I recently gave a talk on “Nurturing The Modern Woman.” I included these exerpts below from Karen Maezen Miller’s “Hand Wash Cold” to reflect what so many women experience. Whether its a few or all of these things, in addition to a job, other home responsibilities and so on, and so on, the modern woman’s life can be complex.
I love this book and I recommend it often! It was recommended to me from someone special and it, along with “Momma Zen,” another of Karen’s books, inspired and enlightened me more than any other book I’ve ever read… and I’ve read many a book.
I love this chapter all together, but I couldn’t possibly post it in its entirety. This is the beginning and the end of the chapter. I appreciate the way Karen writes about all the duties before her, yet rather than resisting it, feeling slighted or resentful, she surrenders and finds compassion.
Sigh. If only feeling surrender and compassion easily filled every task.
I keep this chapter dog-eared to remind me to…
- stay grounded
- not sweat the small stuff
- realize how the stuff I do during the day, even the mundane stuff, serves a greater purpose
- surrender and feel compassion
From Karen Maezen Miller’s “Hand Wash Cold”
I see the faint blush of morning light under my eyelids. It’s dawn. I hear the dog begin to patter on the parquet in the next room. Its time to let her out. I feel the inescapable weight of the morning routine descend upon me. It’s time to get up. My husband sleeps on, undisturbed. It’s up to me to do it.
There is the dog to attend. I let her out and fill her bowl. The coffee to make. I grind the beans and boil the water. The breakfast to assemble. I slice the fruit and toast the bread. The grumpy daughter to wake and marshal through her morning’s grim reluctance. The lunch to pack, the clean dishes to put away, the dirty ones to load.
… I am the stationmaster of this mess, and there’s no replacement in sight.
Every day, I found my daughter’s scorned breakfast left on the table, and my husband’s crusty oatmeal bowl on the counter. I found streaks on the windows, crumbs on the rug and footprints on the floor. I found shelves of food that no one but me would cook, cabinets of dishes no one but me would wash and put away. I found near empty milk jug, over ripe bananas and moldy bread. I found out the same way you did that a self cleaning oven absolutely never cleans itself.
In all this mess, I found the ingredients for the next stage in the spiritual journey: the opportunity to move beyond myself and into compassionate care of everything and everyone that appeared before me morning, noon and night.
…I found myself in the very heart of life, the best spot to give and receive pure love.