When I feel scattered, one of my favorite remedies is a combination of ironing clothes while listening to Bach. I think there have been studies of baroque music that "prove" it helps re-order the neural network. I might be making that up. However, it works for me. The precision of the notes and rhythms, the beauty of the melodies, always helps me come back into a place of relative balance. I love Mozart, too.
And yes, I love ironing. I don't expect many people to understand this. Watching the wrinkles disappear is pleasing. I like the sound of the steam, too. That shhhhhhh sound is soothing. It's not rocket science, doesn't require a monumental effort, though it's important to pay attention. It's a simple discipline, time honored. Afterwards, my linen shirts look like a million dollars.
For many years I had an iron I found on the street. It worked perfectly well or so I thought. But after I had to replace all my clothing last summer, I bought a new iron, a ritual offering to honor my brand new clothes. My iron isn't the fanciest, nor the nicest, but OH, what a difference! The new iron is a dream compared to the junk iron I used for so long. I love my iron!
There are a lot of people out there who no longer attend to household chores. Someone else cleans their houses, someone else cooks their meals, takes care of their kids, walks their dogs, does their gardening and ironing, too. I know folks are busy, but I think it's a shame. Tending to simple tasks is an excellent discipline and brings a lovely, personal energy into the home, also into the heart of the person doing the chores. Tending is a way of expressing gratitude for all the wonders and blessings of life.
In every fairy tale, the heroine is the one who does the housework. A mean stepmother makes her cook, clean and tend the fire while her sisters are couch potatoes and may I say, not very nice people. Sitting on the couch all day does not make these stepsisters any nicer. At the end of these tales, the heroine is - of course - much more competent than her sisters. She becomes strong and beautiful through the work, and it is she who ends up with the handsome prince.
Even those with ridiculously busy lives should carve out time to do something - cook a meal every now and then, or clean the bathroom, sweep the floor. I swear we as a society would be calmer if everyone picked up their own dirty socks, dusted the living room, polished the silver. Household chores are a meditation - or - they can be.
Getting ready for Indianapolis has me somewhat scattered, I'll admit. This morning, I decided to listen to Glenn Gould's Bach variations while ironing. It was a lot of fun. I even ironed my cloth napkins. I was really getting into it. Now my head feels clearer, free of wrinkles. This is a good thing.
Laugh at me if you want, I don't mind. Tell me there's a better way to spend a hot summer morning.
I love my iron.