I made a point of folding laundry and hand washing some sweaters while I listened to an On Being interview with artist Ann Hamilton--who often uses textiles in her work--because I find that it's altogether too easy for me to disconnect from the physical world. Especially during the winter, I disproportionately live in my head.
It's not only detrimental to my physical health, it's also hard on my emotional and spiritual health.
Unless, for some reason rooted deeply in my soul, water is involved (I like doing dishes!), necessary tasks that require working with my hands tend to feel like a burden, an irritation. One of my goals in life is to fundamentally shift my perspective, to not just stop gritting my teeth through those tasks, but to find transcendence.
When my friend Shelley went immediately from finishing a masters degree in art history to having twin daughters, I remember her talking about how satisfying it was to suddenly be immersed in a tactile world after living in such a cerebral one. (Now, by the way, with four children under the age of five, she works to maintain her sanity by dipping herself back into the cerebral world whenever she has the chance.)
Tactile immersion probably isn't the answer for me with everything else I have going on. But making a consistent, conscious effort to dip in might help. (And I'm sort of liking the mental image that creates. Because water.)
So I folded the laundry, then washed the sweaters in the sink. As I laid them out on towels, trying to arrange the stubborn things into their proper shapes, I stopped to breathe through my annoyance.
This will take practice.