Thankful for the Mundane
Many of us dread the duties that come with having a household; cleaning, laundry, dishes, groceries, etc. Though your duties may vary, the one thing we likely have in common is the dread and displeasure for performing them. We may be elated for the weekend to arrive, but quickly groan at the reminder of that ever growing mountain of laundry that needs to be sorted, washed, folded and put away. How easily it can feel like the mundane drudgery of our existence; shackled to them for life.
So why on earth should we be thankful such chores you may ask? Well, it means that we are fortunate enough to have a house and home to take care of. Our efforts of going to work day in and day out means that we get the pleasure of enjoying the creature comforts we have worked hard for.
If we chose to be thankful for such mundane acts, we may come to appreciate them in a new light. Have you heard the saying that you shouldn’t cook if you're angry because it will spoil the food? What people have always known, but may not have had the words for, is that negative emotion is energy that can affect the food. If we take such care to be mindful of our emotions when we cook a tasty meal, why not apply it to our other chores?
Leo Babauta from Zen Habits talks about living a life of gratitude because it:
- Reminds you of the positive things in your life
- Turns bad things into good things
- Reminds you of what’s important
- Reminds you to thank others
Leo goes on to share how we can adopt a stance of gratitude in our lives with the following suggestions:
- Morning gratitude session – begin the day with giving thanks for someone or something in your life
- Say thank you in person to someone who does something for you
- Call to thank someone who did something for you
- Give thanks for “negative” things in your life like having a job you dislike, which pays for your livelihood
- Learn a gratitude prayer – either make up your own or search for ones on the internet
Unbeknownst to me, I was beginning to utilize Leo’s fourth suggestion of being thankful for negative things. It started with being thankful for having dishes to wash. Yes it sounds crazy, but I appreciated having dishes that held food which fed me. That simple act made the job that much easier and less like a pain.
Applying this same thankful act to other chores really changed my mindset and actually humbled me. Though I may not sing and dance for the joy of doing them, it made me realize how fortunate I am for having things to care for which make my life possible and pleasant.
If being thankful for the mundane is a bit too much to start with, try telling a loved one that you grateful to know them. You have nothing to lose; only good feelings to gain and joy shared.
Until next time, rediscover the little things in your life.