The Art of Puttering

The Art of Puttering

Call it grounded, centered, being at peace, comfortable in your skin, in the moment, whole, whatever works for you. I’m thinking of the sense you have that you’re here, and you’re just fine; not flying around in a million directions, not in the frustrated past, the scary future, or lost in your head. You are right here, safe and whole – in your Self, regardless of where you actually are. It’s the perfect place to be! At least that’s how it feels to me when I’m connected and fulfilled in this moment.

There are numerous ways to access this feeling of peace and rightness. Here’s a partial list: meditation, visualization, prayer, yoga, spending time in nature, music, making something, exercising, connecting with a friend, etc. Even just stopping for a moment and checking in with your body (feeling the breeze in your hair, your body in the chair, your heart beating) can bring you into this state of grace.

And, recently, I re-discovered a way that’s actually vital to my well-being – puttering, especially around the house. The definition of putter is “to occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner doing a number of small tasks, not concentrating on anything in particular; to move or go in a casual, unhurried way: to loiter”. I’m not sure about you, but to loiter is one of my favorite things! And I like to loiter in my home while occupying myself in a number of small tasks – especially pleasant ones. I re-style my table tops, change out curtains, arrange flowers, move furniture, shine up mirrors, light candles, boogie to a favorite song…

As a double Cancer with a Virgo-ruled 4th house (for you astrology buffs out there) my home is really important to me! I’ve always cared for my home (many homes actually). I am, after all, an interior designer, so I’ve cared for others’ homes too. But I wasn’t aware until recently how vital the intimate connection of undertaking small tasks in a pleasant manner was to me. Lately, I’ve been “busy”, and there were “important” things to do, so I haven’t allowed myself the time to putter. And I suffered, without knowing the cure, until I was so tired I really couldn’t manage anything but some desultory puttering. Immediately, I felt better! The sun came out, clouds parted, and I was myself again, and at peace with the world.

Puttering plants you in the now. It’s attention without stress, yearning, or striving. It cares for the soul home as well as the physical home. It’s caring for the place you live and for yourself. It’s fun! It’s play! And your house looks better too. For me it’s like moving meditation and connection to the divine that lives in all things. It seems inconsequential, unimportant, but it’s not.

What activities center or ground you? What brings you into the moment in a peaceful and pleasurable way? What things do you do that have no particular purpose but to soothe or delight? Are you denying yourself a bit of puttering because you’re too busy?

When you take the time to enjoy pleasurable small activities in this moment you’ll come back to your “important” tasks with a lot more joy and focus. So, go ahead, putter!

With Love,