I’m anxious, driven. I am always thinking, worrying. Pausing for quiet is hard. I have to really concentrate to shut my brain off and find peace. That’s why I like to wash the dishes.
It helps that I don’t have a dishwasher. I’ve thought about installing one so the house is easier to sell someday. But if the dishes are to be washed, my hands have to get into soapy water.
Most of the time, I end up lost in thought while washing dishes. But have you ever really paid attention to how warm dishwater or a scratchy dishtowel feels on your hands? Have you ever paused to breathe in the scent of your sink as it fills with suds, as the leftover food smells are overtaken by your dish soap?
I iron my shirts, too. I like a clean, pressed look. But have you ever really felt your shirts’ fabric between your fingers, listened to your iron vent steam, felt the humidity building in the air?
When I focus on noticing these things, these mindless tasks become mindful. My worrisome thoughts drift; my mind quiets. I shed stress and I feel calm. And, strangely, these mundane jobs become sensually interesting.
I don’t do it often enough, but when I do I find that now can be pretty interesting and wonderful — and think that maybe the future over which I worry will be too when it gets here.
“The present moment is full of joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” — Thích Nhất Hạnh