In Praise Of Pottering
There is a Serbian word, that translated to the feeling of contentment and bliss, that delicious sense of oneness with the universe when performing simple pleasures. Those small moments that add up to a fulfilled life. A contented life. I wondered if this is pottering, the Serbian way.One of my main skills in life is pottering. There is an art to high-level pottering and of this, I am a master.
The first rule for sterling pottering is to not have any particular goal in mind. Do not try and finish anything. If the act of pottering results in something being finished, such as the dishes, or planting spring herbs then so be it. It is neither good or bad. It just the outcome of that moment.
Do not set out with a goal. I repeat, no goals today my pottering pal. Just be. Maybe you are looking for a book and end up sorting out the poets from the playwrights. Or you sit on the floor, in front of the bookshelf and read the first three chapters of Love in a Cold Climate because you forgot how much you loved that book.
Stop looking at the time. Time will slow when you’re pottering, so savor the extra minutes and take care with your task. If you want to carefully wipe down the leaves of your Fiddle Fig, then take all the time you need. The Fiddle Fig will enjoy the attention and company.
You are allowed to be distracted. Have three things happening at once. A book open, a recipe you’d like to attempt open on your computer, a sewing project half done with no expectations of when it will be finished. There is no start or end when pottering.
Pick lemons, arrange them in the sweet bowl from the op-shop. Stroke the cat on the neighbor’s fence. Let the tea steep for an extra minute. You have time.
Tidy the car while listening to a podcast, wax the surfboard while humming a tune, pat your dog while sitting in the sunshine. Watch the coriander seeds sprout in the little plastic pot you picked up from the side of the road.
Wipe down a surface but only one. To do more than one is considered cleaning and right now we are pottering. It is about seeing and responding to the moment. Being in the moment and enjoying it.
I love cleaning my desk, with no intention to work there that day. Just wiping it down, rearranging my things, it’s meditative.
I move from moment to moment, doing what I want and what jumps out at me. But not too much because then it’s work and I have enough of that during the week.
Potter or putter or dawdle or tinker to your soul’s content. There is time enough to reach the goals and clean the house and tick things off the list, but for now, relax and feel the merak.