How big is your sock pile?

Mine was HUGE. And yes, I’m writing about lost socks. Just hang with me here; there’s a point.

I had to face reality: The other ones were never coming back.

It was ridiculous. They weren’t my socks (singles), but some of Daniel’s and mostly our six little friend’s socks.

This has been going on for years. It starts small. We save a few, thinking the match will find its way to the laundry room within a few days. But weeks go by. Then months. And then we’re used to that crazy pile that takes up so much room that we can’t even fold anything on the counter because it has been taken over by single socks.

I went into the laundry room this afternoon with fresh eyes. Present moment awareness. And something told me to just throw them all away.

Yee-haw! It felt great.

It looks so much better now as a gallery of the latest art to come home from school.

So much happier!

So, do you have any piles of stuff lying around taking up space? Ever think that stuff is a metaphor for lack of clarity and awareness in our minds?

As we become blind to the clutter surrounding us, so too we continue with habitual patterns of unawareness and lack of appreciation for each passing moment. And that’s all we have.

Another perspective is that we cling or hold on to stuff—whether it’s to socks, clothes, paperwork, objects, or even a person, an idea—out of fear or insecurity.

Perhaps it’s a bit of both. But the good news is that we can wake up and start living, no matter our age or circumstance.

Only that day dawns to which we are awake. —Henry David ThoreauWalden

Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice which has profound relevance for our present-day lives. …Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. If we are not full present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realize the richness and the depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.

I like to think of mindfulness simply as the art of conscious living. You don’t have to be a Buddhist or a yogi to practice it. In fact, if you know anything about Buddhism, you will know that the most important point is to be yourself and not try to become anything that you are not already. Buddhism is fundamentally about being in touch with your own deepest nature and letting it flow out of you unimpeded. It has to do with waking up and seeing things as they are. In fact, the word “Buddha” simply means one who has awakened to his or her own true nature. —Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are

Confession: I have a healthy crush on Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Jon Kabat-Zinn (source: Wikipedia)

I’m trying to live in the present moment, but it’s hard not to wish I had his books when starting out as a parent twelve years ago. Chapter titles like “Cleaning the Stove While Listening to Bobby McFerrin” show his sense of humor and listening to his Wherever You Go, There You Are on CD bring me to my calm, appreciative, and pleasantly alert place.

Maybe you’ll find some clarity of your own today. I hope so. If not today, soon.

I’d love to hear your reflections on mindfulness, any struggles, and what works for you.

10 Comments

  1. im some one who always misplaces or loses her socks…there are days when i have nothing and then there are days when i find them all… :)

    Reply
    • It sounds like you’re just going with the flow, and things haven’t gotten to the clutter level we reached. :) Thanks for your comment and like!

      Reply
  2. The good news – I think your lost socks are over at my house. And the better news – the symbolism is perfect for the larger issue of reducing the clutter in our minds. Great post!

    Reply
    • Mimi: It’s crazy. I feel crazy about the whole thing. And a little guilty, especially after reading the post about all the re-uses for single socks. But then, really, do I need 75 sock rags, cup cozys, and small item bags?

      You’re spot on about the symbolism. And the socks are only the beginning in our house. I have a lot of work toward the sage Patanjali’s chitta vritti nirodha, interpreted from Sanskrit “cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.”

      Thank you!

      Reply
  3. I totally agree with clearing out spaces in order to clear our minds. My room is apparently tidy but if you open any drawer, you’ll find nothing but utter mess. I think it’s a metaphor to how I hide my feelings when on the inside I’m falling apart. I must change that though. I’m not a parent yet, but when I become one, do you recommend that I buy those books?
    Lots of love and peace :)

    Reply
    • Dearest Erika:

      I’m with you! Know too, that just because I tackled one corner of the laundry room doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of closets and drawers full of chaos and disarray. Sometimes it gets so bad in my office that I can’t sit down to write or plan a yoga class until I do a clean sweep. But it’s those little steps that help us get where we need to be, or help our true nature reveal itself.

      One thing for you to try is a little forgiveness toward yourself, working toward replacing the “musts” and “shoulds” with kindness toward yourself. I love Henry Ford’s quote: Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. It applies to thinking kindly about you, too.

      I recommend these books right now. Before parenthood! And yoga, meditation…even just a regular walk outside without the phone, listening to your breath and appreciating each moment, each step. The drawers and closets can wait, right? [I’m talking to myself, too :)]

      But when you do start on the life-affirming parenthood journey, one of my favorite books of all time is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. More on that when the time comes, but read it before the baby comes…it’s wonderful. Just saw that he’s on WordPress! Here’s a link to his blog.

      Fondly,

      Lisa

      Reply
  4. I blame the dryer and sock monster! I swear I have no socks and most socks I find are mismatched and forget the kids socks that’s alost cause.

    Reply
    • :) Misty. It appears my reply got lost, too! Forgive my tardiness, and thanks for the drop by.

      Reply
  5. I try not to be too obsessive about being clean, but it definitely feels like getting rid of clutter releases a sense of something being unfinished. Love it. (Just spent the week with Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is indeed as wonderful in person as in his books.)

    Reply
    • How nice to hear from you, Cristin, and I can’t wait to check out your blog! Not surprising about Mr. Wonderful :) — would love to learn more about it.

      Reply

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