Probably very much like your’s, in our house, washing clothes is a constant chore. My two children change clothes at least three times each day between pyjamas, school uniforms and regular old play clothes. Throw in gratuitous amounts of underwear and pairs of socks, which become the space filling sand amongst the trouser and top stones, clothing fills and over-spills our haggard laundry hamper.
Two days ago, I climbed the stairs to my bedroom and plopped a basketful of laundry onto my bed and began sorting and folding. As I folded and small piles of tidy, square stacks began to build, our kitten decided to join me. She found a spot in the middle of my bed which was bathed in warm, mid-morning sun. Squinting in the bright light, she glanced up at me and began her own form of housekeeping by self-grooming.
We continued our duties in companionable silence. Folding my last item and placing it upon a nearly toppling, Pisa tower type stack, I carefully lifted the empty basket and placed it upon the bedroom carpet. Moving slowly, not to disturb her, I eased myself down into the sunshine beside Bluebell. Soaking in the sun and listening to her purr, pure content slipped into my being.
Opening my eyes, it occurred to me that I have never before noticed that she purrs as she grooms. I watched her lick her right paw and swipe it over her ear, head, then face and repeat. With each pass, she moved about a centimetre closer to her nose. After completing rows to her nose, that side of her face was clean. She then swapped paws and started to clean the left side of her face, purring and licking and swiping.
In the last few years, my daily routine has changed immensely. I often talk to students and clients about the importance of having a daily routine including self-care. Meditation and exercise are basic essentials then building up by adding in practices including mindful eating and body brushing. Routines commence and with repetition, these practices become so natural and ingrained, it is merely part of getting on with being human.
In order to have our fullest possible experience of life, maintaining this vehicle, which so wonderfully transports us about and senses our environment, is fundamental. How many of you know people who are more careful and considerate in preserving their car then of their very own bodies? Every year my car has an MOT and if it requires repair or parts need replaced, it happens without second thought. For me, going to the gym and exercising outdoors is on-going maintenance to this physical machine that is so much more precious than the car sitting in my drive.
As Bluebell cleaned her body, purring and being diligent to address every area, she was happy. To her, taking care of her sun drenched, silky-furred body was enjoyable. As humans, we too should delight in caring for bodies. Taking the time and making effort to keep our bodies healthy, strong, and happy is a pleasure rather than a chore.