A question of balance.
In the 4th week of the UK version of Social Distancing as a result from the threat from Sars-CoV-2 my days actually seem quite full and sometimes could even be called productive and I could say a lot about what I have been up to. What I am actually going to discuss is what I haven’t been doing … IRONING.
I have avoided ironing for many years and a diagnosis of Parkinson’s gave me justification for doing even less. For some reason I don’t quite understand Parkinson’s results in tortuous dealings with anything made of cloth, even folding tea towels sometimes becomes tricky and the description of getting dressed is definitely something for the post 9pm watershed. I have always tried to hang clothes after washing, so that they need the least amount of ironing and certainly get away with just folding, rather badly, many of my items in more normal times. Now we are in a version of lock-down, the doorbell isn’t going to be rung by an unexpected guest and I am not going to be embarrassed by the fact that I am wearing a crumpled, un-ironed shirt. My partner is the only one I see and he’s not likely to be bothered so I pretty much gave up on it.
However, there is more to it than that as ironing takes on a new significance in these strange times. There are some things that I own that have to be ironed or they look very wrinkled, so generally even I iron those, usually just before wearing them, if my partner hasn’t already done it for me (kind man!). In “Isolation” of course the wrinkles don’t really matter, no one’s going to see, I don’t need to iron them, but I do! Why? Because they feel nicer to wear when they are carefully ironed. So now ironing changes from being a difficult chore to please others, to a challenging activity that gives me the reward of enjoying wearing the item of clothing.
I’ve heard Mindfulness practice described as “Noticing new things in the familiar.”, and for me a positive approach to this most un-favourite of tasks is definitely new. One of the things I like about Mindfulness is that it’s about awareness and very much depends on how you look at something. Take for example the morning shower, one can Mindfully enjoy the physical pleasure of an extra half a minute of warm water massage or limit your shower length and feel good that you have saved 30 seconds worth of carbon footprint. Each approach is as mindful as the other more or less!
Over the years I’ve found being Mindful helps manage life with Parkinson’s, no doubt, for months, years or possibly for the rest of my days I’ll be looking at a new sort of life with Sars-CoV 2 which will probably require the same sort of flexibility. As least I’ve had a practice run.
PS – Please don’t tell my partner, Phil, he might stop ironing
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay