What’s Wrong With Buying Groceries?

Nothing.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying groceries — in going to the store, picking up a few cucumbers, bacon and possibly some milk and carrying it all the way home yourself.

It’s a privilege. I’m just wondering how so many people don’t get it.

Buying groceries and pretty much any other mundane task is a great opportunity that you can learn to enjoy. They can be extremely therapeutic exercises, moments to caress your brains.

Usually it takes something, an unpleasant event, a reckoning of some sorts, for people to realise this. Or, you know, they could just take my word for it.


For me it was the kids.

Kids make life incredibly noisy (in a good way). The signal gets easily lost. Then, add a job and a ton of stuff to do at home at any given moment in time. That’s not exactly a recipe for a optimal life for someone who enjoys a bit of solitude and peace every now and then (that’d be me, a typical Finn).

So, being the privileged little whinebag I am, I felt that it was slowly starting to be a bit too much. Until one snowy morning when I realised I’m sitting on top of a goldmine.

The breakthrough came after reading The Miracle of Mindfulness by the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. Now, I’m not sure if I would go so far as to call it a miracle, but it’s a pretty amazing when you suddenly realise that in washing the dishes there’s a chance for peace and serenity. It’s just mechanical work, and you can easily put your mind to rest while doing it.

Put shortly: Reserve a time slot for doing a task — any task — and choose to enjoy it. Be aware of your feelings, but let go of everything. Focus on the task.

I was surprised how easy it actually was. Same applies to buying the groceries. Or gardening. Or… to anything, really, where you don’t need to be creative. How creative do you really need to get when scrubbing the plates?


So, give it a try, maybe? You might be surprised.

Is there anything on your todo-list that you don’t fancy?

Great! Let’s try this with that!

Reserve a chunk of time. Decide that you’re not in a hurry. Switch on the mental airplane mode, and just relax.

Let doing the work completely occupy your mind.

Once it hits you… once your brains realise they’re having a break from all the noise they normally have to cope with… they’ll be a one happy 1350 gram lump of 100 billion neurons!

It’s truly the cheapest way to zen.

-Simo

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Find me at simohosio.com, kaizenhour.com or at Twitter (SimoHosio)!

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