Years ago I read an art review in the Washington Post about a certain sculptor’s creative process. Before he worked, he swept his leanly furnished studio. For about two hours every morning he swept back and forth as a way to clear and steady his mind. Every day for lunch he ate pea soup, which he both liked and needed, in order to make his saliva viscus. Then, after lunch, he sat down to create tiny shapes out of tiny pieces of gold, using his viscous saliva in some important way.
I made a trip to the Corcoran with my then three-year-old son to marvel at these tiny objects wrought from repetitive motion, clear mind, viscous saliva, and gold. Explaining the preparatory steps to my active preschooler, I hoped to convey the importance of serenity and focus.
I’m not much of a sweeper myself. However I fantasize about having a moss garden and sweeping it clean every morning.
We have small patches of moss in our yard. My gardening friend, Linda, told me that in order to expand existing moss patches, one must pluck out any blades of grass or other plant that pops up in the middle of the moss. One must pull the invaders out by their roots.
And so I did that this morning. The gentle sunshine was on my back and I knelt to pull out grass and White Man’s Foot, leaving violets to flourish. This was a wonderful meditation – listening to bird song and smelling new earthy smells. I am devoted to this practice and have been doing it for three whole days now.
This morning I worked for a solid four minutes until I felt it was time to make another cup of coffee and blog about it.