A few weeks ago I spent a Saturday afternoon washing blankets at the laundromat for my yoga studio. I have made an arrangement to do ‘work trade' at the studio; I will clean weekly and in return I can continue my practice. Not a bad deal at all! I had been feeling like I was taking advantage of the arrangement that was given to me, and had been inquiring about other ways to help out so I agreed to wash the yoga blankets at the laundromat. I had a partner in crime and once he helped me unload everything he headed back to the studio to work on cleaning the mats. I thought this would be a great time for me to read, knit and grab a cup of coffee. Not so much, I spent most of the time playing the timing game, switching machines, loading and unloading and trying not to piss off too many people with my 60 plus blankets consuming much of the space.
I also did a whole lot of reflecting. I am not a huge fan of going to the laundromat, I have often said that if you gave me a mattress and washer and dryer, you can call it an apartment and I would be set. I do not know if my issue with the laundromat stems from when we sold my childhood house, moved into an apartment and it was the first time I had spent time at a laundromat. Regardless of why I have a dislike for the laundromat I really was fine spending my Saturday afternoon on this task. I feel like I have been given the gift of yoga and if it means that 4 hours are spent to make the studio a better place then so be it. I am proud of that space and put care and concern in the weekly cleaning I am doing and did the same in this weekend project.
A really fascinating part of my journey has been choosing to do things that in the past I may had avoided. I have been cleaning the studio weekly and very thoroughly I may add. Now I would not say that my apartment is dirty, but it is certainly not neat and really I clean on an as needed basis, usually if someone is coming to visit. I am not a babysitter, but I will hang out (not babysit) with my friends’ kids sometimes and have recently been driving two little girls to school once a week. And kids; not always my thing particularly when I have to wake up before the sun!
I have been volunteering (which I have loved) at the Northampton Survival Center (a local food pantry) and I help people bring groceries to their cars and a couple of times in the pouring rain. I like the rain from the comfort of my home but being out in it and doing chores not so much. I was not affected by it during these times. It was not something that I even took a second thought about (until I am writing this now). I was grateful to be there helping and hearing people’s stories and knowing that the work being done at this center was such good work and that I had the opportunity to contribute.
These experiences have also made me think back to a day I spent volunteering at a Disabled Children’s Home in India, where conditions were not ideal and in prior circumstances I would have been complaining. That day I would not have wanted to be anywhere else. You can read about this experience here: Chennai, India- Friday, March 12, 2010
All of these experiences have one thing in common. They have allowed me to feel like I am earning my keep. Not just thinking about the financial pieces but also my place. My place in community, in society, and supporting my community that is supporting me, sustaining my yoga practice and nourishing my soul.