I don’t like cleaning. Never have. I’ve always felt, even as a child faced with a list of chores, that there were so many other more important, interesting things to do with my time. I think that one of the sweetest times in my relationship with household cleaning was when for a few years, money was abundant and I hired someone to come in and clean for me on a weekly basis.
But something interesting has been shifting for me in the last year. I’ve been learning about stewardship through my spiritual practices and its been quite revolutionary.
I’ve read many Zen Buddhist writings about the importance of presence in whatever you do. This to relates to cleaning. There is no act that is insignificant, and all acts lead to a meditation in presence if you show up for it.
Earlier this year I attended an intensive with one of my spiritual teachers, Parvathi Nath, in which she spoke about Stewardship as it related to a specific Dakini. She said something that so resonated with me in terms of my home space and my kitchen in particular. She said, “What you clean, you know. And what you know and give attention to, you give value to. ”
This added such a powerful dimension to the keeping of a home sanctuary for me. Yes, I have always known that cleaning anything is a beautiful meditation in presence, but the notion of knowing… this was rich for me.
It made me think about the act of becoming intimate with each of my kitchen tools as I cleaned them, cared for them. It also made me think about learning every square inch of the kitchen, particularly in my situations, when I’m living such a nomadic life and the kitchen I may have this year isn’t the kitchen I will have next year, let alone, next month.
It also, even now as I write this, makes me look at this resistance I have to cleaning. It’s a carelessness. A lack of care.
I remember in the very beginnings of my relationship with Jon, we had struck a deal, that I would do all the cooking and he would do the clean up. It took a couple of times for him to stop and inform me that every time I cooked, I made the kitchen look like I had used every single pan, dish and utensil in the kitchen! And it was true, but I simply looked at him and exclaimed, “I’m an artist! Mine is not to clean, it is to create!” Have I mentioned that I have a propensity for the dramatic? Yes, well… moving along.
Over the course of our almost 7 year relationship, I have learned to clean as I go which goes a long way towards getting help with the clean up afterward, let me tell you!
The new layer revealing itself to me now, however, is that I’m the Priestess of this domain. By that I mean, that there is an ownership, responsibility and full engagement that has been lacking in me with regards to the kitchen hearth, in which I make the food that sustains me and mine. And this realization leads to a very different approach to my cleaning, because now its about stewardship.
This space is mine to care for, keep, and know… fully. Its a powerful act of magic to care for something with your hands like this. And as I continue to make food for myself in this little foreign kitchen that belongs to another, I’m feeling a deeper sense of authority, presence and alchemy with my food.
So my Food Practice lovelies, I want to hear from you. What are you thoughts on looking at kitchen cleaning as a practice in stewardship? Have you ever thought about this way before? How do you feel and think about cleaning your kitchen? Share share share!
“Let kitchen work no longer be a chore, but a blessing that brings you peace and healing. Look for and find joy in every aspect of cooking, not just in serving and eating – yes, even in washing the lettuce and the cleaning up afterward”
*psst! That lovely up there cleaning a pot is none other then Sanam of My Persian Kitchen