I’m the mom of two energetic boys, and that means I do laundry. A LOT of laundry. The steps to our basement laundry room get so much use they remind me of the ancient worn stone steps in cathedrals. Just think of the generations of pilgrims making their way up and down these steps hoping to get closer to God! And just think of me, cursing and dragging my overflowing basket up and down my steps to get closer to the washer.
Anyway, I went down a few minutes ago to pull clothes out of the dryer and put in a new batch. The lint screen on my dryer has been messed up since the first day I used it. The fabric seal that runs around the bottom edge of the lint screen keeps coming out of its track, and that means lint gets stuck on the fabric seal and in the little track. Every time I empty the dryer, I curse at the lint screen, give it a halfhearted cleanup, and then shove it back in the track. And every time I do that, the dryer flashes its “check lint screen” light at me to remind me that I didn’t do a very good job. So I curse the light, too.
But today when I was in the middle of jamming the half-cleaned fabric seal back into the track, it occurred to me I had a choice. I could choose to take an extra 15 seconds to clean the seal carefully and put it back in the track. Or I could continue in my old pattern with the predictable results (cursing and flashing lights).
The patterns we hold onto are like those worn stone steps. We move in our accustomed paths from day to day, often no longer noticing what we’re doing or why. One of the steps that can help us break the cycle of fear-based thinking is to become aware that we have a choice … in any moment, no matter how small … about what our next step will be, and about what our attitude is as we take that step. Learning to be present, to be aware of what we’re doing, can lead to greater clarity … and even lint-free clothing!