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Chop Wood, Carry Water

The Blessing of Chores

Sweeping, raking, taking out the trash, washing dishes, folding clothes, over and over we do these tasks, an almost automatic movement of hands and feet. The mind is barely attached to the action – just enough to keep balance and rhythm, staying efficient – yet the thoughts travel on, in rhythm with the swish of the broom, hot water across the pots.

I have to eat therefore I have to buy groceries. I have to maintain hygiene so that means cleaning house and clothes and self. To maintain order it’s necessary to file papers, put the knives and forks away, sort the trash and prune the trees. Is it right then that I have, for so long, considered these tasks menial? That I have thought I could be doing something better with my time? I certainly don’t want to be chained to labor for a lifetime but, in fact, I am not.

Don’t these household chores give shape to part of my day? Don’t they add flavor and texture, an opportunity to observe bubbles rising from the sink, the way the spider spreads her web over the gate, how the clothes I wear serve me over and over with their warmth and protection? Isn’t it silly to say that chores are not poetry? Isn’t it liberating to say they are?

Hari Bhajan K. Khalsa
Mint Momma, Poet, Life Coach
Author of Life in Two Parts
Recommended Reading: Chop Wood, Carry Water by Rick Fields


Anonymous commented on 23-Oct-2009 10:50 AM5 out of 5 stars

What a lovely, practical expression of a concept I have often mentally referred to as "rural zen". Most urban people would benefit from it, too -- This poetic essay shows how!

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