I understand that dust seems like a crazy topic for a blog. But today I had a delightful experience with dust. Yes, the kind you need to wipe away. And because of that it got me thinking about all kinds of dust that we like: A dusting of snow; dust a sprinkling of confectioners sugar on the waffles or cake or the mocha balls; what about stardust – now that is a lovely image. We even have some stardust in our bodies, according to science. The American Museum of Natural History states: Every atom of oxygen in our lungs, of carbon in our muscles, of calcium in our bones, of iron in our blood – was created inside a star before Earth was born.
What prompted my sudden interest in dust was two-fold:
An article in Lions Roar, thanks to Emma Rooney, who pointed it out, called Do Dishes, Rake Leaves: The Wisdom of the Ancient Homemakers by Karen Maezen Miller (the link is in notes)
An invitation from Emma Rooney today to take ten minutes and mindfully dust something in the room where I was working. Mindful dusting, actually considering what makes up the dust. I didn’t spend much time on that part because I had an amazing experience with the dusting itself. I chose a sideboard in my study that contains several items that I love to look at. As I glance over to it now I see the love of friends gracing this space.
That is the point I wanted to make. Not one item did I buy myself: each item represents a gift, lovingly made and/or purchased that was given to me by a dear friend or family member.
As I picked up each item to dust, I thought of my friend K who painted me a red boat against a beautiful sun on Feb 8, 2008, the day I had my mastectomy. A small collection of Buddha’s of different sizes, from different parts of the world each one carefully chosen by four different people. A longed for gong that was a Christmas gift, decades ago. A small gold box from Japan from my friend S and a lovely Japanese Calligraphy from P. A beautiful and lovingly made card from A for my birthday. This “tree of life” now has a permanent home, where I can see it everyday. And so on.
As I dusted each item and looked closely, remembering when I was given that particular gift, by this beloved friend or family member, it stimulated such a wave of love and gratitude that I am honestly looking forward to Saturday when I will transform from a dust buster to a mindful dust remover who will have the chance to appreciate each thing and each person as I do the dusting. (sorry for the run on sentence) From a chore to a privilege.
I understand this sounds over the top and believe me it won’t last, but for now I am going with it.
Awe and the Ordinary
By now you know I am in awe by ordinary, everyday life. Because that’s where we spend most of our time. I have never liked dusting and since I live with my windows wide open until the storm ones go on, and I am on the third floor of a beautiful old house, I complain that I can’t keep up with the dust. The books don’t help either. So this is an example of what can happen when we shift our attention from the notion of chores to the reality of privilege: I am alive, and able to do what it takes to care for my surroundings. And even that I have surroundings to care for, thanks to so many people. How lucky is that!
Once in awhile it is good to remember this. Thank you Emma for this special lesson in living mindfully today.
Note 1:) American Museum of Natural History
Note 2:) Do Dishes Rake Leaves…
Note 3:) A hearty welcome to all my new October readers. Thank you for subscribing to my blog and stopping by here.
Note 4:) Our last Wed in October. Yikes. Let’s make sure we take the time to do what matters most each day. There are no small things. Warmest wishes and armloads of appreciation, Trudy