|AnnaliseArt via Pixabay|
Not related, you say? That's what I said, too.
Until one morning earlier this week. Bear with me, and I'll take you there.
When you write a book about organization, the topic tends to infiltrate your life. I pride myself on devising neat, efficient ways of doing things and, once I get a system up and running, I want Easy Upkeep (the E in STYLE) to kick in. When other people mess with my system and I have to redo things the way I like them, I get cranky because, first of all, it slows me down and second of all, re-doing something I'd already set up in a workable way feels like a waste of time.
Which brings me to laundry. I have a thing about hangers being stored in such a way that I can grab a hanger one-handed while holding an item of clothing to be hung in the other hand. When someone (and I'm not naming any names here) comes along and squashes all the hangers together, that simple task becomes impossible. I have to put down the damp item of clothing, untangle the hangers and resume my task, which has now taken three times as long. Not only that, but it begins a whole "why do people have to mess with my systems?" monologue in my head, which was already engaged in a more productive monologue about the multitude of things I'd do when I finished hanging up the laundry.
I hear all of you laid-back, laundry-room-on-the-first-floor folks tsking me and shaking your heads. And I can't say you're wrong. In the scheme of things, it's not that big a deal. I mean, it's a hanger, right?
But the hanger is a symptom, not the problem. When I go down to the basement to do one of the (seemingly endless) steps in a laundry-related task, I'm often interrupting something else to do said task. I want to get in, get it done, and get back to business as soon as possible. I do not want to wrestle with hangers, move wayward laundry baskets or find that some other helpful person has left a load of clothes in the dryer. All of these tasks add unnecessary obstacles, ranging from the minuscule to the downright annoying -- obstacles that I must clear before I can get back to whatever it was I was doing before laundry so rudely interrupted my life.
Earlier this week, as I was muttering to myself about someone messing with my hangers, I heard myself. Anxious (as usual) to complete the laundry task before me as quickly as possible, I was allowing myself to get all bent out of shape over a molecule in a drop of water in a wave in the ocean.
I'd read on more than one occasion about doing tasks, even -- and perhaps especially -- the most mundane ones, in a mindful fashion. Turning off the endlessly looping "gotta do this next" tape, focusing on the simplicity of the task itself, and, perhaps, taming my mind in the process.
So I tried it. And it actually worked.
Oh, I still had to rearrange all the hangers and complete what I'd set out to do before adding the massive task of hanger rearrangement to my burgeoning to-do list but instead of doing it with gritted teeth and muttered accusations, I just, you know, did it. I focused on the moving and the folding and the hanging and, in short order, a rhythm developed.
And it was soothing. It bore no tension or accusations, and freed my mind to unclench. This was surprising in no small part because I hadn't realized that my mind had been clenched, let alone that it could even do something like that in the first place.
If this were a fairy tale, it would end with me happily hanging laundry à la Cinderella, with chirping birds and sunny skies, a song in my heart and life in a castle on the horizon.
|Life-of-Pix via Pixabay|
But if I have to do laundry in the first place, maybe it's not such a bad idea to do it with my mind
unclenched. After all, the best ideas come when our minds are open enough to welcome them. I am, for example, open to the idea of relocating our laundry room to the ground floor of our house.
But that's another story.