace myself so that I do have the time to take care of things that I need to take care of and still have time to create. Thanks for such a reaffirming post that recognizes that many of us are in the same boat. :) I am thrilled to hear you are enjoying your online classes. I love learning about them from you! Theresa

  3. Do I count as a gentleman?

  4. Sandy & Theresa - Thank you for verifying that I'm not alone!! I love that we are all on this creative path that is touching so much more than just our artistic abilities.

    Javi - Hmmm. Um....OF COURSE! :)

  5. An on line friend once told me what her mom told her: "Don´t put it down, put it away". I have found it prevents piles from forming (when I remember ;) ).

    I smiled at the "list of things I have to do before I do what I need to do". It sounded sooooooo familiar. :D

  6. Paula - what wonderful advice! I'm going to start using that one with my kiddos.

    I have a feeling many of us are in the to-do-prior-to-to-do least we aren't alone! :)

  7. Lisa, this was such an amazing post! I want to do this, too. I am so tired of piling crap on top of crap and putting things till tomorrow. Then when tomorrow gets here, I put it off until tomorrow again. And again. You get the picture. Many things on the list actually never get done. You are so right that "right now" is the only time that exists. If we can just retrain the way we think, it would help. I hope you will continue to share what you are learning about this. I think it would help the rest of us tremendously.

  8. i totally understand this post as i imagine most mom's do. our lives get so cluttered up with "things". those things really end up taking up time (some were even bought to be time savers... lol). i have also made the choice to not buy stuff anymore. it's hard. when i'm in a store and see something "i have to have" i pick it up and think, "will this end up in a garage sale?" usually the answer is yes. so i put it down.

    i have found that the piles in the corners get smaller and smaller the less stuff i bring home. i'm loving that side effect!

    of course there is always more to do. but like you i am choosing my battles and drawing the lines. so i have time to live. that's really so much more important. living.

  9. Hello? Are you my lost twin (also named Lisa?) Yeah, I so know your pain! I have periods when I am more on top of things and then backslide ...

    One "habit" that I try to maintain (it's not a habit yet) is "don't put things down, put them away." Yikes, the mail can take hours it seems with sorting, shredding, recycling ... but if I do it Now then it doesn't become an overwhelming pile.

    And when I feel like I don't have enough time for everything, that is my messages to SLOW DOWN ... do one thing at a time ... pay attention ... and, gulp, get up earlier. Getting up early is not easy and it means i am tired in the afternoon but that also means I am more ruthless about mindfully using my energy in ways that nourish me. I become more selective about how i manage my time when i get tired.

    But yeah, is it crazy how my fun projects can take on this insistent urgency - like a friend is coming in for a visit and how will i get to my Artistic Mother project? (never mind the zillions of comments on Flying lessons!)

    Okay ... breathe ... relax ... be ... doing one thing now ...

    Thanks for this reminder! (and looking forward to transforming with you this summer!)

    xo Lis

  10. Lisa, You didn't know about Cedar Bluffs? It is VERY near our house! Come out and I'll take you there. FOR REAL. It is a bit of a challenging hike.
    You sound as if you are doing well, forgiving yourself. Which you have to do. My house is a wreck and the only kids I have are dug, Chelsea & 2 kittrs cats. }}sigh{{
    I know that to stay on top of it, you have to do it EVERY DAY. SIGH. Which- I. Don't. Feel. Like!
    xo, Cheryl

  11. You are my poster girl for upcoming ORDER week. I can not even begin to tell you how much this post resonated with me. I know this. Now is all we got but it always seems easier to live as if the tomorrows somehow hold more then the small nows we see. I will play with you! That toy by the chair is going home... the mat from the bathroom which inexplicably found its way to the living room is NOT staying there any more!!! Thank you for the inspiration... My next now is a trip to the farm with my girl!

  12. Hey Lisa! Thanks for the kind words on my blog. Yep--I think it's easier to procrastinate, but the "stuff" never really goes away, so why not deal with it sooner rather than later? Great post!