Monday, March 25, 2013

How to make your bed!

A few years ago, whilst we watched our children play in a park, I chatted with a friend about home life and the levels of chaos we could cope with.  I said a hectic family life felt manageable if my kitchen was clean and tidy, a messy kitchen didn't bother my friend, to cope she needed an orderly bedroom.

It sounds silly, but I was distinctly unsettled by this.  How she could cope coming back to a messy kitchen and have to get a meal ready?  Or be at home and be able to get on with anything knowing there were dishes in the sink? She just commented that an unmade bed unsettled her more than a messy kitchen.

We all have our different triggers - the things that set of alarm bells of stress and anxiety.  For me a messy kitchen can make me feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. For my friend an unmade bed left her feeling ungrounded and unsettled.  However, for all of us the real solution is to develop a practise that gives us the skills to handle whatever life offers us. Karen Maezen Miller, a Zen Buddhist priest and author, is also a wife, mother and home-maker.  I love her 10 tips for a Mindful Home - simple but powerful guidelines for making any space you are in sacred - and home.

10 tips for a Mindful Home

Wake with the sun
There is no purer light than what we see when we open our eyes first thing in the morning.

Mindfulness without meditation is just a word.

Make your bed
The state of your bed is the state of your head.  Enfold your day in dignity.

Empty the hampers
Do the laundry without resentment or commentary and have an intimate encounter with the very fabric of life.

Wash your bowl
Rinse away self-importance and clean up your own mess.  If you leave it undone, it will get sticky.

Set a timer
If you're distracted by the weight of what's undone, set a kitchen timer and, like a monk in a monastery, devote yourself wholeheartedly to the task at hand until the bell rings.

Rake the leaves
Rake, weed or sweep.  You'll never finish for good, but you'll learn the point of pointlessness.

Eat when hungry
Align your inexhaustible desires with the one true appetite.

Let the darkness come
Set a curfew on the internet and TV and discover the natural balance between daylight and darkness, work and rest.

Sleep when tired
Nothing more to it.

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