Washing the Baby Buddha: The Sacred Tasks of Daily Living
I can get dizzy with all of the daily tasks of living.
Like, literally, dizzy.
I spin around in circles - from the empty toilet paper roll to the change on the floor to yesterday's unpacked bags.
All while demands are piling up: text message alerts, my children's constant and urgent needs for snacks and the dog who just threw up on the carpet.
Can you relate?
How do you find a place of calm in all of this?
We've all been told to pause and take a deep breath - this helps to queue the nervous system that you are not actually about to die. And it truly does help you survive your day.
But what if you want to do more than just survive? What if this big ol' mess of life could be YOUR big ol' mess: the life that you chose. Because, when it comes down to it, maybe you WANTED the house that asks a lot of you, you WANTED the children, you WANTED the job you have.
Now if you think some of these things you might not actually want (except the children - those are keepers!), then you may have some life redesigning to do.
But as long as you are voluntarily signed up for it, here are some practices to help you grow and thrive in the chaos:
Remove the urgency. Unless someone just pooped their pants, talk yourself down off the ledge. Little messes here and there are not a matter of life and death. As a wise friend once told me, "A few things out of place is a small price to pay for your happiness."
Do the opposite. Your Inner Drill Sergeant will be put to the test here. But put it all down at least once a day and do something that you purely love to do: snuggle with a child or pet, meditate (if that's your thang), do something you love and focus only on that. Give yourself 5 minutes to break the pattern of frenzy, let your nervous system recoup and touch back in with your True Self.
Do Together. Life is a team sport and your household members are your teammates. But do you ever feel like you are the only one who is doing anything around the house? Sometimes when we are stressed my spouse and I will start keeping a silent score of our contributions, which only leads to competition and resentment. It's in these moments that we have to stop to remind each other "we are on the same team!".
Play a new role. Sometimes it may very well be that you ARE the only one doing anything for your household! It's easy to assume that this is because no one else cares - about the household or about you. But what is exceedingly common is that others aren't helping because they haven't been given enough of a chance! Maybe it's not getting done "fast enough" or "good enough" so you sweep in and do it all yourself.
In order for your household to work together as a team, you have to sit and watch them drop the ball a few times before they get the hang of things and develop their own sense of ownership over their tasks. It takes time but think of it this way: your role isn't to do it all yourself but to hold space for others to bring forward their best Selves (yours included!). It's challenging to watch things pile up, but a few weeks of this is sometimes all is needed to re-calibrate the balance in the household. And believe me, you'll like this role better than the Cinderella one!
It's all sacred. While there may be a lot of things you would rather be doing than washing the dishes, see if you can find the sacred in it. A client once shared with me that when she washes dishes she imagines that she is washing the Baby Buddha - what I can only presume is her own variation of the symbolic ritual of bathing the Buddha. In other words, when we bring loving kindness to each gesture, we can make sacred the tasks of daily living.
As for spinning in circles? Unless you intend to bring intention to your spinning through spiritual practice (as in the sacred whirling dance of Sufism) you may want to get off the ride and start enjoying your life.
Adrienne Cress is a Registered Expressive Arts therapist as well as the parent of two budding creatives. Creativity is her daily spiritual practice. She is all about self expression and she delights in holding space for others to connect with their Inner Artists.
Sign up for the Ladybug News to get sunshine in your inbox!