It is possible to find contentment even when you’re surrounded by piles of dirty dishes

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Last night I was standing over the kitchen sink doing dishes. Only it wasn’t just the dishes in the sink. There was an oppressively loooong line of dishes snaking down the counter, too. As Dave tucked the girls in to bed, I turned on a little music, put on the green rubber gloves and got to work.

At first, I felt satisfied by my task and grateful that Dave made such a delicious dinner. I progressed quickly, loading the dishwasher-safe stuff into the machine. The tail of the snake was efficiently amputated by my tetris-like diswasher-loading acumen. When that was done, I went around the kitchen collecting the stray cooking bowls, knives and utensils from the nearby counters. This is when I felt the grumbling begin.

“This is way too many dishes to have at the end of the evening. Dave should clean up as he goes. This is such a drag. It’ll be an hour before I finish with this job and I’m tired.” This all happened in my head and I could feel myself turning toward the grouchy dark side. My whole body started to close off. This line of thinking is practiced and ingrained. It is such a strong saṁskāra that it’s tough to get out of once it starts. Resentment. Frustration. Anger. Duḥkha.

Miraculously, before I was completely taken over another voice spoke up, “Yeah, but Dave made a delicious dinner and there is something very satisfying about washing and cleaning. You have this sweet family and beautiful, functional dishes, and hot water that comes right out of this faucet and you could focus on that. Remember samtoṣa.  Find a way to be content even here.” I could actually feel the ease come back into my body with these thoughts. Gratitude. Love. Kindness. Sukha.

With each dish pile I tackled, the internal dialogue went back and forth. Duḥkha vs. sukha. The dark, heavy feeling in my chest, the anger, and the closing down vs. the light, open, willing and loving attitude.   In such a tangible way, I noticed the shifts in my system that went with each mental/emotional state. Recognizing this made it easy to know where I wanted to land. I wanted to be able to enjoy the last quiet hour with Dave before bed instead of stewing about this stupid dish-strategy argument for the 121st time in our married life.

And here’s the amazing part… I did!

I looked at the diminishing dish piles and made it through. I wiped down the counters and the stove. I polished up the sink. I rearranged the flowers in the vase and I did my best to stay connected to contentment. When I was finished, I joined Dave in the living room and from his place on the couch he said, “Thanks for doing all those dishes. I know there were a lot. I even cleaned up some as I went.” And I smiled and said, “I’m just so glad you made dinner for us. It was delicious. I love you.” And I meant every word.

amanda green yoga therapy

Cultivate contentment: Holiday Stress Preparation through Yoga

Upcoming Workshop near Austin, TX!

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

10:15-11:45AM
Onion Creek Country Club
Fee: $35 member/ $40 guest

As 2015 comes to a close, move into the upcoming Holiday Season with mindfulness and grace. This workshop will provide steps to learn gentle breathing and calming techniques to help you manage and even avoid the stresses of the season. You’ll leave empowered with tools you can use for self-care, self-reflection and gratitude.

To register, please contact: Amanda or mreininger@onioncreekclub.com

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