Monday, November 26, 2012

Sacred Domesticity

You could chalk it up to the stars I was born under. Cancerian/Moonchildren are known to love their homes dearly, though some could call it a simlple, albeit minor case of agoraphobia. I myself just relish the warm and snug feeling of my home. One would imagine that as much as I love my home, homemaking would be my easiest and finest joy. Well, it When I was younger it was not, not by a long shot. In my early days of motherhood I lacked the skills and the balance to raise children and keep a tidy home. Since I could not do both, I focused on raising my children because as the poem goes:

"The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep."

That was my story then. And it made sense, but there were many times thankfully where I could get my house in order, especially as my children grew older. But truth be told, I never reached the level of 'domestic goddess'. Oh, without a doubt I wanted to, but work outside the home and/or the stresses of life could overwhelm me in such a way that I would become paralyzed by the mere thought of dusting. My heart would ache and my mind become depressed when my home would be in disarray.  Try as I might, I could not find my rhythm. I tried every housekeeping tip I could find, read all the time management books, I even attempted to follow the wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, mend on Wednesday...rhythm but to no avail. 

One of the things I particularly enjoyed doing after I did finally have my home clean and in order was to light candles and sometimes incense.  I would sit satisfied in the  soft light, breathing in the heady aromas and feel the pride of a job well done.  I came to realize this was a signal to me of my ritual of cleaning. I began to wonder if I reversed the process, would I attain the same results. I began to light candles before  I would clean, even if I was just doing dishes. I would pause for a second and think or say aloud, "I am going to clean my home." I found I had the motivation now to do it, and even more than motivation I felt a sacredness now to my work. It was more than just house cleaning, it felt like I was creating a sacred space, and that space was my home. 

Last evening, I washed the play silks my students enjoy in the classroom. They had finished line drying and I folded them to take them back to school. But as I folded and looked at the wrinkled, careless fabric I decided to iron them. I pulled out the iron and before I set my hand to the task, I lit a candle. I began to iron each silk and as I watch the heat from the iron magically remove every wrinkle I thought of my students and found myself directing energy and love to them and to my classroom. I found myself praying for my own life, hoping the wrinkles of my life will be smoothed out gently (and on low heat). I realized once again the sacredness and spirituality of the simple, day to day, domestic duties. 

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1 comment:

  1. I have been ironing my linen napkins of late, but not with any pleasure other than the resulting crisp cloth. Perhaps by candle-light, if I can have it done before 4:05 Friday afternoon! Otherwise, the iron is not my friend...


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