This world. This place. This life.

“On Being,” and washing the dishes


I know, I know, I know.  Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes.”

But I’m not there yet.  I can be mindful about a mundane task for about…three seconds, maybe.  Then my mind goes skittering off.

And I know that mindfulness practice is mostly about returning.  Again.  And again.  And again.

But the dishes would never get done if I added resistance to spiritual practice to my resistance to housework.

So I wash the dishes…while listening to podcasts.

Just now I was listening to Krista Tippett’s “On Being” podcast, where she talks with Buddhist teacher Sylvia Boorstein.  Krista alluded to the religion of our childhood as our native language, and something shifted in me.

Ah.  Christianity is my native language.  Its words and metaphors will always be easiest for me.  But as an adult I have chosen to live in a country that speaks Unitarian Universalist.

Christianity is a root languages for Unitarian Universalism, so there are many, many cognates.  Cognates are easy–but tricky, too.  There are also new words to learn, new word-orders, new grammatical constructions.

It’s a wonderful metaphor.  There’s freedom in it–a letting go, a release, a discharge of built-up negativity.   An opening, a door, a bridge between past and future.

Time now to return to the mundane.  Dishes are done, but the laundry needs folding.

6 thoughts on ““On Being,” and washing the dishes

  1. It is a lovely metaphor. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Loved Krista’s Boorstein broadcast!

    • One of the best things about my iPod Touch–podcasts. Lifesaver. Games are good, too. Earlier this week I played Bejeweled while waiting in the 10-person line at Napa Auto Parts. Made me a much nicer person when it was finally my turn!

  3. Pingback: Inch by Inch, it’s a Cinch! « After the Ecstasy, the Laundry . . .

  4. Pingback: Keeping silence together | Nagoonberry

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