I’m writing this sitting at our kitchen counter. My wife is at the other end mixing together the ingredients for some hamburgers, while our daughter is building a house in Mindcraft, and the dog just went upstairs to probably curl up in her bed. The kitchen is filled with the smell of fresh homemade hamburger buns in the oven. It’s really a wonderful smell and I’m lucky to have a talented baker / cook (and overall amazing person) in my life .
Last night I was doing the dishes and really noticing the look of the water running over a pot I was rinsing. It poured off in droplets and the light from the window was shining through them.
I’m working on being more “in the moment”. Sometimes I see the light through the water or sit and smell the fresh bread baking. Other times I completely fail at it, hurry through a task or meal and miss out on the simple good that’s around me.
I know that I’ve mentioned in previous posts that our dishwasher gave out so we’ve been hand-washing a lot of dishes. I could moan and grumble about this or I can take the advice of Patti Digh and of Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and think of washing the dishes as a meditative practice (Digh told me this when she was on the Better Me Podcast recently). Rabbi and author Danya Ruttenberg suggests in her book Nurturing the Wow, that we use many of the often boring or frustrating tasks at home in this way.
When we try to thoroughly experience and appreciate the ordinary and tedious tasks such as washing dishes, folding laundry, even shovelling snow or mowing the lawn, these tasks can become a very different experience. I cleaned up the yard from our dog this morning. My wife had earlier said that we and our daughter should do it this afternoon, but because I know how much my wife hates to do this (as much as I do) I went out and did it while she was working out and our daughter was still asleep. While it’s a disgusting task, I tried to focus on the sunshine, that I could be out there without a jacket (spring finally arrived), and that this would make my wife happy.
I’m not looking for pats on the back. My wife does a lot and sometimes I drop the ball on contributing to getting those home things done. This isn’t about what I did. It’s about the mindset I had while doing it.
I’m listening to the burgers sizzle as well as the sound of birds outside (did I mention that spring finally arrived), plus the sound of my fingers tapping away on the keyboard. The buns just came out and they look wonderful. Soon I’ll taste them and enjoy the company of my family as we eat dinner.
As I did clean the yard and I did laundry already today, I’m leaving the meditative practice of doing the dishes to our daughter tonight. I doubt she’ll see it that way, but I’ve meditated enough for one day.
Featured image courtesy of Marco Verch under a CC-BY license.