How to Wash the Dishes

How to Wash the Dishes


I went to get my oil changed today. The guys at the Kwik Kar always push hard to sell me more: my brakes need to be replaced, my coolant is leaking, my inspection is due and my check engine light is on.

The sad part is, all of it is true. “I'm sorry; I just can't today,” I said as I paid my bill.

Tears are close to the surface these days as I embody the rhythms of my life. I feel the both-and so clearly: glorious, spring-scented mornings give way to almost-too-warm languid afternoons. I am custom-blending anointing oils with poetry and adoring the co-creation process. I've been exploring new-to-me spices in Indian cooking and I am enraptured by the fragrance on my hands when I dust Kesoori Methi over cardamom rice & malai curry. Life is beautiful and good.

And: I'm walking through some intense, personal challenges. Questions outweigh answers. Someone I love is not doing well. My heart speeds up & reminds me to pause. Breathe. Still. Tough decisions need making and I'm holding off as long as I can. So much is unknown. My inspection is due and my check engine light is on ... a perfect parallel to life.

“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.”—Terry Tempest Williams, Leap

Living is made up by rhythms, like drumbeats, like heartbeats, like keeping time in the earth with feet made of clay and bone. Like the tide rushing in and leaving kelp and seaweed and debris and beautiful shells and pearls and lots of smelly ocean things on the shore. To say yes to life is to say yes to it all, and here I am with tears on my cheeks whispering yes yes yes.

Yes is my dark faith.

Yes is the answer to both-and.

And today, on this new moon, I am dwelling in the living paradox of dark faith. Here, the undulant rhythms of all I know sway alongside all of the unknown. I release and receive: rhythm. I answer and ask: rhythm. I resist and allow: rhythm. I surrender and fight: rhythm. There is laughter and lament, heartache and hope, hunger and fulness, stark barren ground and staggering beauty. And all of it belongs. All of it is love.

So here's to the ones well-acquainted with the hard and the holy: 

How to Wash the Dishes

Go to Trader Joe's and buy some daffodils. They are pure, sweet yellow spring wrapped in a bundle for a dollar forty-nine. Put them in a jar above your sink before you wash dishes tonight. Light a candle, that special one you save because it reminds you of her. Mix some lavender flowers into your evening tea. Gather a clean cloth, a scrubbing pad and your favorite cleansing essential oil. I like lemon with verbena. Fill your sink with hot soapy water, add a few drops of EOs and whisper the holiest prayer: yes yes yes. Breathe. Then scrub your pots and pans as if they are portals for alchemy, for healing, for grace. (They are.) Pause often to inhale daffodils and lavender. Forget about the glowing red check-engine light. (Cars don't belong in kitchens.) When you are done, wrap your hands with oils or cream and feel the palms, the fingers, the muscles, the hardworking bones of your hand. Here is warmth. Here is presence. Here is aliveness. You are here. Here is safe. Here is love.

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