Lubbock author wants you to find meaning in your cleaning

Lauren Castle Brownell is a Baptist, not a Buddhist, but she is into Zen because she hates dish washing.

And because she is not overly fond of other housekeeping chores, either, she has written a book designed to enable housekeepers everywhere to overcome the mundane with the sublime.

Her new book is titled “Zen and the Art of Housekeeping,” and it’s subtitle is “The Path to Finding Meaning in Your Cleaning.”

“The idea came to me while I was washing dishes,” Brownell said. “I’m sitting there washing dishes, and I’m hating it. Then I thought, you know, I’m just wishing away moments of my life. I need to feel positive about this.”

So, the virtual light bulb over her head came on in a moment and led her to Zen.

According to a consensus of scholarly definitions, Buddhism’s Zen contends that enlightenment can come through self-contemplation, meditation, and perhaps intuition. It is thought to have arisen in China, then was active in Japan by the 12th century, and had proponents in the West by the latter 20th century.

“Zen is not a religion,” Brownell maintains. “Zen is just a philosophy of life that is about embracing each moment. It is based on Buddhist concepts and teachings, but it is in no way at odds with anyone’s religious beliefs. It’s just a way of changing your thinking and really being in the moment and valuing each moment for what it is.”

Did it work for housecleaning?

“It did work,” she said. “It absolutely did. I felt like if I could just help one person change their thinking, and embrace the thing that has to be done for the betterment of our lives and our families, then it was worthwhile.”

She said the purpose of the book is to share with others what she has discovered.

“People ask me if I have a gorgeous clean house. No. It’s not about perfection. It’s finding what works for you.”

Although the book is aimed primarily at women, Brownell thinks it could prove profitable for anyone.

“There is stuff in there for everybody,” she said. “I think anybody could use it. It could be about cleaning your dorm room; it could be about a bachelor cleaning his apartment.

“The book has a chapter on cleaning a bathroom, a chapter on doing the laundry, a chapter on doing the floors and a chapter on cleaning green – getting more environmentally friendly.

“It’s 50 percent spirituality in getting to know yourself better and why you do the things you do, and 50 percent immediately usable cleaning tips.

“I am a glass-half-full kind of girl who did not write this book because I’m a great housekeeper. I wrote this book because I don’t like housekeeping and had to find a way to make it a more positive experience.”

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