Alice gets mindful (11)

A man doesn’t need a course

Mindfulness and a renovation in your house: Can you think of two more contrary things? Workmen in the kitchen at 8:30 a.m. while you’re trying to get your kids ready for school on time, strange guys traipsing in and out all day, your front door constantly wide open to the outside world, your house key circulated among strangers, a gaping hole in the wall (“Sorry ma’am, slight mishap with the work there”), stucco that won’t dry, and a schedule that therefore drags on for ages… I must say: my patience and resilience has had to endure quite a lot in recent weeks. Because deep down I’m an avid fan of peace and routine. For me, an ordinary day when I do some work, run a few errands, feed the cats and cook for my family is actually the best day I could have. I’m not really interested in days that take all sorts of unexpected twists and turns. (Not anymore that is. It’s probably an age thing, because when I was younger, I was definitely up for all sorts of crazy, spontaneous acts.) So, looking at this situation in a mild manner, with mindfulness eyes, was not working for me. I was done with it all, and quite rightly so, I thought, because after all, it was taking far too long.

Until, that is, I noticed how my other half was dealing with the whole renovation drama. Extremely mindful would be the only way to describe it—and without even having taken a course on the practice! Two months without a shower?: Mwah, it’s not that big a deal, is it? And anyway, it just means we enjoy it even more when we can have one again. Small talk with the workmen?: He enjoys it, does it all the time, and even makes them coffee. He remains kind and takes every setback as it comes. Because he knows that, at the end of the day (or should I say, project), everything will turn out okay and that, as we stand there brushing our teeth in our brand-spanking-new bathroom, all this madness will have been forgotten. What I find doubly amazing about his attitude is that he hasn’t brought any children into the world, because renovations are in fact a bit like giving birth. During the process, you scream and promise yourself that you will never do this again. Ever! But immediately afterward, when the suffering is over, and you hold your beautiful baby in your arms—or in our case, when you finally stand under that glorious warm shower—you know that it was worth all the effort. And you say to yourself: Uh, what on earth was all the fuss about?

Still, it’s a good thing that there are women in the world. Otherwise there would be too little whining and complaining. And the courses would be empty.

Alice is General Managing Editor of Flow International and the Specials. In her regular blogs on our website, she shares what an eight-week mindfulness course she followed has brought her and whether her life has become more mindful because of it.