Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Zen Chores

Sometimes activities that are necessary can be enjoyable. Simple things – like cleaning my skates, vacuuming, or chopping vegetables are a nice time to let the mind wander.

Tonight it was skates. Wheels off and cleaned. Bearings wiped. One drop of sewing machine oil for each (yay Singer!). Wheels swapped from one skate to the other.

There is a certain Zen-like feel to the process. Well, for me, anyway. I like the rhythm of repetition. Remove the wheels, pop the bearings. Clean the bearings. Line them up on the coffee table in orderly rows. Add a drop of oil. Reassemble the wheels. Test the skates. Clean up after the clean up.

The whole time, Moose was eyeballing the process like he just wanted to chew my pretty blue indoor wheels to bits. (Except when I was skating around afterward and he was busy trying to disappear into the couch.) He’s already done some specialty design work chewing on several combs, which now have teeth pointing in several directions all crazy-like, or gone altogether. Note to self: Remember to guard skates carefully.

I get the same mental state when mowing the lawn. Walk, walk, walk, (20+ paces). Pivot. Turn. Walk, Walk, walk … Mind clearing with the first couple strips.

Bicycling used to be an amazing tool for clearing my head, although I haven’t done it in a couple years (in spite of having bought that nice new road bike). Time to get back on it. Pedal, pedal, pedal …

Skating can send me into a nice space, once I find my rhythm. Push, push, push, cross, cross. Sometimes it takes me a while to get it into a groove, but when I finally find it, it’s great.

Other things that help clear my head: Ironing! This was a profitable endeavor when I was in college. I would do my mom’s ironing (which I enjoyed), and she would pay me to do the chore she hated. It was a partnership made in heaven.

Writing can clear my head, too. It seems weird, as most of the other things that work are more physical in nature. Once I get past my frustrating and terrible typing skills, I can get in the zone and be writing about one thing while kinda sorta thinking about something else in the background.

If only all of life was that simple -- get in the zone, enjoy the task, and move on to the next. Or maybe it is and I just don’t see it. Maybe I should go mow the lawn and mull it over.

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