(January 2007. Photo by Robin)
Before Enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water.
After Enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water.
— Zen saying
Washing dishes, my hands soak in the warmth and wetness of the dishwater. Washing dishes, I feel the steam from the water rising up my hands, my arms, breathing it in, soothing my sinuses on this dry winter day. Washing dishes, I listen to the bubbles popping and crinkling in the water, tickled as they burst on my arms and hands. Washing dishes, I delight in the feeling of clean. Washing dishes, I find a slow and graceful process of movement in the wiping, scrubbing, rinsing, and placing of the dishes in the dish rack. From right to left: wash, rinse, rack, wash, rinse, rack, wash, rinse, rack, until all the dishes are sparkling clean.
Washing dishes, the sunlight streams in through the window and warms me further. Washing dishes, I hear the sounds of traffic outside of our apartment building. The pattern of the traffic sounds begins to sound like waves, rolling in and out.
Washing dishes, I am thankful that my feet, legs, and back are all supporting me. Washing dishes, I am thankful for the floor, the building, and the earth that also support me. Washing dishes, I am thankful that I am right here, right now, washing dishes.
Washing dishes, I can see and feel my accomplishment, a job well done.