How to Find Joy in a Dirty Kitchen

whatever the present moment containsThis morning I walk into the kitchen ready to start my day, and the first thing I notice is the sink full of dishes. This is the aftermath of my son who likes to cook late at night.

I also notice the dish rack is overflowing with dry dishes that haven’t been put away from last night’s dinner. Grr..

Mechanically I take a plate from the sink and rinse it open the dishwasher, only to find that it is full of clean dishes and hasn’t been emptied.

Irritated, I gaze over at the kitchen table and see my son’s prescription from the dermatologist. He needs to take this medicine back to school with him. I reminded him yesterday to drop the prescription off at Wal-mart. And there it is still laying on the table.

The recyclable garbage is full and so is the regular garbage.

And this little scenario is enough for me to lose my shit all over the place. I’ts 6:30 am on my day off and I haven’t even put the coffee on yet. And this is how I’m starting my day, feeling put out and feeling like I have to clean up after my 19 year old.

And it occurs to me…

Well, if this is my reality, and let’s be clear, this IS my reality, do I have to argue with it? Why do I automatically become negative and let my peaceful self become dark and feel bad because of nonsense like this?

Why do I give my peace away so quickly? Isn’t this how I lived for most of my life?

Do I have to be negative?

No I don’t.

My son is sleeping upstairs. He is going back to school this in 3 days. Do I really want to be in a crappy mood on one of the last days we’ll have together before he’s gone? And over something as trivial as dishes and a prescription and garbage?

No I don’t at all.

Eckhart Tolle teaches to “Accept – then act.  Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.  Always work with it, not against it. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” – The Power of Now.

Well I know for sure I am working against the present moment right now. I know that I am creating pain because I feel horrible inside.

So I do my best to Accept. And I get to work. My present moment is a messy kitchen first thing in the morning. My spiritual practice right now is to empty the dishwasher. I can do this feeling hostility and anger inside, or I can do it in peace.

I can choose to be peaceful by focusing only on the task at hand. I can take notice of how the clean plate feels and the sounds it makes as I put it away in the cupboard. And then the cups, and then the silverware. I can keep my attention focused on putting the clean dishes away.

It’s a bit of a challenge, because my mind keeps trying to go off into blaming and bashing my son and how lazy and irresponsible, etc. he is.

But again and again, I keep choosing to stay focused on and notice what I am doing. I choose not to indulge the thoughts.

And pretty soon I notice the heaviness lifts and somehow I feel better. 🙂

And I can stay in this peaceful place by continuing to stay focused on the present and simply empty the dish rack. And then do the dishes.peace comes from within dont seek it withoutAnd then I can choose to put the garbage in the garage and replace the containers with clean trash bags.

And no, this doesn’t make me a doormat to my son or to my own mind. Choosing to be peaceful and stay present while cleaning up the mess benefits me in so many ways:

A. The kitchen is clean and tidy again. Yay!

B. I turned my automatic bad mood around and saved my morning. Double yay!

C. Which is really good field practice for the next time I become automatically irritated over something. Which for me is A LOT… 😉

And the best thing:

D.  I didn’t lose my composure later that morning when I brought up the situation to my son. Maybe he’ll learn his lesson and clean up after himself next time, and maybe he won’t. Either way, I didn’t become that screaming lunatic mom, all over something that is really pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things.

Win 🙂

Today I found some real joy in the midst of my dirty kitchen. Grateful that I didn’t ruin my day or my son’s, for that matter.

Wishing you a clean kitchen 🙂

xox, Lisa Arcelia

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Author: Lisa Arcelia

I love showing how to find real happiness and inner peace in this busy and challenging world :)

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