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Mindfulness in the Mundane

One "Mother Earth Living" editor found a way to turn dull nightly chores into a mindful ritual full of gratitude. Learn how you can do the same

| September / October 2018

  • Appreciating the mundane moments of life helps you accomplish the small tasks, keep a clean home environment, and feel a sense of accomplishment.
    Photo by Getty Images/ DmitriiSimakov

My partner is a talented cook with a flexible work schedule, so I’m blessed to come home to made-from-scratch meals most evenings. However, not cooking means I’m on dish duty every single night. I recently noticed I had developed a bad attitude around doing dishes. Rather than feeling grateful to come home to these meals infused with my partner’s love for me and his passion for whole, real foods, I would grumble to myself about being stuck with the drudgery of cleaning. Instead of having a delicious meal to show for my hard work, I just had the same dirty dishes, crumb-laden floor, and sticky countertop night after night. I convinced myself that I'd gotten the short end of the stick.

Around this time, I stumbled across advice for how to reintroduce ritual into our lives. I learned that ritual can be as simple as transforming a mundane task into a moment of mindfulness. With this in mind, I created a special ritual for cleaning my kitchen, which has greatly improved my attitude and introduced a scheduled moment of gratitude to my day. I hope the following ritual inspires others to make positive changes around otherwise mundane tasks.

Before I clean a single dish, I put on a kettle for tea. By the time I’m done cleaning, I can make a cup of herbal tea for bedtime reading. It motivates me knowing that I’ll be rewarded for cleaning with this warm drink.

I also diffuse lemon essential oil while cleaning. This oil has been shown to improve mood with its invigorating aroma, and as a bonus, the kitchen feels cleaner when it smells like lemons.

Finally, my mother gifted me with a beautiful handmade broom and dustpan from a vendor at a Mother Earth News Fair. I love the way the sustainable, handcrafted broom feels in my hands. Now, I actually slow down and appreciate the calming motion of sweeping.

When I’m finished cleaning, with tea in hand, I survey my job well done. I give thanks for my warm, clean, well-stocked kitchen, and for the fact that my partner lovingly invests his time and energy into our health.

Koji Dairiki
9/9/2018 12:11:13 AM

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