Have you ever heard of “soji?” It’s a practice that Buddhist monks take part in every morning in some monasteries or temples, consisting of 20 minutes of mindful cleaning. The monks are to be mindfully present as they clean, going through the motions without rushing it or trying to quickly get the task done...very unlike the way that most of us clean today.
Even if you don’t live in a monastery (and we’re guessing that you probably don’t) it doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate parts of this mindful cleaning practice into the way you go about your own home cleaning.
If you’re wondering how to be more mindful in your day to day life, mindful cleaning is a great way to try to immerse yourself. You can incorporate mindfulness into any aspect of your life, and that includes cleaning, organizing, and decluttering. Plus, you’ll be multitasking and doing something really productive while you’re practicing mindfulness.
Here are five ideas for how to be more mindful while you clean and organize.
Wondering how to be more mindful when you clean? Well for starters, before you begin, you can set an intention. Mindfulness and meditation go hand in hand with intentions. Setting an intention before you start cleaning can help set you up to be mindful as you go about your tasks. Your intention shouldn’t be something like, “I want to clean the whole apartment and organize the closet in under one hour.” Rather, it should go along with the theme of mindful cleaning. Here are some ideas that you can go off of:
Mindfulness is all about being fully in the present moment. While it’s easy to let your mind wander to the rest of your to-do list or other stressors while you clean, try to remain in the moment during your mindful cleaning session. How does your body feel? How does your heart feel? How does your head feel? What emotions does cleaning evoke for you? Notice how it all feels, without judging yourself for feeling any of those things. Any time your mind wanders off to somewhere other than the here and now, notice it, and then you can gently bring your attention back to the present moment and put your focus back on your mindful cleaning. It sounds very simple, and it really is. Mindfulness can be more simple than you think, and there are usually simple solutions like this when you are looking for how to be more mindful.
Another idea for how to be more mindful: utilize all of your senses. It’s also an excellent way to “ground” yourself to stay in the present moment. As you organize your clothes or fold up blankets, notice all the different textures – how soft your favorite sweater is, the contrast of the way rough denim feels, or how fluffy your throw blanket is. You can also bring in scents for aromatherapy using an essential oil diffuser, candles, or incense. For example, you can use a scent like lavender if you’re cleaning at night and want to evoke relaxation, or, if you’re cleaning in the morning, you can use an uplifting and energizing citrus scent. Breathe deeply and notice how that feels. Put on some of your favorite music to listen to so you can dance and sing as you clean, declutter, and organize. Use your eyes and look at all the beauty that is surrounding you in your home. The more senses you incorporate, the more immersed you will be in the mindful cleaning. Staying grounded by using your senses in this way is a great solution for how to be more mindful and present.
Remember all the Marie Kondo hype last year? Honestly, the hype was worth it. She really has some great pointers that go along with a mindful lifestyle and mindful cleaning. One of her tips is to imagine your ideal lifestyle as you tidy up, and use that as a guide as you go. This can go back to your intention you set. Another one of her tips is to get rid of things that no longer spark joy. If something brings up bad memories or bad vibes for you, throw it out, donate it, sell it...just get rid of it! Mindful cleaning is a great way to make space for all the good vibes and get rid of all the bad vibes. If you want to go all in and get really inspired by Kondo, then check out her show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix. You might come across other tips for how to be more mindful as you watch.
Oftentimes we take things like shelter for granted. We’re lucky to have a roof over our head, furniture, a comfy bed, and a closet full of clothes, and so on. As you go about your mindful cleaning and organizing, count your blessings and acknowledge gratitude for what you have. You might realize how much you’ve been taking for granted, and how much you really have to be thankful for. You can even do some journaling after your mindful cleaning so you can write down what you’re grateful for and reflect on how to be more mindful in other aspects of your life. Even just pausing and writing down three things that you’re grateful for can make a difference in your mood, and the more you do this, the better you can shift your mindset to a more positive one overall.
Keep these five tips in mind whenever you engage in mindful cleaning and when you’re wondering how to be more mindful. Engaging in mindfulness will help you get in touch with your higher self – even when you’re getting your hands dirty.
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