“You can pray to God while peeling the potatoes. Or, you can just peel the potatoes.”
My sister said this to me over the phone, as we were busy catching up from her trip to Nepal.
She lived in Nepal for five months, and was telling me the lessons she learned from the people she described as the happiest people in the world.
Of course, I wanted to know ‘the secret’.
I told my sister how much I enjoyed the philosophies behind Buddhism, but wasn’t sure how to practice on my own. I figured it was easier for the Nepalese, as they’re immersed in such a spiritual culture.
This was an excuse.
I could meditate at home. I have the Headspace app after all!
I just don’t.
I was feeling like I wasn’t doing enough.
Ugh…that dreaded word.
It came down to feeling that in this stage of my life, being busy with a 3 year old and 3 month old, as well as caring for my two dogs, home, garden, and still having any time for my husband and self-care…that it wasn’t…enough.
That by not working as hard on my business, and not putting in as many hours volunteerings for the wonderful organization TreeSisters, I wasn’t being influential in the world.
This is when she said to me, “Well there’s the famous Buddhism quote, you can pray to God while peeling the potatoes. Or, you can just peel the potatoes.”
I was intrigued.
She told me that what she learned was that you can be with God in even the most ordinary of tasks. Even just doing the task, on it’s own, is enough.
I was feeling a weird shame for ‘just being a mom’.
The woman whose family she stayed with everyone lovingly called “Aama”, or, “Mother”.
She has her own children, but was also an importantly motherly figure in the community. “And all she did, all day long, was cook and clean!” my sister exclaimed.
“Really? That’s it?” I asked.
“Yes. But she infuses that cooking and cleaning with a lot of love.”
Forget peeling potatoes. I felt as if an entire sack of potatoes fell off of my shoulders.
All of these feelings of not being enough or doing enough that have crept up on me just melted away in that single quote.
As women we’re surrounded by images and messages that we’re not enough and that we need to keep striving to have it all.
Here’s a little secret. No one has it all.
Thinking that we need to be amazing wives and mothers, continually strive in a career, have a thriving social life, a perfect morning routine or meditation practice, beautiful home, latest wardrobe trends, and stay sexy and fit…all at the same time…this idea is damaging.
I will write more on that soon.
For now, just realize that peeling the potatoes is enough.
Whatever your current focus, be it mothering, dating, learning a new skill, taking on a project at work, or just cleaning your home, can be a Zen practice.
Infused with love, nothing is ever too small to change the world.
It is enough.
You are enough.
With all my love,