Washing Dishes

 

For some reason — inexplicable to me — I have felt called to wash dishes. Perhaps, it is the routine. Perhaps, it is the simplicity. But, for some reason, after years of having disdain for washing dishes — I have insisted that almost every evening — the dishes are washed.

At first glance, washing dishes may seem insignificant, but it is not. In comparison to the previous year of my life, where my mind was active with the stresses of the day — I could not wash dishes with joy. This year, the simplicity of washing dishes — one at a time — is giving me peace-of-mind.

In washing the dishes, I recognize how much I like the warm water running on my fingers; I remembered washing dishes everyday at the ashram in the Catskill Mountains as a kid.

Last year, I remember being angry when I washed the dishes. I would feel frustrated until they were done — primarily, because I wanted to shutdown after a busy day. Today (at least for the past week), I am seeing the gift of mental space and time to do something routine with my hands.

2400 Items in 4 Hours: Letting Go of the Old

With KindSprings.org‘s 21 day simple living challenge coming to a close…I had an itch. An itch to go home — to my parents place — and donate, declutter and free myself of all my old things.

I started with my closet. I had clothes from when I was 20 pounds heavier – an expensive suit, dress pants and lots of shirts I never wore. None of these clothes were worn in four years but I was always worried that I would return to my old weight, so I kept them. Today, I said goodbye.

80 pieces of clothing?

Next, the books

My family has and will always seemingly be obsessed with books. I began going through the books. One by one, I saw my to do list of things I wanted to learn something about, but I never got around to it: reading Sophocles, Homer, etc. I said it’s time to let it go and give someone else these amazing books.
Books!

IMG_4562

Next, the gadgets:

I had my graphing calculator from freshman year of high school, my cool iMac with the moving head, an old sound system and countless wires. It’s time to go.

Throughout the process, my chest felt lighter and lighter. I felt relieved to be letting go of the past, to let in the new.

Gadgets!

Next, DVDS

Movies have been my comfort food. I would watch Gladiator or some other movie countless times. I liked the certainty of a the hero winning in the end. It was time to let go. 100 DVDs later, I felt free.

throwing away DVDs

The main point of the story is this: the movies, the books, the clothes, the countless gadgets are a part of my story. My story of who or what I was and maybe still am. By letting go of them physically, I am perhaps giving room for a new story (which will also have to go one day too!)

This seems to be just the beginning of this letting go experiment.

P.S. I’m not sure if there are 2,400 items in that huge pile above, but I think it is very close.

How to suffer?

Sometimes moments are tough. Sometimes you don't know how to do, what you have to do. There is no way around it…only through it.

Arduous struggle. Whether it is the woman I used to see on the side of Whole Foods in Chelsea wrapped in garbage bags, during the middle of winter, and smelling like urine. Or, whether it is your loved one that is in extreme pain, and you have no control. Or, when you have to do something you don't want to do, but you must for whatever reason.

I am not going to say: prioritize. I am not going to say: be mindful. I am going to say: suffer.

Choose to let the thoughts run wild; choose to suffer; and, then choose to feel the pain.

And, then choose something else.

And, then watch this: