What I Should do is laundry. What I Want to do is watch hummingbirds and sparrows and geese. And my friend the bald eagle, if I’ve been a good girl and my timing is right.
It’s a slow process. I’m just saying. Laundry and I have only just met. I was not the laundry fairy in my household until recently. I had to call my friends multiple times (but not the same one because wouldn’t that be embarrassing) to ask what temperature corresponded to the spectrum of the rainbow I was about to agitate. But we are developing a relationship, Laundry and I. It’s more off /again than on/again, but we’re making progress. Cultivating a routine. I think we have successful LTR (long-term-relationship) potential. I think my friends and family hope so.
The secret is balance. And space. Lots of space. And patience. Sometimes I get anxious and upset with things, like how long it is taking, or the damn sock thing and I have to take a time out. I have to take a cleansing pranayama breath, and realize that this is about me. I have asked the Maytag to be in a place it’s not ready to be in. I want it to be on spin, but it’s still on rinse. It’s not Maytag’s fault. It is just working through it’s process, genuine to its own nature. I can’t ask a Maytag to be a Ferrari. I must come from a place of Love and let it be what it is. Let it eat the socks it needs for it’s own nourishment. I must see the beauty in its gentle rhythm and unhurried, cleansing process and hear the music in its hum.
I step back. Check in with myself. What do I need right now? What would fulfill me in this Now, that I can give to myself? I remind myself that it is not Laundry’s job to make me happy or content. It can’t do that. It just can’t. The power is within me. I decide I need some bird watching and a cup of adaptogenetic herbal tea. I think holy basil. Or ginseng. And also a blanket because it is raining out here. But when it is, man you should see the colors. There must be a thousand shades of green.
Relaxing with with my calming tea, I look at the clock and realize that I am still in loungewear and it is almost three o’clock. Immediately, my Shoulda Angel starts to harp. It’s like a shoulder angel but is cranky and critical, and every sentence starts with a variant of “should”. You should, you should have, you should’a (which is pretty much just gangster for “should have”)-you get it. It’s more a gremlin really. All cute sitting up there when it’s calm, but feed it a crumb of anxiety or self-loathing and out come the claws.
“You should have gotten much more done today than two loads of darks. Like, for example, get dressed… or maybe indulged an intimate relationship with your toothbrush?” Shoulda Angel has permanent resting bitch face and a voice to match.
So I shush Shoulda, and take stock, of what Laundry and I have accomplished today, through our mutual allowance and respect of each other’s process and timing and needs. Because I must be a good girl (I am, I am I am!), I did see the bald eagle cruising, hunting, high above the mountain. I saw a flock of geese fly upriver, a frenzy of sparrows hunting and playing, a hummingbird drink out of my planter, and ducks. An osprey flew so close to me I could see his eye. I think he winked at me.
In the non-avian realm, I have given closure to a complication, made breakfast for my boys, taken pictures of some rain-kissed flowers, said Hello to an old friend, and had a lovely texting chat with a new one. Oh, and bathed. Oh. And wrote this column. And two loads of darks.
It’s been a charmed day, I decide. I think I’ll ease up on Maytag for a bit. Let him rest. Do his thing. Bird-watching or whatever. Besides, there’s still the folding. I don’t want to strain myself. As I turn the light off in the laundry room, I smile and pat Maytag. Barry Manilow starts singing in my mind. Looks like we made it… his voice rings.
One day at a time.