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Still Undertall (Life in the Suds Lane)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I have a confession to make! (Don't judge) I like to hand-wash our dishes. (Don't tell my ex-husband because he'll wonder why I wanted that stupid portable dishwasher!)

Are you waiting for the reason behind the confession? It's simple, really; and it has nothing to do with saving electricity, or water. (Yes, of course it's good to reduce our use of electricity and water, but that's not the reason.)

I recently began the practice of meditation each morning. I find that afterward I am centered, alert and calm. Short of drinking 12 ounces of water as soon as my feet hit the floor, morning meditation is something I have come to truly crave.

Back to the suds! There is a dishwasher in the kitchen, but it stopped working about 2 years ago and at that time the decision was made to not replace that particular appliance, It was a good move because about 2 months later the refrigerator died and that replacement was a true necessity.

I have nothing against an automatic dishwasher, and up until the current one died I always had a dishwasher and I used it regularly when there was a full load of dirty dishes and silverware. Here's the thing: I HATED (with every fiber of my being) to unload the darn thing. Plus, there were always dishes, pots or fragile glassware that needed to be hand washed. When we lived in California the water was very "hard", and etching ruined more than one glass. Also, sometimes there were items in the dishwasher (awaiting a full load for washing) that I needed, so I had to hand wash those. Seriously, it was a major annoyance. Add to that the fact that I like to clean up/wash up all during food prep, and it was easier to just have a dishpan full of hot, sudsy water at hand.

Now we're getting down to it...it's that hot, sudsy water. I find that to be soothing. But the REAL reason for hand washing the dishes is because it serves as quiet time for me to just rest my mind. It's time for me to be fully present in that activity (you have to be present so you don't overlook something crusty or goopy on a plate or the underside of a fork!)

I'm very particular and downright serious about my dishwashing routine: glasses and cups are washed first, then plates, silverware and cooking utensils, and finally pots and/or pans. I use the hottest water I can tolerate to wash and rinse, and I like a nice dishsoap that stands up to grease. I also do not dry the dishes, preferring to allow them to air-dry. Since I wash dishes after each meal, they don't accumulate and pretty much all fit into the dish drainer. Dishes that won't fit in the drainer get set upon a nice absorbent mat on the counter. The only time dishes are dried immediately is after a big family meal. It's a routine that works quite well for me (and my husband, who is rather OCD about cleaning up the kitchen and washing dishes immediately after a meal).

Actually, my husband is worse, because he won't go to bed until every dirty dish has been duly scrubbed, rinsed and put away. That's overkill in my estimation, but hey, I don't complain!

That quiet time while I'm washing up allows me to gaze out the window above the sink and watch the variations of each season as they unfold. Just now it's beautiful and green, and I can look up the street and admire our neighbors' landscaping. When the window is open I can enjoy the breeze and listen to all the sounds (or the quiet), birds singing, kids playing somewhere. I can watch a gentle rainfall or the pounding torrential downpour during a thunderstorm.

In the Fall I can watch the leaves changing into their autumn colors, and breathe in the aroma of the season. In the winter I can watch lazy snowflakes drift past the window as they adorn tree branches and yards with a fluffy blanket of white.

I love that if I am stressed, the warmth and suds and routine soothe and calm me. I love that when I'm just washing, rinsing and stacking...and being truly present...that sometimes I have amazing and creative ideas for projects.

Have you figured it out yet? If you likened my dish washing routine to meditation, you're right. You can get the benefits of meditation and clean dishes at the same time! Now that's the kind of multi-tasking I enjoy.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Enjoyed your blog! Thanks for the supportive message abut my routines! Something satusfying about a clean sink and dishes done- seems like we are in teh present doing them...and then the immediate satisfaction- I'm with ya on the meditative relaxing warm suds!!
    1406 days ago
    I will only hand wash the dishes if I can unwind while watching a scrapbooking video~hey, whatever WORKS! ~I would rather be in the garden ~ and I know~ weeding is a must ,but I guess seeing all God's lovely BEAUTY around me and breathing the fresh air in the country,THAT is my meditation! It's GOOD we each have our ways of getting refreshed!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1414 days ago
    I don't mind hand washing dishes either. When there are just two of us in the house the dishes run out faster than I can start the dish washer so I end up hand washing them anyway. Also like you said all the things that cannot go in, makes total sense to me.

    I never thought of it as a form of meditation, but I like that.

