It's morning. I drag myself out the door. I don't particularly want to go jogging but I don't hate it either. Once I get moving with a slow run mixed in with some sprinting I'll want to keep going. Once I'm stretched and showered I'll feel like a million bucks. That and sheer willpower carry me my first few steps.
Running is repetitive. So is cleaning. Laundry, waiting rooms, commuting here and there. Food prep with its chopping, mincing, rinsing and sautéing. I know Target like the back of my hand and I shop systematically. Folding, filing, putting away. There is comfort in the familiar.
I could be bored but I'm not. Some of the time I entertain myself with podcasts. Other people's voices fill my head, elevating the dish soap, the dryer sheets, the file cabinet and the vinegar and water mixed with peppermint oil.
Other times, I have company. My daughter's voice laughing or touchy depending on the day. Split second pauses in my activity to advise, exclaim, or gaze at her. I smooth down the rainbow of tee shirts. I'll be right back, I tell her. I say I'm a lousy multitasker, but I do myself a disservice.
Then there are the other times. I'm not listening to anything. I'm not conversing with anyone. I'm doing mundane stuff without a soundtrack.
I don't like to be listening to anything while I'm running. It's better to remain alert. Sometimes I'm waiting for a delivery and don't want to listen to a podcast because I might miss the doorbell. Other times, I'm not actually talking or listening but want to seem available and welcoming. I know how I feel when I interrupt someone listening to a book or podcast. I don't want Jeremy or the kids to feel this way.
Often after I've listened to a few podcasts, I'll take a break to process what I've heard.
In other words, sometimes it’s just the dishes and me.
The kind of work I am talking about can be done without much thought. There are few surprises. Before I know it, my thinking goes off the grid.
The washing, sweeping or pounding of the pavement inspire reflection. The sheer banality serves a dual purpose. I'm getting in my cardio. I'm putting clean sheets on the beds. I'm cleaning up after lunch.
If someone were to observe me they'd think that was all I was doing. But there’s a simulcast happening.
I might be thinking about strategies for helping one of my kids. I might get an idea for a new photography series. Quick, uncensored home-based business plans come, then go. One or two stick and get put in the hopper.
I've had epiphanies when previously I've been stuck in a behavior or habit. I've re-grouped, re-thought and pivoted as a result of vacuuming the rug or stretching. These seemingly ordinary activities are compost for my brain.
All of this happens automatically and has for as long as I can remember. If it isn't happening for you, I'll bet you could cultivate it.
Maybe you don't exercise. Maybe you don't clean your own house. In that case, I say roll up your sleeves. Some high- minded thinking can happen once you get off the high horse. You could try some other repetitive things I haven't mentioned. Paint the second bedroom. Garden.
I set aside some time just for blogging. My iPad in hand, I wrote this piece. After all the cleaning, working out and unpacking I did, it practically wrote itself.
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