Everyday Zen

We are a household whose tidy skills are not our forte, nor our priority (as this blog has documented here and here).

We were messy before we had kids. But now it is not just adult mess, it is a typhoon of little clothes, pencils, works of art, yogurt pot tops (yogurt side down – of course), dead ladybirds, books, lots and lots of books, lego, lots of that too, usually detected underfoot with a sharp yelp. We are really craving a way to find a little calm, a little order in the chaos. And yet we know that we will not have a tidy-personality transplant any time soon.

This is our everyday zen project.

Everyday zen is inspired by our time in Japan and throughout Asia where every home, often every room had a small sacred space or altar.

It was reading Rachael’s Variegated Life blog and Goddess Leonie’s creating your goddess space e-course (see the link at the side of this blog). They made me think – we need a clear space in every room. A focal point which makes my spirit soar, which gives me calm and peace when I look at it, rather than despair and depression at the deluge of paper and packages and dirty dishes which cover every space in every room. Or so it seems.

I have had a nature table for a couple of years now for the kids. It combines flowers or nature finds of the season with little Steiner figures, felt fairies or wooden animals.

The zen space takes this one stage further. Its intention is simplicity. Beauty. Calm. Emptiness. Balance. A soul restoring place in the midst of the necessary clutter of daily life. The zen space was inspired by my husband’s new shelves which we display some of my father’s pots on.

Like an altar it is tended daily – NOTHING is allowed to be dumped in the zen space. It must be kept clear. We actively maintain this small calm space. We refresh it with fresh flowers, or a single stone.

It encourages me to embrace zen moments in my daily life. To snatch small moments of calm throughout the day, to meditate for two minutes here or there, rather than not bother because I don’t have the time or energy. This inner and outer calm are connected I realised. This not being bothered, despairing at the level of chaos is connected. And in honouring the calm and the stillness, I also learn to honour the life which causes the chaos, to honour the mess, the living which is so precious and yet I so often apologise for. Both are necessary. The chaos and the order. Both are just as real. And it is for us to embrace them both, to cultivate and balance them.