Zen in the Unexpected

I’ve recently found tranquility in unexpected actions and moments.  I am grateful to have learned to recognize and savor these opportunities where I once would have rushed through them.  Hurry-hurry, getting nowhere.

Ironing – Recently Ironing shirts and handkerchiefs for my husband, took me right back to my early adolescence.  One of my chores was to iron my father’s work clothes and handkerchiefs.  He taught me the “proper” way to iron shirts and I still iron them that way today except that I no longer use (or have) a sleeve board.  I find ironing meditative.  Seeing a stack of freshly ironed handkerchiefs and a row of shirts hanging is pleasing.  It’s a task has a clear ending and makes me feel accomplished when I’ve done.

Laundry – specifically folding stackable laundry – towels, washcloths and cloth napkins.  Matching the colors and putting them away in neat stacks just feels good. (Wish I liked to dust – but I don’t.)

Taxes – Each year when I get the receipts from the envelopes where I’ve stashed them by broad categories, I find I get into a zone as I organize them.  Sorting the receipts in sub-categories, then putting them in chronological order, and then typing them in an Excel spreadsheet.  I get into a calm place doing this.  The taxes themselves ain’t pretty but it getting them done gives such a feeling of accomplishment.  (Maybe this year I’ll actually use Quick Books throughout the year.  Maybe…)

Addressing Christmas/Holiday Cards – I love hunting for the cards, hand-addressing them, writing my signature on them (sometimes putting my name first, sometimes putting my name 2nd (after the  &), putting the return labels on them, sealing them and stamping them.  They get done in short sessions over a series of days.  I like saying hello to far flung and nearby relatives and friends some of whom I am only in touch with once a year.  (One cousin and I race to see who will send the first Christmas card.  He beat me this year.)

Taking down the Christmas/Holiday Cards – I just took my holiday cards down today.  Hadn’t taken them down before because I liked feeling surrounded by all the love and positivity they represent.  Taking them down, rereading them, unstringing the apparatus I suspend them from each year, and putting the clips in a bag to be retrieved next year (God-willing) puts me in a calm mood.

Internet Research – I love to track down information by coming up with search titles and looking at various websites.  I love to take a little kernel of info and find the person who someone mentioned or whose name I’ve forgotten.  There is so much information out there and the internet is such an incredible tool.  Recent searches included finding internship opportunities for my niece and tracking down the name of a school and an administrator using only a small nugget that I could remember.  Tranquility!

Solitaire – I have never played solitaire with actual playing cards.  A few years ago, I discovered Spider Solitaire on the computer.  At first I was hooked and spent more time than I liked to admit playing.  Now, it is one of the things I do when I need to have a phone conversation rather than reading email and trying to multitask.  I also do SS when I need a break between writing or responding and have already stretched or taken a short walk.  I do a couple of rounds and then get back to the task at hand.

Slicing and Dicing – There’s something about  peeling them and cutting vegetables that is very meditative.  I especially like slicing and dicing long veggies (carrots, parsnips, celery stalks, turnips, potatoes and squash are my favorites).  I get into  a zone with the rhythm of the knife as my hand moves it ever so subtly and the veggie is changed into something more suitable for whatever delicious and nutritious dish is being borne.  Yum.

Walking – I’ve written often about how meditative and affirming walking is for me so I won’t go into that now.  Ditto reading, dancing, and singing. Meditating – well, that’s the apex.

Tranquility, calm, letting go, being in the moment whatever it’s called, there is zen in the ordinary and unexpected.

♦♦ ♦♦

If you liked this, you might also like:

Happiness in Small Things

You Are What You Do


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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