Simple Tasks That Are Good For Your Soul

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” ~Zen Proverb

Sometimes my psyche and soul get tired.

That's happened to me this week.

Does it ever happen to you?

It often happens for me after a particularly busy or intense time with work or in my personal life -- or a combination of both. Sometimes you just wake up, even after a good night's sleep, and think "Damn, I'm tired. My brain hurts. My heart is overloaded."

When this happens, I've learned that it doesn't help me to "push through" and keep going, because eventually my head will spin off. Nor does it help much to try to figure it out or assign it too much meaning. This can lead to unattractive crying jags.  And if I just sit and rest, it gives my over-taxed psyche too much space to run amok and make nasty assumptions that are rarely true.

I have found that doing simple tasks (not involving a lot of brain power) provides wonderfully restorative benefits to the heart and soul. By keeping my hands moving and my brain on low simmer, I am filled with a pleasant combination of relaxation, purpose, and accomplishment.

I may not be conquering the world, but I am residing peacefully in the moment. Sometimes that's enough.

Not every simple task evokes those feelings. Scrubbing a toilet, paying bills,  or using a leaf blower tend to aggravate the problem, not help it. But there are certain repetitive tasks that have a Zen-like quality and are extremely soothing for me.

Here are a few simple tasks that are good for your soul . . . (more…)