Saturday, June 26, 2010

Peace In Laundry

The poor long for riches, the rich long for heaven, but the wise long for a state of tranquility. - Swami Rama

Every Saturday and usually every Sunday I wash my laundry at home.

Why does it take two days? Well it doesn’t have to– I could do wash Saturday morning and again in the afternoon. But that is not important, I choose to do it over the span of two days for a reason (keep on reading to find out the reason)

I have a simple routine for doing my laundry
  1. Get the basins of water ready for the soapy water, rinse water, and rinse water with fabric softener
  2. Gather dirty laundry and begin soaking
  3. Wash and scrub with hands with the help of bar soap
  4. Rinse clothes
  5. Hang clothes outside to dry (making sure that I ask the tree from which the clothes line hangs for permission before doing so. Typically I also send love/light to the tree when I gather my clothes)
Such as simple process and yet in the western world it has been simplified even more through the use of a washing machine. A process that might take a person say 5 minutes to do, that is loading a washing machine with laundry and soap and turning the machine on, usually takes me the better part of an hour – sometimes a full hour or more.

So why do I do it when I could easily pay someone to do my laundry for me? Well it’s simple – personal time. The concept of personal time is not the same in Kenya as it is in the U.S. In fact very frequently, in Kenya, unexpected guests will appear and (in my case) typically ask for some kind of assistance – whether it be technical support, financial support (school fees, medical costs), or sometimes it’s just a neighbor or friend stopping by to say Hello.

While it’s definitely nice to have neighbors and friends who care enough to visit and say Hello, it’s also definitely nice to have some time to myself – time to not think about anything else and just enjoy my life in that moment. Not having a care in the world, I am able to take the time out of my busy weekly schedule and just be fully aware of the sensations of the soapy water on my hands, the sweat on my brow, and the lizards/ants walking around on the wall/floor in search of food.

Such as peaceful setting, from what might be considered an unpleasant task.


  1. Wow I never thought of doing laundry as a way to ensure personal time but i think that is wonderful for you. I remember back before I had house help doing laundry would easily take me two hours so you are pretty fast!

  2. It just kind of depends on how much laundry I'm doing though I've gotten pretty efficient at it since I've practiced so much. I remember the first few days of training it was very difficult. I couldn't even get socks clean those days. I probably still can't get white socks to be white again, but definitely a lot closer than I could in those first few months :)

  3. Dude, you forgot to mention the relief of seeing clean clothes out in the sun and also catching that breath when it is all done with a glass of juice or tea sitting on the verandah, :-)