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After Enlightenment, The Laundry

January 24, 2014 - Jen Zbozny
After enlightenment, the laundry. It's a Zen proverb. It has ripple effect interpretations. In one sense the proverb implies that even in our most profound, most centered, truly alive moments, we still have chores. Sooner or later, no matter how groovy you are, you need clean trousers. In another it implies we should center our priorities on the real meaning and beauty of this life and worry about daily tasks second. Yet, sooner or later it becomes impossible to go open up your chakras or whatever, if you don't have clean yoga pants, right?

It's a fine proverb to puzzle over and toss about in your head. Sometimes its the series of simple tasks in our lives that provide the structure that frees us from living from crisis to crisis. Sometimes the most blessed part of the day is sitting still, folding laundry while watching a movie in the softly clicking-clock, clean-floor, stillness of our homes after all the children are tucked safely in bed. Sometimes even the laundry provides enlightenment.

Today the weather provided enlightenment. It was so cold it wanted to bite off my pinky toe and so bright there were shards of sunlight in my teeth. The light attacked my kitchen and dining room floors, showing me how much the hard wood needed some attention. Ugh. Who wanted to do that today? But here's the surprise. To clean my floors, first I make the floor cleaner. Then sweep, and vacuum, and finally apply elbow grease with the floor cleaner and the micro-fiber cloth. You know what happened? I remembered I bought peppermint oil at Christmas. Candy-cane smell lights up my whole soul for some reason. It probably has to do with a scratch and sniff book I had as a little girl. My beloved Nan gave it to me. It had a candy-cane scent that sets me right back to arm-flapping, spinning around, innocent 6 year old.

So I put peppermint oil into the floor cleaner. Then I couldn't wait to clean these floors. They shined and I shined with them and now I'm enjoying the zen that comes with a job well done and the happiness from that smell that sticks to me like an impossible bit of candy cane in a kid's pocket.

Enlightenment indeed.

In case you want to make your own zen floor cleaner, here's my recipe.

2 Cups of warm water

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

A few drops of your favorite essential oil. I highly recommend peppermint. If you use it though, expect me to come over and be all giddy, like a crazy happy puppy.

It's important you keep the proportions as indicated since too much vinegar can dull the finish of your hard wood. Pour it into a squirt bottle and go to town with your microfiber cleaner. Don't soak your floors though, your wood will warp. A slightly damp cloth or a few squirts on the floor and a micro-fiber covered mop should take care of it!

Next stop, laundry, of course! Do you think I can get away with making my family wear peppermint scented clothes when I make the laundry soap? Hm..


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