dish therapy

not the kind where we vent about our problems and gossip about ourselves and others.  not any other kind but the kind that you wash. 

i let the water run as hot as i can stand it.  i prepare the sponge with a dollop of liquid soap and a light run under the hot coursing water.  i squeeze it to get the right moisture levels.  i run the dish under the water then start with the scrubby side of the sponge.  i let the hot water merge with my skin and i see the dish magically transform as all of the past is cleansed.  bits and chunks break off and stickier spots are wiped away with some applied pressure.  i focus on spotlessness.  i run my hands over every cranny of the dish.  i finger the spine of the lingerers.  and i place more attention and weight on these stubborn yet small specks of hardness.  burn and rust are deceptive.  looking tougher than they are.  i feel them in their new condition, their weight bouncing in my palm – cold, smooth and shiny – and they are all done.  i was one.  with the dishes.  for mere moments i lost myself in the sink.  i give it one last rub down with some sponge and dawn.  it passes more quickly then i imagined. 

i surrendered to the dishes only recently.  maybe in the past 6 months to a year i have been noticing how i kind of enjoy doing the dishes.  i look for reasons to do them.  i resist them like a lover i still want but pretend to spurn …  who me?  oh dishes, i really wish i could but i have this book to read … well, you really don’t take too long …  i began to realize that when i was feeling agitated or restless that i would have a thought to go do the dishes.  and then i would and i would be calm.  i noticed that when i was doing the dishes that nearly indescribable feeling of synchronicity overtook me … peace.  really, how do we define that hum …

you get the point.  me and dishes got mad history.  i used to hate doing the dishes.  the dishes drove me into despair.  i would let big piles mount.  i’ve had friends just come over and wash the dishes while they were visiting.   dishes were a large part of my depression.  i read later that many depressed people resist the dishes.  then we beat ourselves up for being a dirty no-dish washer … and then we become more paralyzed and inactive. i was humbled yet still crippled by the thought of dishes.  key word is thought.  they were so insurmountable and tedious in my mind.  it was like my personal rebellion against everything i thought was mundane in life.  key word is thought. it was like i was angry at the dishes.  angy at the unfairness of life.  i knew i was beating my head against an infinity of dishes.  they always come back!  i have worked to get rid of certain thoughts. 

slowly through a period of about seven years i created a new agreement with myself.  dishes are necessary.  every thing i had once considered tedious and mundane was now a devotion to God.  i thought often of the ashrams where you have to clean as part of service to God.  how you clean because it is absolutely necessary and you are no better than another to do the cleaning. and how you can clean to serve others, yourself, and a higher force.  i rebuilt some thoughts to understand this small but integral part of life.  and allow me to master those aspects of living.  i figured if i wasn’t going to bow out of life then i would have to get the hang of it.  i yearned to be happy in all things.  even while standing at the sink. 

i used to wish to be other places while washing dishes.  i even talked about it with my therapist back in 2006ish.  she suggested that i look at it as a time to think and actually relax.  i couldn’t comprehend what her mouth was saying.  it seemed like such a large leap of thought.  key word is thought.  i have now immersed myself in the ritual.  submitted to the divine power of making things clean.  falling into every moment of the process.  glad to be standing and serving.  feeling that it is now relaxing and therapeutic.  makes me scratch my head a little bit.  God is amazing.  and he has brought me so far.  it’s like i have been reborn.  and my eyes have really been opened.  a veil has lifted … i am like a child in wonder at all the smallest moments of life.  a rapturous wonder. 

i found love in the dishes. 


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