Friday, September 6, 2013

*Iron Deficient

Ironing is something I have not done in such a long time. When clothes are wrinkled, that means only one thing: they need to spritzed with water, and popped back in the dryer. I always try very hard to catch the clothes in their cool-down phase of drying so that I can hang them up immediately to avoid wrinkling the fabrics. In moments of desperation, I've been known to use my hair styling flat iron, while wearing the clothes that need to be pressed.

There was a brief period of time, about a decade ago, when I would set up my ironing board on Sunday night while the family watched a movie, and I would iron five outfits for the week.  The habit was short-lived, and I once again found myself spritzing laundry, and popping it back in the dryer if it seemed too frumpy to wear.  While clothes shopping, I search diligently for labels that say "wrinkle-resistant," or "no iron."  Imagine my delight when those crinkly, wrinkly skirts were in fashion. Not only did they NOT require ironing, they required being twisted tightly during drying to maintain the "look."  That fad didn't last long, much to my dismay.

A few years ago, I decided to try to revive my Sunday night ironing routine. First, I needed a board that didn't wobble. I picked out one with the latest visual art trend, "Subway art," in soothing blues and greens, utilizing a variety of fonts to display the many words related to ironing.  

The first time I set up the board, filled the iron with water, and smoothed out the shirt, I realized how soothing it was to simply focus on the task at hand. My favorite Classic R & B station was playing in the background, and I just got lost in ironing away the wrinkles in the fabric. I creased the collars, the back pleat, and the sleeves. I methodically covered the large areas of fabric, steaming away the wrinkles. It was rewarding to watch each section of the shirts become smooth and wrinkle-free.

Talk about dwelling in the moment. It is nearly impossible to multi-task while ironing. Both hands are needed, and care needs to be taken to avoid getting burned. It's just the iron, the clothes, and me. This simple chore is about as close to meditation as it gets for this frenetic, scatter-brained girl. I was totally caught up in what I was doing, and I let my mind go blank. It was almost like having an out-of-body experience, observing the ironing of the shirt, and yet being aware that I was fully present during those moments. 

What simple tasks bring you pleasure? Perhaps there are other little chores, once we lose ourselves in them, that could become something more. If I can find joy, so to speak, in ironing, maybe I could also find it in other household tasks. Being retired, and having a husband who wears business casual clothes to work, I find ironing unnecessary again, but maybe I could lose myself in washing my dishes, folding my laundry, and dusting my furniture. My house would be cleaner, and I could enjoy the process more. Living fully in the moment has the potential for making every moment special, even everyday tasks like ironing.

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