zen habits : breathe

Love Notes

By Leo Babauta

My family leaves little unintentional loves notes for me all over the place.

I’m a bit of a neat freak — I like things decluttered and clean. And so when people in my house leave things around (which happens when you have lots of kids, naturally), I catch myself getting a little frustrated.

“Why can’t they clean up after themselves?” I’ll catch myself thinking. I know this is a self-centered thought, so when I’m mindful, I can just watch the thought arise and then let it pass peacefully by.

I’m not proud of it, but other times I don’t notice the selfishness and it can get me irritated. Lately I’ve discovered a mental trick that I really love: I see the things my family leaves around as little love notes for me.

My daughter leaves her legos all over the living room? A love note for me — yay! My son left his cookie crumbs all over the counter? Another love note — amazing! I can pick up after them gratefully, or give them a hug of thanks and ask them to clean up.

The legos can be seen as frustrating, because why don’t they clean up, or I can see them as the physical manifestation of my daughter’s personality, the things she’s passionate about, the playfulness in her heart. And I can realize that if she weren’t living with me, yes I’d have a lovely neat nevermessy home … but then she wouldn’t be in my life.

So now I see the legos as a reminder that I have this beautiful person in my life. A love note, unintented unexpected unendurably full of love.



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