I reached a state of spiritual enlightenment this morning. I was vacuuming through the house and for the first time I realized that if you move the vacuum slowly back and forth, systematically and methodically, you pick up more dirt than if you race through each room, attempting to set a world’s record. In fact, with that nifty edge feature and a little bit of patience, you can actually hug the base of the brick hearth and suck up those embedded fragments of dust, dirt, and wood chips that I just assumed were bound to become permanent fixtures in the room. Sort of like a family scrapbook that puts into historical context the food consumed, construction paper cut ups, and fires stoked over the year.
I normally don’t pay this much attention when I vacuum. In fact, it’s a rare occasion for me to vacuum at all. Since my role in our family is to battle early morning traffic and bring home a paycheck, I leave the housekeeping assignments like laundry, vacuuming, and cooking to my husband. I’m CFO, he’s COO. It works. Besides, my folding always leaves creases in the wrong places and he’s an ace when it comes to homework support.
For most people vacuuming a carpet is not an activity that raises their conscious state to new levels. But for someone like me, who races through life and rarely takes a moment to relish the roadtrip, slowing down and recognizing that small particles of dust will actually disappear from the carpet if the vacuum head lingers longer than a nanosecond can be life altering.
Speed has always been a thing for me. Anyone who knows me keeps a pair of Nikes on hand in case they need to walk with me from Point A to Point B. Backpacking pals never let me set the pace. My roommates used to time me against the guys to see who could pee the fastest. My record was the stuff of legends.
But sometimes all it takes is something like sucking up dirt to make you realize that you can’t always go through life at top speed. As I maneuvered the Hoover in and out, around coffee tables and stacked piles of toys and games, I focused on how the dirt danced across the carpet as the power of the suction moved closer. Sometimes the tiny particles surrendered without a fight, lifting effortlessly into oblivion. Other times they strongly resisted, twisting and turning across the floor as the vacuum approached its prey from different angles, carefully, cautiously, until suddenly --
I finished my task. Clean carpet, clear conscious, cleansed soul. I couldn't wait to sweep the kitchen.