The detritus of ordinary life. Dirty dishes in the sink. Shoes I took off and left stranded by the couch. Random paperwork mixed in with magazines I thought I’d read. Bed Bath & Beyond Coupons. Towels from the beach I meant to throw in the laundry. Crap, everywhere.
I wanted to leave all this and go to a monastery where it’s nice and simple and clean and quiet and structured. Where there was nothing but candles and meditation and stillness. Where mindfulness was the rule of the day, and every action, every sweep of the broom…every…Wait a minute. Every sweep of the broom? Yeah. If I really were in a monastery, I wouldn’t be just meditating. I would also be doing chores, whatever was assigned to me. Only, of course, I would have been instructed to do them mindfully, being fully present in every moment.
(The thought came like a little gift.)
I sure had no shortage of chores here. So, me being Tina, and having an imagination and a wardrobe, I dreamed up this game. My Home as Monastery. Went downstairs and donned the brown robe I wore when I apprenticed with Anam Thubten Rinpoche, and began working in my home as though it were for the monastery where Rinpoche, or Thich Nhat Hanh, or the Buddha himself lived.
I really looked at and felt the suds between my fingers as I washed the dishes. I didn’t slam the cupboard doors—I closed them. I didn’t toss the utensils into the drawer—I placed them there. Dishes done, I stopped and looked around me. Without drama or dread or irritation, I addressed each item that was out of place, and put it where it belonged—every step, a gift for my teacher, an offering for the benefit of sentient beings everywhere. I gave myself wholeheartedly to this game, and I don’t know at what point it stopped being a game, but eventually it was my state of being.
Elena came home and the house was so lovely. Everywhere you looked, there was beauty and order and calm. And my demeanor had changed from irritation and dissatisfaction to a quiet contentment. Plus I slept really well, which is rare for me. It was only an hour and a half of my life, but I’m gonna put this little game in my back pocket and pull it out as needed. Or until I fall through the divine trap door and it becomes the only reality there is.