You know that breath of fresh air feeling. When you feel absolute joy in that moment doing that thing. Whatever that thing is. You can breathe with ease. You can't help but smile. There's a warmth inside your chest. You look upwards and say 'Thank you!' and try to stop yourself from dropping to the floor and making 'we're not worthy' arm movements.
Have you ever felt that when you washed the dishes?
When I was a teenager I rolled my eyes when my mum told me to wash the dishes. It's amazing how heavy you feel when you're told to do something. And how light you feel when you're doing something you choose to do that you really love.
After a few run ins with my mum about not washing the dishes, I came to the conclusion it was time to change the situation and to love the dishes. But why would I love the dirty dishes? said my young teenage self. I took a moment and I thought about the dishes a little. And some more. And a weensy bit more until inspiration came.
Dishes bring my family together. They hold my food. They contribute to my health. My food needs to sit somewhere for me to eat it. Food doesn't fly from the fridge into my mouth. I love warm water with suds on my hands. I love the feeling of soaking the water and suds into my sponge and cleaning the plates and bowls and cups and cutlery. And hanging up my sponge to dry out completely. How cool are sponges?! Plates look good when they are stacked in the cupboard. The sink looks so awesome when the dishes have all been cleaned and dried and put away. I love a sparkly silver kitchen sink when it's empty!
And who wouldn't want a magic bag like Mary Poppins that can fit their shiny kitchen sink? Okay so my thoughts went all over the place. It's like that when you're a teenager.
So the next day, I washed the dishes with ease and joy. Because I'd made peace with the kitchen sink. Or the dirty dishes. Or realised how much mum did. Or I was fascinated with the sponge. Maybe one or all of those together.
The main thing is my attitude to this experience of washing the dishes went from heavy to light. And I smiled washing the dishes. And sometimes I even danced while washing the dishes.
I never could understand why there was such a thing as a 'chore'. It rhymed with 'snore' and that's how it felt when placed upon you. And it's even defined as something unpleasant! But if my mum had said to me it's fun to do chores, you can imagine I would have happily passed her the sponge so she could have some fun!
As I fast forward twenty years, I am grateful for my peace in cleaning. It went on to extend to cleaning the floor. Because I was blessing people's feet. Or cleaning a room because I had more space to create. Or washing the windows because I could see the shiny glass. To my clothes because I could feel the sun on my back as I hung them up on the line. Because pegs were fascinating. And I loved that "fresh" smell.
It made me consider that when you are in service as a cleaner, you are loving a persons home. You are bringing peace there. Because how does it feel when you arrive home at the end of a busy day to a clean home? And we are back to the deep breath of fresh air. :)
I share my cleaning peace with my family. I jump at the chance to clean the dishes at my mum or my grandmothers place. I even surprise them. So I get a double joy - the fun of an empty sparkly sink and a surprised smile on someone's face! :)
I have even received colourful sponges as gifts! It was an on-going inside joke, but I loved it! I'm saving people money too, have you seen the shaped ones in Daiso Japan's $2.80 store?
Of course this has rippled into all areas of my life.
I enjoy sitting at the dinner table with our sparkly clean dishes and our healthy food of all colours. Whether it's my hands, my son's hands or my partner's holding the sponge in the warm sudsy water, we've all contributed to the blessing of our home. And we've got that breath of fresh air. And cleaning is fun. And there's no such thing as chore (snore) but creating a peaceful relaxing home.
I even eat salads now. I never saw the need before. But then my lovely home made table spoke to me. It said it wanted healthy food. It reminded me like the sink reminded me, to bless it. And so I realised that I could make the fabulous buffet dinners that I had at a restaurant, or the breakfasts complimentary at the hotel. It turns out you save alot on breakfast if you don't pay a few hundred dollars for a hotel room. It might not be free but it's worth the few dollars outlay on the ingredients. And it turns out you don't need much either, it's just the feeling of having lots of options and eating bits of everything. And you made it. And the collaboration of each family member contributing something to that meal makes it all the more special.
Whether it's sponges or salads, that you have issues with, locate the benefit and you'll breathe easier.
And bring more peace.
And you might just look at your kitchen sink in a whole new way!
Sandy Lee Jones
ps- Yep, I instagram'd my kitchen sink. As of ten minutes ago. Complete with bubbles and clean dishes and drying sponges.