The Dishwashing Meditation

Are you one of those people who know you should be meditating but you still haven’t found the time to do so in the ten or twenty plus years you’ve been meaning to? You know it’s good for you, but yet you don’t do it. You still can’t find the time. Other things are still more important like watering the plants, cleaning out the kitty litter, making your kids’ lunches, washing the dishes, tidying the bedrooms, etc. You know that meditating is worth so much more for your health than all those other things, but yet you still…don’t…do it.

(And I’m talking from experience!)

I’m here to amalgamate the two for you: house chores and meditation. (Choritation?)

You know you’re going to get your house chores done, am I right? So now your meditation will get done no matter what. Your house will be clean, and so will your mind.

But first…

An evening in the life of Meghan:

The dishes were piled high. The scent of burnt beef was still in the air. The frying pan encrusted with over-cooked sausage called my name every time I walked by. The cappuccino machine was still splattered with this morning’s over-frothed milk. The soiled cutting board still held half a head of cauliflower on it because, damnit, I was just too busy to put it back in the fridge!

But I REALLY need to go and unwind, get peaceful in my body, and relax.

But it’s already nine o’clock, I’m getting tired, and those dishes won’t clean themselves…

…ok…insert about five more minutes of mind garble-gook here…and then…

I remember that meditation doesn’t mean having to sit cross-legged on the floor, with your eyes closed and with a softly-scented candle burning in a dark room. Meditation simply means training your mind to “stop” to invoke a more relaxed and peaceful state of consciousness. (Well, that’s MY definition, anyways). There are so many forms of meditation; it really can look a variety of different ways.

So here we go. The Dishwashing Meditation for you.

Place your feet on the floor and turn on the water.

Wait!

How do your feet feel on the floor? Are you wearing socks or are you barefoot? It may help to be barefoot to help ground you into the floor better. Take a moment to recognize how your feet feel touching the linoleum, hard wood, carpet (blech, I hope not in the kitchen!) It may help to use progressive relaxation techniques if you’re a newbie at this. This would mean scrunching your toes up, holding them scrunched for a few seconds, and then releasing them. You’ll notice the energy in your feet way easier this way.

Slowly place your hand under the water and feel the temperature of it. It may help to place the top of your hand under the water, as that area is more sensitive to touch than our palms are. Pay attention to how the water feels on the specific area it is hitting. Slowly rock your hand back and forth to feel the water hitting different areas.

Pick up that soiled pot and notice how your hand feels touching the handle. Place all of your attention on the sensation of grabbing the pot (or whatever you are washing) in your hands.

(Minds that are currently in the gutter can now come out. We are talking about a mindful meditation here!!!!!) 🙂

And your mind will want to chime in thousands of times during your dishwashing meditation. I simply say out loud (or in my head if I’m not alone) “Reset” when I notice my mind wanting to contribute its two cents. It helps to re-center and bring me back to my body. (If I were to say this aloud around people they would think there was a hyper-active parrot loose in the house).

And most importantly, pay attention to your breathing during your dishwashing meditation. Let you belly pooch out and let that sucker fill with air. Washing the dishes isn’t a beauty contest. You don’t need to suck in that gut while you loiter in the kitchen wearing rubber gloves! Let it all hang out, and enjoy the feeling of fully breathing. This is breathing for your health at its finest. Try to make your inhalation and exhalation the same length, and allow the air to go in and out through your nose. While you are feeling the touch of water on your hands, the sensation of stainless steel in your palms, try to also pay attention to the feeling of the air passing in and out through your nose.

At this point you’ll probably need to lovingly but firmly say “Reset! Reset! Polly wants to reset?”

Then, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.

You’ll notice (and if you don’t, you’ll just need more practice) a feeling of peace, relaxation, and bliss intermittently whilst scrubbing your Tupperware. Time will seem to pass by slower. Your limbs may feel warm and cozy. Your heart may feel expansive and open. You may even smile for no reason. Until your mind wants to let you know for the four-hundredth time how that woman should have not been so rude over the phone!

So you say “Reset” and bring yourself back to your body, your breath, your sensations. Joy and peace will pop up again within the silence you are creating for yourself.

Then rinse, repeat, and rinse, repeat…

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