When I was five-years-old, I used to have this special ritual while washing the dishes. To make a long story short, my parents took me out of the kindergarten the year before I started the 1st grade, and I used to be at home on my own a lot. In my memories, those days felt so slow and so beautifully undisturbed – I had the absolute freedom to play, organise our home and read a ridiculous amount of fairy-tales and books about magic.
Washing the dishes was one of my favourite housework activities. I would line the dirty dishes up in a massive queue, one next to another, across all the countertops. And then I would decide what it was that they were all waiting for – to see a dentist perhaps, or a doctor, or maybe to have a shower. And then one by one, I would attend to them by washing them, and the whole queue would shorten a little. I would talk to them, ask them questions about how they were feeling and about their family members. And what was even stranger yet (or maybe not so strange after all), was that I could really feel and hear them. I could sense their impatience, the discomfort of their toothache or at wanting to have that shower, or the jealousy if someone skipped the queue (forks used to do that a lot), or even hear them argue (again, forks were often vicious and hard to get along with).
And throughout all this process everything would get organised in the neatest, most perfect way that I am sure even Marie Kondo – world famous organising consultant from Japan – would have been proud of. Clean plates would get aligned from the smallest to the largest, cups would be stacked side by side by colour, and utensils would return to their drawers. When it was all finished, I could actually feel their relief, restful ease and gratitude.
I have a new special ritual now while washing the dishes (or doing any other housework, really). And that is to deeply, profoundly, mindfully become aware of my sense of touch, of every single thing that comes into contact with my fingertips, and expressing in my mind – or even out loud – gratitude for it. The sponge for being so full of foam, water for the perfect temperature, the cup for holding my tea, the spoon for accompanying my daughter during breakfast, the juicer for squeezing out the sunny goodness from the oranges, food left-overs for making our dog happy. One by one – finding reasons to be grateful for how my life has been enhanced by that specific collection of atoms connecting with my fingertips. And it is as if in that moment each one of these objects lights up and becomes alive for a split second in the exchange of our energies. It feels like a crossing of paths, a dance, a profound sense of oneness.
To make a long story short, I am a stay-at-home mom, so I am at home with my daughter a lot. Doing the dishes is still one of my favourite housework activities. And the more I allow myself these special rituals of mindfulness, the more I am certain that in my memories the days that I am living right now will be forever etched as so slow and so beautifully undisturbed. I have the absolute freedom to play with my daughter, organise our home and continue to read a ridiculous amount of fairy-tales and books about magic.Tags: childhood gratitude loving what is magic Marie Kondo mindfulness