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The Barefoot family live an easy, relaxed life together playing, pottering and doing whatever feels right at the time!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Hand wash cold

I've tried hard to find pleasure in the daily tasks of keeping a home. I've read Karen Maezen Miller 'Hand wash cold' in the hope that this would inspire me somehow. I signed up to the Flylady daily blinks which have tips for keeping on top of your house. I did the Goddess Haven E-course on the Goddess Circle & had a nice corner in a room for a short while that I could focus on and enjoy (it didn't last long sadly).
Still not there though.
I quite enjoy it when it's not essential, when I'm doing it because I have time and I want to. Such as hanging out the washing. I've loved that since I first started doing my own washing. Early in the morning before there is anyone else around I have a quiet, peaceful five minutes where I contemplate nothing but the folds in the sheets and the positioning of the pegs on the line. This little job brings about exactly the mood and tranquil, accepting state Karen describes. From my poorly designed little old terrace the washing blowing in the breeze is one of the few things to glimpse in the garden whilst sat inside. Not satisfied with enjoying hanging it out often I then watch it as it sways and ripples in the sun and constant gentle fen winds. Now I just need to find a way of the hoovering, washing up, cleaning of tables and scrubbing of sinks to bring about the same peaceful, zen like state.
I've kind of accepted that I won't get that vibe going though until the children are older. When the tasks seem a little less on a loop, when the sheer mess made by their existence just pauses for breath occasionally! We're still at the phase where by the time I've wiped a worktop there's a spillage on a floor to mop. I know older children hold their own on the adding to mess front but surely it's not quite the same porridge on a chair cushion, crayon on a mirror and toilet roll shredded around the house? Please tell me that's not forever?

Still. I try not to moan and do my best at looking dutiful and neutral as I go. Hopefully the children will accept it all as part of being part of our household and like me, mutter under their breath as they scrub 'think zen think zen'.


  1. I hear you mama. my friend Viv printed this out for me once and it was pinned up by the sink before we repainted and it got lost! anyway....

    The Zen of Housework

    I look over my own shoulder
    down my arms
    to where they disappear under water
    into hands inside pink rubber gloves
    moiling among dinner dishes.

    My hands lift a wine glass,
    holding it by the stem and under the bowl.
    It breaks the surface
    like a chalice
    rising from a medieval lake.

    Full of the grey wine
    of domesticity, the glass floats
    to the level of my eyes.
    Behind it, through the window
    about the sink, the sun, among
    a ceremony of sparrows and bare branches,
    is setting in Western America.

    I can see thousands of droplets
    of steam -- each a tiny spectrum -- rising
    from my goblet of grey wine.
    They sway, changing directions
    constantly -- like a school of playful fish,
    or like the sheer curtain
    on the window to another world.

    Ah, grey sacrament of the mundane.


    If that doesn't help, there's always the simple pleasure of sitting on top of the washing machine on the spin cycle.... ;-)

  2. I like this one even more.....

    Nightfall I sink
    into dishwash meditation :

    steaming china prayer wheels
    crystalline bells of a lost horizon

    breathing slows
    din and lull of running water from crockery mandalas

    moist heat muscles soften
    zen poems drip from silverware

    air hums out a chanting
    cleansing melody

    washing the frantic stew of a day
    down the drain along with the suds

    those transient rainbow things
    thin skin of the passing instant.