Painting and Housework as Meditation

Painting is like meditation...

Painting IS a meditation!

I have spent the last few days painting walls, with a few more left to do...

This morning, as a new basement door and storm door were being installed, I took a few moments to carefully inspect the painted walls and note the spots I had missed earlier this week, as I mentally reflected on my work.

What I realized, as I painted, is that I am attracted to this endeavor because of its meditative qualities. It is an activity that is solitary, and one which requires both practice and concentration, if one is to become "better" at it.

Earlier in the week, when I began the project of painting the upstairs hallway, I did not know if I would complete it in a day. And it did not matter. I gave myself totally and wholeheartedly to the task at hand.

Later on the second day of painting, I posted this as my status on Facebook:


"If you concentrate and surrender, you are in the flow and become one with the painting and what is being painted. There is no sense of time, and no judging and no other thoughts... If you let go of concentration or focus on the time - you become sloppy, and make mistakes. Surrendering in painting reminds me of kayaking. You have to go with the flow, and surrender to the river, becoming one with its rhythms... Then you dance with the water and become one with all...

What else is there?"
 


As the afternoon progressed, I realized I could complete my project by late afternoon. And then, unconsciously, I started to hurry. And so I became more sloppy. I made mistakes. I stopped surrendering to the moment and to the process. I was no longer in the flow... Instead, I allowed myself to be held captive to the clock and my desire to beat it.

Yet earlier, I had painted much more slowly, deliberately and methodically. I did not have to tape edges, but mindfully and with great concentration and a small brush, I was able to paint edges and borders with a very steady hand - mostly my right hand - but sometimes my left - before filling in the rest with a roller.

Meditation is a process, but most of all, it is a journey. And painting is a metaphor for the practice of meditation in my life.

All of my housework is at times a meditation. And when I allow it to be, and I surrender to it all, putting my love and presence and mindfulness into every moment - it becomes a blessing which not only touches my life - but those lives that I serve as well... When I seek to make my hearth and home beautiful and attend to its many tasks, I serve those under my roof...

"Let me be your servant."

It is a prayer I have prayed so often...

I may not be called to do great works as St. Jeanne de Chantal and Mother Teresa of Calcutta both observed, but I can always do small things with great love. I can offer up every act with love. As a meditation...

With each stroke of a paint brush, I glorify God with all my existence. And with my gifts.

With every brush stroke, I give thanks for the walls which give me shelter, and for the livelihood and the husband who provides for it all.

With every application of color and hue, I cleanse and purify my soul, my house, my relationships, and my love - making all things new...

This is my life...

I will not rest until every act and every breath becomes a meditation - whether it is cleaning all the toilets and bathrooms as I did today - or mending, cooking, or praying for all those souls entrusted to my care...

It is the process of being and becoming that matters... And someday, when I look back, perhaps I can say that I have become a better person.

What else is there?

Comments

Anna Van Fleet said…
My mom's coming to visit this weekend and I have a great deal of housework to do! At my best, I can offer it in the spirit you suggest. Thanks for the reminder.

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