    Great blog!
    1448 days ago
  • JOJO2348
    Nothing wrong with that confession - I hand wash but I have a son and daughter-in-law and 4 grand kids living with me and I still do the dishes by hand all the time - No dishwasher and like you -it stopped working longer than 2 years ago. No one likes to do the dishes but me! My mother used to say, "thank God for dirty dishes, because it shows we had plenty to eat." And I wash mine in the same order you do - Funny huh? No just a good thing- I think. Love this blog. Jojo
    1450 days ago
  • CAROL_31649731
    I have the same confession, although not as often, now that DH has retired ... he gets to enjoy the meditative-process more than me now!!! (And I'm okay with that, too)

    Wonderful blog ... I was soothed just by reading your commentary & looking at the suds! Wonderful analogy, and great thought processes concerning meditative state of "actual" washing of dishes. Keep up the good work ... keeping those dishes clean, and your mind clear!!!!
    1450 days ago
    emoticon I hand wash mine, too.
    1452 days ago
  • no profile photo INCH_BY_INCH
    emoticon emoticon
    1452 days ago
    Loved this blog... I hand wash at times ... use the dish washer when it is full... I love the way you think... have a great day
    1452 days ago
    Perfect! I have the same feeling about ironing. It's focused because I like shirts and pants to look a certain way, but it's a "Zen" activity for me that centers me and makes me feel accomplished at the same time. Enjoy your multitasking! Big hugs.
    1453 days ago
    Good blog!
    1453 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    Hand washing dishes as a form of meditation. Now that is a great idea. I do both but mainly use my dishwasher. I am kinda sorta a germophobe and like that the dishwasher uses hotter water than my hands can stand.

    Liked this blog. It gave me a smile. emoticon
    1453 days ago
    First person I know who likes washing dishes!
    It spends some calories... Nice to use work as meditation, I'll try next time!

    1453 days ago
    I put myself in your place while reading your blog. I decided to keep my dishwasher- LOL... And I live alone. Of course I wash up the dishes daily, but on cooking days I load the dishwasher. Best of both worlds. How I wish I had a window to gaze out of, maybe that would make it better?
    1453 days ago
  • CGPS1795
    I kew turning you on to meditation would produce something unique - that's the person you are!

    It's only natural you'd combine it with dishwashing!

    St Benedict teaches us to Pray & Work
    St Francis says Pray always, sometimes use words!

    And Diane says - Add sudsy hot water, dishes & Listen! Which takes us back to the first word of St Benedict's Rule!

    See it's all Zen! emoticon
    1453 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3409143
    The dishwasher in the house died about 20 years ago and is long gone I MIGHT get a new one IF I could afford it and only after the mortgage is paid off (sometime this year).
    1453 days ago
    I'm glad you found something that works for you. I still like my dishwasher, but don't mind washing the big items that take up too much room. emoticon
    1453 days ago
    I so agree with you ...and I love ironing for the same reason.
    1453 days ago
    Oh I also LOVE hand washing dishes. Lol for me it's the bubbles and Bubbles
    1453 days ago
    I wash dishes to interesting radio programs or music. But I also love looking out the window. I still have never enjoyed it, but with your good attitude and tips, I will try to see that task in a different light. Thanks. emoticon
    1453 days ago
    Consumer Reports says the dishwasher actually saves more on the water bill than hand washing. I enjoy doing dishes by hand, too, but I like the option of using the dishwasher, especially when people are sick or I've already been standing in the kitchen for a long time cooking and baking. That's awesome multi-tasking your work with some good "think time". Doing yard and garden work is therapeutic that way for me. I can hardly wait to get outside most days.

    1453 days ago
    When I am cleaning my kitchen and washing my dishes I feel a renewing
    1453 days ago
  • 911BRAD
    Diane... thanks for sharing.

    Never thought of dishwashing as meditation.... but will do some deep breathing and mental relaxing on my next round of dishes. I also prefer hand washing.... unlike you I give them a quick once over with a dishtowel to dry but let them finish drying in the empty dishwasher... It serves as a giant dish rack in my house. Plus I can close the door and don't have to put them away until the next day.

    Be well... Brad
    1453 days ago
    I like your idea of quiet time while doing the dishes. I'm going to try taking more time and stop rushing through the dishes.Thank you for a great idea.
    1453 days ago
    Don't even think of taking my dishwasher away from me. Mine gets every smidgeon of everything off the dishes, pots and silverware, and I get to relax while it happens. YAY

    I'll do my meditating while I read my Bible and get some inspiration at the same time.

    You do have some good thoughts, just not my style.
    1453 days ago
  • no profile photo LAH1222
    I have never had a dishwasher so I always hand wash my dishes. I like to wash them and my husband dries them. He calls it "our time to talk".
    1453 days ago
  • no profile photo CD17895142
    I prefer to hand wash my dishes too!
    1453 days ago
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