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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wash the Dishes With All Your Heart

I have been in a bit of a reflective mood lately, so when I was sent the following article, I read it and thought it was an interesting piece. My thoughts follow the article.

Wash the Dishes with All Your Heart
by Victoria Moran
Author of Living a Charmed Life: Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day

In a charmed life, the best thing going is what is happening now. Even the most dazzling lives are punctuated more by commas and periods than by exclamation marks. You virtually guarantee a charmed life when you can give yourself as fully to doing the dishes, and tending to the other miscellanea that make up your day, as to some grand adventure. This is because you can count on the dishes. They’ll be there alongside the grand adventures, and if no adventure is immediately forthcoming, the dishes won't let you down. Besides, feelings of enthusiasm, excitement, and positivity about anything and everything attract adventures to a life the way an open bag of trail mix attracts bears to a campsite. They just can't stay away.

About fifteen years ago, I picked up a severe case of flu while traveling and it kept me in bed for a month. I'll never forget the first night I washed dishes after I was better. It was the most delectable experience: warm water halfway up to my elbows, and slippery, shimmery suds to play in. I momentarily wondered if the high fever had addled my brain -- I mean, please: dishes? -- but if it took being addled to feel this extraordinary, I didn't want it any other way.

During the first few weeks of getting back into life, I was having these ah-ha moments during activities once inconsequential in their ordinariness. "Wow, driving a stick is really fun! . . . What did they put in this hot cider? It's amazing! . . . The sunset was so beautiful I pulled my car over to look at it." Smitten with my new way of seeing things but questioning its normality, I called one of my mentors, a woman named Gladys Lawler who was nearing ninety and always knew the answer.

She told me that everything seemed so stunning because I was in the moment. "When you're in the moment," she explained, "everything is exquisite because you're truly experiencing it." Life, I learned from Gladys that day, ought to be this way all the time, but we're so used to being removed from the present by keeping our minds one place and our bodies another that these periods of resplendence are uncommon. She also told me that I'd be back to the old, disconnected way of being before long, but that since I now knew that being truly present was possible, I could remind myself to go there again.

Her prediction was correct. As soon as my full strength returned, I was back to busy mode: scheduling, planning ahead, multi-tasking. But even now, the otherworldly beauty of that convalescent time can come back when I'm washing dishes. I have a dishwasher these days but I often use the sink just the same. It gives me the opportunity to stand in one spot and focus on one cup, one glass, or one perfectly circular rubber gasket that, in its modesty, gives me the use of my blender.

I recommend that you try some conscious dish washing. Release all judgment ("I always get stuck with the dishes . . . ") and just be with the process. Run the water and be aware of the sound it makes rushing from tap to sink. Look at the bottle of soap before you squeeze: what's in it? Do you like how it smells? Watch the suds as they build and billow. Pick up a dish at random -- your coffee mug maybe, or the bowl your daughter used for cereal this morning -- and regard it as a gift from a grab bag. Have fun with it. Maybe it has something to tell you, something to remind you of. Be with it and with every subsequent plate and fork and measuring cup until the task is through.

Then give yourself as wholeheartedly to whatever comes next. In a charmed life, the best thing going is what is happening now, even when it's scouring a skillet.

Lucky charm: The next time you do the dishes, feel the water, caress the crockery, and be present with all that's in you.

The above is an excerpt from the book Living a Charmed Life:Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day by Victoria Moran.

My Thoughts:

The moral being that, we all need to take some time, slow down, and just focus on the task at hand. Speaking for myself, my normal day consists of reminding myself to do this or that at work, at home or on line, all while completing the task at hand. It's almost as if I'm wishing my life away. Or better yet, working my life away through activities.

I have had some personal things lately that have made me re-evaluate how I go through my days at work and at home. I have realized I need to slow things down and focus on one thing at a time. Just enjoy the task for what it is, and think it through clearly, instead worrying about what comes next. When you do that your energy is scattered instead of focused, thus driving you crazy. At least that is what happens to me, and I can't have that right now. So breath, focus and enjoy just washing the dishes.
It's working for me :)

The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process.
Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2009

Author Information:
Victoria Moran, author of Living a Charmed Life:Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every DayAuthor BioVictoria Moran, author of Living a Charmed Life:Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day, is an inspirational speaker, a certified life coach, and the author of ten books including The Love-Powered Diet, Lit from Within; Fat, Broke & Lonely No More; and the international bestseller Creating a Charmed Life. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including Body + Soul, Natural Health, and Yoga Journal. Her blog, "Your Charmed Life," is published daily on She lives a charmed life in New York City.
Visit Victoria Moran online at


Blodeuedd said...

I just love the title of this book, very clever :)

Anonymous said...

Great article! It reminds me of one of my favorite books - Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. He also talks of being mindful of the moment, especially when washing the dishes.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing - it was just what I needed to read today.

Sheila DeChantal said...

Beautiful article and so true.... how much do we miss out on by not being present in to day to day stuff of life? We should take each moment and embrace it...

Happy 4th!

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

What a lovely reminder!

I used to HATE doing the dishes when I was a kid (I was sure we were the only family in town without a dishwasher!). Now I enjoy those holiday meals when there are too many dishes to put in the dishwasher ... washing by hand with a family member next to me drying the dishes is a great time to talk and just chill out.

Sex Power Pill said...

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