I just came in from doing one of my favorite household chores: hanging freshly laundered clothes on the outside line to dry. I love being outside, in the sun, with a gentle breeze in the background.
One thing I like to do when hanging clothes out is to switch which hand I use for tasks I’ve done countless times before. This way the task becomes less of a perfunctory thing to do (as much as I like it) and more of a meditative practice. At least that’s how I experience it. The process of consciously choosing to do something a different way, e.g. reach for the clothespins with my left hand and not my right, is surprisingly challenging to me. Yet, I like it. I believe that when I do this, I am telling myself (brain, body and all the little cells and pathways of decision-making inside of me) that I’m open to trying new things, to looking at a problem or process through a different set of eyes, that I want more options than to be stuck in the same way of doing the same thing over and again.
Oftentimes my dominant side (I’m right-handed) wins out, and I find that I’ve once again defaulted to S.O.P. When I notice that, I can make a decision anew and try again to use my non-dominant side. And, oftentimes, I just use my dominant side because, well, I’m just hanging out the laundry and want to get it done.
But the times, like this morning, when I choose otherwise always make me feel more contemplative and open to possibilities.