This morning, as is usual on a Sunday in our house, I was compelled to stop my work tasks to address the ever-growing pile of dishes. I often grumble about the kids not helping or my husband conveniently occupying himself with other tasks, but today I found myself unexpectedly in a mindful state of existence. The warm water on my hands, the inability to multitask, the quiet as the household vehemently avoided the kitchen in the event I would petition for help, the scent of the lavender soap, and the sense of accomplishment as I scrubbed pans that had been sitting for the entire weekend. Watching them glisten as I scoured them clean with steel wool.
According to Merriam-Webster, the Definition of mindfulness states:
1: the quality or state of being mindful
2: the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis
also: such a state of awareness
Does this definition say it is only when we are sitting in a quiet corner of our house, our legs crossed in meditation? Does it say that it only happens when we read a “mindfulness” book? Is it only when we do one of the tasks our favorite podcaster lists as acceptable mindfulness tasks? Or is it only when our app tells us it is time to be mindful? Maybe it isn’t this or that, maybe it’s all the above and then some. It is in those little moments, the in between, the time that you are waiting in the exam room for your doctor and you aren’t on your phone because you don’t want to have to put it away when he/she walks in. Or maybe it’s in your evening shower, as you feel the warm water rain over your body and the worries of the day wash down the drain. Or perhaps it’s when we are walking to get the mail and see a squirrel run out with some sort of snack in his mouth. You smile at the unexpected cuteness and welcome feeling of joy you get as your soul appreciates the life of another being. Or could it be when you are standing at the sink, looking out the window at the snow-covered yard, up to your elbows in hot soapy water, your thoughts quiet and contemplative, the world quiet around you, and you are simply washing the dishes?
Wherever and whenever you find yourself in these treasured moments, take a minute to appreciate the opportunity. Be happy your kids don’t keep up with dishes, so you GET this profound opportunity to do them. Be thankful your husband forgot to grab the mail on his way into the house the night before so you COULD make an excuse for a walk. Be filled with joy that your doctor is running a couple of minutes behind affording you the rare opportunity to sit longer in a space of healing and wellbeing.
Mindset or Mindfulness, you oversee when you get to experience either, so instead of lamenting that your life is too crazy and busy, make the most of the times when things take a pause and show a little gratitude. I promise things always go better when we have a heart full of joy. Plus, nothing makes you feel accomplished like cleaning a sink-full of dishes.