Friday, 18 November 2011

the zen of dishwashing

I can't even believe I just wrote that. Normally, dishwashing is anything but zen for me. It's something I avoid doing, and do just because the mess is driving me crazy.

Other times, I get a bit cranky and even shove the dishes around a little bit loudly just to show what a great job I'm doing of caring for my family by doing all of their dishes.

But lately, I've almost enjoyed doing the dishes. Almost. There's been something very relaxing about it - warm hands in a sink full of bubbles, methodically washing the cups then silverware then plates then pots. There's been no slamming of dishes. There's been almost a routine - what, Rebecca? A routine? - of washing dishes that happens AFTER THE MEAL instead of the next morning. This is revolutionary in our household. [Mom: this is not your fault; it's mine. You taught me well. I know I'm SUPPOSED to do the dishes right after the meal. I'm just lazy and would rather read and write.]

It really is calming when I let it be. My feet are planted, my hands stuck in water, moving through the dishes as my mind wanders. And it can wander in a more peaceful way than when my body is wandering around the house trying to do too much.

I love the look of clean counters. And I've noticed that washing dishes can make my crappy moods go away. It's magic! Instead of going to bed feeling crappy because the dishes aren't done, I don't! Instead of waking up and feeling crappy because the dishes aren't done, I don't! It really is remarkable what wonderful feelings can come from a clean house. Many wise people have known this before me; I'm just a bit slow I guess.

I even have pretty, colourful rocks that are on the windowsill by the kitchen sink. So I can look at them and try to believe that I'm getting some kind of good energy from them. Spending $3.00 on these at the market seemed like a good investment in a cleaner kitchen. Whatever works, right?

Wishing you a weekend of zen dishwashing. :)


  1. I have often commented that I don't MIND washing dishes, even find it a bit relaxing for the same reasons you mentionned. I just get a bit bored doing it night after night or get lazy too. So I sometimes leave them for a night, 2 nights....

  2. Ha! I love the image of you shoving the dishes around. It made me laugh out loud! My mood is also lifted when I have clean counters. I must confess though, I have a dishwasher to help me do the work :)

  3. Teena: I can totally relate to the boredom. And the leaving it for 2 nights...

    Kristen: no need to confess. I have one of those helpers too, but I still get behind at times.

  4. oh, rebecca, i enjoyed this post! i personally enjoy washing dishes {crazy, i know}...but i truly do find it relaxing. the warm water, the deliberateness of my actions. i'm not much into housecleaning per se {that's a whole nother story!} but dishes have always been good for me. so glad you've found peace in it...not that it will be a zen experience everytime...but at least sometimes...
    happy zen dishwashing!!!

  5. I feel the same way about ironing, but it has to be a steam iron so you get that pfffft sound and the burst of warm vapour heading skyward. There is something so relaxing about the gliding movements, sailing through wrinkles and making everything so beautifully smooth. Cooking (when I have time, and it's not a mad rush to feed the little birdies waiting impatiently with their mouths open) can give the same effect. The swoosh of the knife chopping vegetables, the whirl of the blender. Methodically peeling, stirring, listening to things bubbling away.

  6. Michelle: I'm not much into housecleaning either. :( My mother-in-law has always said the same thing about dishes - that she really doesn't mind doing them. Even enjoys them.

    Mara, well, you've inspired me. I'll have to try ironing some day. First I have to buy a new iron. And I know what you mean about cooking. I love how you describe the sounds - both in the ironing and cooking that are relaxing and calming. Beautiful.