I pause, notice kitty Barney, so relaxed, taking a snooze, and do something I have only done once since he got here; in fact, something I haven’t done much of at all since Mikey died. I stop and do a quick sketch, right in my journal. It’s funny, I could draw Mikey over and over and over. You said once, that is because I loved him so. So this sketch isn’t quite right, I am rusty, and Barney keeps moving. But I’ll get there, just like I did with Mikey. This was fun.
See? More Joy. Joy comes in noticing and immersing yourself. It’s what you do when you photograph–or write. You give attention.
So, how can I do this with chores, like vacuuming, say?
By noticing with every stroke, every sweep, how grateful you are for what surrounds you, the floor under your feet, each piece of furniture. Same with dusting. Allow yourself to linger a minute remembering some of the stories of the pieces you have decorating your home. Feel all over again the joy of acquiring each one–or, in the case of a family piece, some happy memory of the person it belonged to before you. You have many antiques from your mom; imagine their stories. If you cannot imagine their stories and have none of your own, then no matter their economic value, they have no heart-value to you, and it is time to let them go.
Of course. The key to loving your home, like loving anything else, is attention. You choose to pay attention to Barney, to signal to him agin and again that he is safe, and loved, and you are winning his love and his trust as a result
I do love him, Lord–even when he nips at me, I do love him.
Of course you do; that is who you are. And there is a big difference between what you are doing to bond with Barney and enduring abuse. No one is called to do that, because deliberate unkindness, or worse, is no part of My Nature or My Kingdom, and those are chains I would break, every time.