Cleany windows

Today I cleaned the windows of my house, including the windows from the kitchen to the garden. I do it at least once a year, and it feels great. I have the experience that the windows do not stay clean for very long. On an average day, 300 (perhaps a bit exaggerated) hand imprints of children running in and out will appear on the windows. Zen taught me to loosen up the tendency to defend something as beautiful as clean windows tooth and nail for all eternity.

I don't bark and yell when one of my kids runs by with mud or paint smeared hands and opens the garden door. Don't get me wrong. I like clean windows and especially the feeling that one gets when one cleans the windows with a nice old-fashioned chamois. And, as far as I am concerned, the ultimate moment is when you empty the bucket of dirty soapy water and simultaneously look at the clean windows with a sense of satisfaction.

Through Zen meditation, I train myself to see through my thoughts, if possible, in a fraction of a second. Meditation trains my "attention muscle" so that I can, one day, deal with everything that happens in my environment as well as everything that goes on inside myself, in a state of awareness. Over time, patterns become recognizable. I feel somewhat prepared for what is to come, as it were, but at the same time, I am open and accepting towards what is to come no matter how unusual or different it is from what I expected.

As with the windows, while emptying the bucket I was expecting my kids to soil the windows when a flock of birds relieved themselves in the middle of the window from the top, all the way down. My kids did not even got a chance to soil the window first. At that moment, a huge burst of laughter took hold of me. Such is life!

(This post has been published before in Dutch, in a time when my kids where much younger...)