Zen and the Art of Dusting

There are spectacular moments in my life when I have had near sacred, transcendent experiences that give me a glimpse into what it must be like to be a housekeeping goddess. They are rare those moments: when the stainless steel pot gleams, when there’s not a speck on the floor after vacuuming, when the mirrors reflect an easy, wonderful image of their surroundings that whisper, “yes, you are seeing clearly, because I, Mirror, am clean.”

Through sheer willpower, and a growing appreciation for how easier life is when there’s some semblance of order and cleanliness, I have overcome some aspects of my upbringing to accomplish feats of magic to keep the house clean, to stay on top of laundry, do dishes within 24 hours, navigate flextime for electricity use; eat, cook and shop in a healthy manner, keep the porch and two yards neat, dogs walked and fed, bird played with, fed, hair and feathers and nails trimmed.  In short, domestic goddess. But not really.

I don’t much like it, housekeeping.  If I was a goddess, I’d have someone to do it for me. Although I did for a while, and you know, I cleaned up before she came over.

What prevents me from getting my goddess credentials is my aversion to dusting.

I hate dusting.

It makes me sneeze. And it never ends.  Not like you do it and it’s done forever. The world’s dust factories are waiting to send more and more dust bugs and particles over the minute one is displaced in my house.

I tried NOT dusting.  But wispy, alien life forms started multiplying in strange corners of the house and since I don’t like uninvited alien life forms in my house, not to mention the thought of dust mites (EEEW) I knew I couldn’t keep that up.

I was reading some Zen stuff, about being with the doing and thought I would try that: I would make my dusting a discipline of being in the now.

Every time my attention wandered, or wanted to follow a dust molecule to see where it might land, I pulled my mind back: dust here, dust now.

<Sneeze here, sneeze now>

It is working … somewhat.  It is not a hate I feel toward dusting now, but an acceptance of a thing that needs to be done and if I do it, I will have done it, it will be done even as I know that the dust factories will deliver their product when I’m not looking and I have to do it all over again tomorrow.

And my dusting has improved:  I dust gently with smooth moves, artistically dusting with the microcloth, gathering up ALL the dust and sharing my Zen energy with the cement and well-dusted statue of a serene looking Zen monk.

I don’t know if that’s dusting in a Zen-like fashion, but I am happy to proclaim a truce. I can now and forever dust with no resistance to dusting. <Sneeze here, sneeze now>


About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween.
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2 Responses to Zen and the Art of Dusting

  1. ValerieD says:

    Transcend into a housekeeping goddess? Ooooh I like that…
    What other goddesses can you transcend to, if you put you lovely focused mind to it?? 😉

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