Being Present

I spent the long weekend, aptly named Labour Weekend, painting my living room. After the first morning, when a kind friend came to help me wash down the walls and gave me a couple of hours of her gentle company, I worked alone. I made a conscious decision to work slowly and carefully, initially to avoid getting paint on the carpet, and then because I enjoyed it.

It took three hours to do the brush work, cutting in around the windows and doors, scotias and skirting boards. Two hours to roll the paint on to the expanse of the walls. Five hours each day to apply two coats of paint, then a third morning to re-hang all the pictures. With the radio or some music as background, the sun shining in, I sang along or mused a little but mainly I stayed mindful and focussed on the job in hand – carefully covering the walls with paint. I enjoyed it, not just for the end product, which did please me, but for the process itself.

There is something very soothing and centring about doing a physical task and being fully present. Connecting with the job in hand, being aware of my body as I balance on the ladder making smooth, gentle movements, moving from one section of wall to the next, meant that nothing more was required of me than to be present. I came to the end of the weekend feeling as though I had had a holiday – a rest from my busy, often anxious brain.