Mindfulness Activity #186
Mindfulness While Cleaning
Good Morning. I have a love-hate relationship with cleaning. I actually like cleaning and scrubbing, but I hate it when the tasks pile up that the enjoyment goes out of it. That’s a problem for another day though…
Cleaning is a perfect task for mindfulness practice because people have strong feelings about it. It is a great measure of both willfulness and attachment. SO doing a cleaning task (as opposed to doing all your cleaning often involves some complex emotions. Some want to keep going and resent other obligations, some feel annoyed they need to clean up at all. If I am honest, I often experience willfulness in the passive, helpless way at the sheer volume of smelly teenage-boy laundry.
For today’s practice, you will choose one thing to clean (e.g., sweep the floor) or to organize (e.g., one drawer). Choose an amount of time you will clean for and do not finish before your timer or go beyond your timer. Begin with a deep breath. Inhale deeply, noticing the moment your lungs are full, and then exhale.
Now, clean or organize with 100% focus. If judgment arises at how dirty your floor is, notice it, and put your attention back to the actual act of sweeping. Notice the freedom from the chatter in your mind when all your effort is on the action and the senses associated with it. When your timer rings, you might be tempted to keep going. Do not. The goal for this practice is not to do a whole clean-up. The goal is to practice controlling your attention and attachment. If you must clean more today, put a big space between the end of this practice and any more tasks.
When you feel overwhelmed or stressed today, take a breath and focus on organizing or cleaning one thing with complete focus for a minute or two. Do not forget to breathe. You will likely find you return to a more balanced state.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!