Dirty laundry

I have these fantasies sometimes that every bit of laundry is clean and put away exactly where it belongs. I did accomplish it once, a few years back, it was really bizarre knowing that only the clothes on my families backs were not quite pristine. It was a great lesson of impermanence as showers would again be taken sullying up towels and clothes tossed to the floor with dirty socks stolen as treasures by one of my dogs, hidden in the far reaches of every corner of my house.

I set it as a goal after seeing the Dalai Lama speak about compassion. Someone in the audience asked how we could ever get world peace. The Dalai Lama laughed and said, it’s impossible! However, he then got quiet and said, it’s too overwhelming to think so globally, but that we could make these changes in ourselves. Start be cleaning your own house, one dirty sock at a time.

I enjoyed the process as a symbolic effort to find more peace in my own life and microcosm of world I live in. Don’t get me wrong, it was great, for that brief moment that I conquered it all, but my youngest daughter came home from school with chocolate syrup dripped down the front of her clothes, and I’m pretty sure my son had not yet discovered that napkins have a purpose. My big dog has a penchant for rolling in any other animal dung at the least opportune times as well, Luna wants to blend with nature I think. I couldn’t control any of those things, and if I tried to beyond all else, I’m pretty sure the anxiety and angst I would exude would override any aspect of calm peaceful clean laundry.

I had the flu recently, and a horrific side effect was a gross accumulation of laundry among other things. I’m catching up with all of it now. Certainly I had some annoyance with feeling like no one else in the house was picking up the slack, and I very well could have gone off into a tailspin of woe is me, and the usual, I am not your slave bit, but my family all works pretty hard. I did get hugs and tea delivered bedside by my loves. I’d much rather that, than a whole pile of clean linens if I had to choose.

It’s the end of school year mayhem, oldest back home from college with all her massive stuff, finals, concerts, papers, tryouts for next years sports among the regular routine for the two at home and my hubby running his own business and his usual chores. (he grocery shops for me and I hate shopping more than anything!)

I find that when I’m in a rut of any sort it’s easy to start criticizing everyone else, much easier than looking inside at what I could do. That’s the hard part, isn’t it? How do we clean up our own dirty laundry without flipping the judgement switch and turning on compassion instead? I’m pretty sure that’s what the Dalai Lama meant. Work hard, enjoy the process, rest and let it go when you have to, but get back on the path and own it, forgive and move on.

As with asana, sometimes when I first have seen a new posture or tried one, I have thought, no way, it’s just not happening. But, I’ve learned to add to that, I can’t do that….yet. I can’t say with any certainty that I will master a single more asana again, but who knows, there have already been many that I was sure would never be in my repertoire but now I can do. Having compassion doesn’t make it less dynamic or less challenging, but drawing on that while trying does make it more satisfying, even when I fail. Sometimes the answer is to let it all go, briefly, but that doesn’t mean to stop trying and start blaming. So I try. Now, more laundry:-)


Lessons of impermanence

Everyday as I walk back from practice, I see different families taking care of their homes, sweeping and watering down their front walkways and driveways. There is always a new layer of accumulated daily dust and the debris of nature. For many here in southern India, that early morning routine also contains the ritual of a new kolam design. Done as a welcoming symbol of good intentions for the day. These geometric and artistic symbols are made by the women of the household, and usually taught, from mother to daughter.

Traditionally they are made with rice flour or sandstone powder, though some women now use chalk sticks. The daily designs range from simple to complex, done in white. The more colorful rangolis kolam designs are saved for holidays and special occasions. I truly appreciate the love and pride of home, as well as the lesson of letting go for the elements to wash away the kolam, just to start fresh, a new dawn, a new day, a new design. Here is a sampling of yesterday’s









“Nothing endures but change.” Heraclitus