(TUT – I didn’t mean to post this. Looking for save on the iPad… will tidy up in the morning)
I tried and failed to put a throw on our sofa this evening. It is an (make ?) which we have been planning to tart up with seat covers for, oh about five years. The cover is a heavy cotton double bedspread, which had just had its biannual wash to remove the cat hair.
Could I fold it in half and tuck around the cushions? Could I heck. It behaved as though it was slippery, in my hands. This corner to that corner – simple enough but I couldn’t make it work. I could get the corners together but then had no idea how to control the rest of it. It should have just happened – I have been folding things for years now (honest mum) and the muscle memory should be strong – but there was an infuriating gap between what I wanted to happen and how I could achieve it. I felt like a four-year-old having a go at putting a cloth on the table for teddy’s tea party. I realise that i’m not being ‘silly’ and just can’t work it out. Going for the ‘this will have to do approach’ – I dropped it on and asked Ben to do it for me. I know what tidy looks like (honest mum, I have changed).
Our minds are very clever – it’s like magic, all the things they allow us to do without realising quite how we did it. Treasure those domestic chores. They are all things you have learnt to do and can do without conscious thought. It is like being a virtuoso pianist or professional footballer – why the hell not? I am learning new habits – to slow down and pay close and constant attention. Say the names of the items as I load and unload the dishwasher to help them go in the right place. And never have a brilliant idea or satisfying realisation when holding glassware or crockery – the brain surge will direct attention to that rather than my hands. Crash! Tinkle!
Mindfulness is great – but it doesn’t help with the sofa cover. It is trivial task -but the trivial tasks not achieved are those that build up the most frustration and negative thinking. I could do it (though admittedly mum, probably never brilliantly). For now, I can’t.