I cannot believe that this is my fifth update on Stillness! Thank you to Carolyn who hosts a wonderful group of bloggers sharing their own updates on the last Monday of each month. If you’re interested in all of my posts from this year, you can see them here.

I vacuum multiple times every day and each time sweet little Bronwyn, who is three years old, runs in shouting joyfully Iya helpa you! Most of the time I just want to get the job done as quickly as possible and move on to the next thing that needs to be tidied. This whole month, though, I’ve taken a deep breath, smiled on the exhale, and invited her assistance.

We have a stick vacuum, which I love, except for the fact that Bronwyn can barely reach the handle. She tries, but any sudden movement can send her toppling. So with each move forward, I state forward and with each sweep backwards, I state back. We move much more slowly than when I’m rushing through the job on my own and I guide her when we have to change directions.

Forward, back, forward, back, forward, back. To the right. Forward, back, forward, back.

Sounds like a meditation mantra, right? So I breathe to the rhythm we’re creating, ensure that I’m smiling the whole time, and focus on exactly what we’re doing and nothing else. When we’re finished with the room, I have a very happy and proud 3 year old and a few extra minutes of unplanned and undocumented meditation under my belt. I’ll take it.

This slowing down, focusing on what I’m doing, and stilling my brain for just a few minutes is perfectly in line with my goals this year. This practice doesn’t allow my brain to think about everything I haven’t been able to accomplish that day or rehash old grievances. I’m simply cleaning the floor with the help of my child.

Slipping prayer into the quotidian brings joy and meaning to the mundane. It’s something I try to do when washing the dishes, cleaning the sink, and wiping down the table each evening: feel gratitude for good food, a relatively clean house, and a solid foundation for my family.


In May, I’ve continued meditating formally for 7 minutes each morning and supplemented that with 10 minutes of reading from Buddhism for Mothers, which I finished over the weekend. I started The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh on Sunday and am excited to finally read something by this author. I’ve been intimidated by him in the past, but figure it’s possible to do anything for 10 minutes a day. I’ll stick with 7 minutes of meditation in June because I’m still awful at it!

I’m looking forward to catching up with all of you and your words this week. Thank you for stopping by!

14 thoughts

  1. Beautiful reminder of the possibilities for stillness and depth in each moment. Thanks, Katie! (And if you are good with Merton, Thich Nhat Hanh will be a snap for you!) 😉

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Jordy! I’m really enjoying the Thich Nhat Hanh and have already ordered another book by him to start once I finish this one.

      I miss you! I hope you’re well 🙂

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  2. I love that she wants to help out and that you’ve managed to create a moment of stillness and mindfulness out of it. Do you think she would like a small hand-held vacuum to help with rather than trying to wrangle the big one? Not that I want to take away from your moments together, but perhaps it would be more manageable.

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  3. I have tears in my eyes reading about your vacuuming meditations and my mind is full of memories. I love how you are taking the time, slowing down, and breathing! I promise you these will be some of the best memories ever… Thank you so much for sharing!

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  4. Congrats on the meditation streak. 7 minutes is amazing. My guided meditations from the Calm App are about 10 minutes and even though I’m not always successful in quieting down my mind, I’m still giving myself 10 minutes of rest and stillness and breathing. It’s like a gift to myself. I tell myself I don’t have to do anything else for ten minutes. Just be here and breathe.

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    1. You are so right! When I sit down to meditate, I have to remind myself that it’s 7 minutes to simply exist with NO other expectations of myself. Not so easy for an overachiever!!

      I’m glad to hear that the Calm app has been so helpful for you!

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  5. Your description of vacuuming with Bronwyn is poetry, Katie. What a beautiful, tender moment you captured, Stillness is such a poignant word for anyone mothering young children; I don’t think I’d have had the grace to come up with it… Actually, I know for sure I wouldn’t have. What a gift, to nourish your spirit this way–and to make your heart available to your children.

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  6. I’m so glad you captured this time with Bronwyn in your post this month … it’s precious, and so “in the season” for you. “Slipping prayer into the quotidian brings joy and meaning to the mundane” – those words seem wise beyond your years and I’m grateful that you shared them.

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  7. What a beautiful, thoughtful post. I loved reading about your vacuuming practice with your daughter. Your patience and kindness will be what she remembers when she is older. Stillness is a wonderful word for a young mother to focus on.

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