When I grew up Saturday was our family’s house cleaning day. My father had been on the USS Rochester Heavy Navy Cruiser 1951-1955. You do a lot of cleaning on a ship. So back to our Saturday cleaning with all 10 hands on deck. I was the oldest of 5 kids. My job was the bathrooms. After a bit of time, the white gloves would come out during the dreaded inspection. If I did not do a good enough job I had to clean the bathroom all over again. I was scarred for many years ( wah-wah) for doing house cleaning .
Just thinking about housework made me procrastinate as well as cranky, grumpy, and resistant to housework until I read this article from Thich Nhat Khan that washing dishes could be a pleasant experience. How could be doing dishes be a miracle?
“I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to be able to finish so I can sit down sooner and eat dessert or enjoy a cup of tea, the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles!”
Right now cleaning and disinfecting is a lifesaving measure. Now it can also be your spiritual practice. Cleaning can be a prayer, a blessing, a calming time of the day.
Now I enjoy the warmth of the water as I wash each dish, fork, pan. I choose only my favorite dishes, coffee mugs and forks to eat with. It gives me pleasure to pick then up and wash them. I thank each utensil for their service.
Cleaning is service
Other cleaning jobs have become easier too. I clean a friend’s house as she cannot. It feels good to clean her home. It is a service I can offer that costs me nothing but a little time. The reward is a heartfelt Thank you. She said it smells good when she comes home.
So clean today just for the health of it, mentally, physically, and spiritually.