Everyday Zen

I find myself doing these little activities around the house that just make me feel very calm. Unexpectedly calm. They may sound odd, because they’re not thought of as things which would give that feeling. One of them is only satisfying during the last step, and gross during the rest of the task. The other is enjoyable throughout. I got to thinking more and trying to figure out why they make me feel this way. I think I have.

They are two tasks that fall into what I would consider everyday zen in my current existence. I have a huge family with so many tasks and routines. Some of those are tedious and just have to be done, but some have a real quality to them. Making coffee would fall into that second group, but there’s a whole post coming dedicated to that.

The first task is cleaning our cat’s litter box. This is the one that is gross for the first steps; scooping the waste and sifting it down to just the parts to place into a black dog poop” bag to throw out in the waste can. The last step, though, is great! Smoothing the litter out, sometimes adding a bit of fresh litter first, is amazing. I feel like one of those zen sand artists for those mere 30-45 seconds. I find it so satisfying and mentally clearing.

The second is trimming off the new growth of shrubs we have in our front yard. This is something I do as often as I notice the new shoots coming up from the bottom. I trim them so that we have a clear view under the shrubs, but with the top full and acting as a bit of privacy screening for the front windows and porch. Trimming that new growth is so enjoyable. I do with with hand lopping shears. It is my everyday zen version of trimming a bonsai tree. I could see myself one day having a bonsai of my own that I meticulously groom and have reverence for the process. Until then, this is my suburban busy dad equivalent.

Finding your everyday zen tasks and routines is a cool process. I’d love to hear about what things give others the same type of feelings I describe above.

P.S. My mom’s everyday zen is folding clean and warm fresh-out-of-the-dryer clothes.

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zen   life  
2024 Apr·06

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