Outside of being a mouthy hippy blogger, I’m also a poet. I’ve been published, I’ve even won awards. Sometimes I’m pretty good at poetry.
Something that often makes its way into my poems is housework.
One poem, called “Half-Century’s Lament,” begins with the line Ode to the things I’ve picked up with the vacuum cleaner / both intentionally and accidentally…
It’s not that I necessarily love housework, but I like a tidy house. And as it turns out, housework is just the kind of thing that gives you time to think.
(I used to call my mom when I was dusting the furniture—just tidying and cleaning while catching up. I miss that.)
Housework is deceptively humble
It feels like the ordinary stuff of daily life just begs to mean something more. It’s deceptively humble. It doesn’t appear to be serious work, doesn’t require much in the way of education—or even literacy.
And yet, it’s something of a heartbeat in our lives.
So maybe it’s no surprise that a mouthy, hippy blogger-poet likes doing laundry.
I like sorting colors and fabrics, I like removing stains, I like hanging sheets and clothes on the line. (And I have my own way of hanging shirts so they don’t get the droopy shoulders or the clothespin-y shirt-bottom look.) I like folding my sweetheart’s laundry and setting it on her dresser.
When my adult kids are around, I like to do their laundry (which I didn’t do for them after a certain age when they lived with me, ha!)
I like making a beautiful bed with crisp, line-dried sheets and fluffy feather pillows. I like having fresh towels in the bathroom.
When we had our 100-year-old house wired a couple of years ago, two electricians came over every day for a week. One of them arrived in a flannel shirt over a t-shirt every day, but would leave the flannel shirt behind once the day warmed up. I washed his shirt. Twice. (I never told him this—I didn’t want to make it weird, lol, but now the whole internet knows.)
For me, laundry is a gentle act of love
After Hurricane Florence, a friend whose house flooded stayed in our cozy tv room (which we call the hippie lounge) for a few months. I did her laundry. Often. She appreciated it.
So for whatever reason, laundry’s just something I enjoy doing for my household. It feels good to take care of people in my house this way. It doesn’t feel like a chore or drudgery—it’s just what I like to do.
It’s a quiet, gentle act of love, I suppose.
A little bit of practical compassion.
It feels peaceful to me.
And that’s my thing.
Peace is what inspires me.
Peace is my vision for the world.
I believe in peace.
I really, really believe in peace.
Like laundry, peace is practical… and gentle
And rather than nothing but an airy-fairy hippy thing to go on about, I think peace is the most practical thing in the world.
When we treat each other peacefully, the whole world wins.
Of course, that’s a challenge when we get provoked, when others act like assholes (but so do we), when we have conflicts and fights and wars, when we have points to make, when we know damn well how right we are/how wrong someone else is, when the world’s tumult is impossible to ignore.
The thing is, we have habits of thought and behavior that keep humanity churning over and over again, cycling and re-cycling through the same scenarios and messes—just with different clothes and hairstyles—throughout human history.
Once we make the conscious, deliberate decision to identify and change our habits of thought and behavior, we can break the habit of un-peace. We can break our addictive behavior. It can start individually and become collective.
The dominance bullies will always want their way—what if we stop going along with them? What if we outnumber them?
If we can ever see the wisdom in actively prioritizing peace over whatever the hell else we find more important, we can escape the wash-rinse-repeat of our history of un-peace.
What if peace is our way of life?
What if we all believe in gentleness and peace?
What if peace is a real thing, not just a nice thought?
What if peace is the ultimate in practicality?