Tuesday, January 15, 2013


     Today I had a mindfulness break through, you might read this and think, that wasn't anything. I mean, in all the craziness happening in our lives right now, this might strike you as superfluous, but it was big, big in its smallness, and it happened around the dishes.  Ah the dishes, I can't believe how much energy I spend hating the dishes.  For awhile I thought I was the only one who feels tense until the sink is clear, tightness in my shoulders, clenched in my chest, tired just looking at the mess in my house.  I just knew that I was the only mother living in this kind of mess.  Just recently though, I know I am not alone, thank you to the mother in my sangha mama group for bravely admitting to having that same house-will-never-be-clean-but-I-need-it-to-be tension.  Thank you to my friend Heather, for this post, cleaning up a mess.  No, we are not alone.  And that simple knowledge helped my little break through tonight.

     A few weeks ago I set up the windowsill above the sink as a tiny altar.  I thought that bringing a reminder to be mindfully calm and to pay attention to my breath while washing the dishes might help.  I usually forget it's there, as my busy mind focuses on wading through the chores, clearing the mess, the never ending standing up.  Today was no exception, the stress was everywhere, the dishes piled high, the counter a disaster, the pile of cut up paper under my two year old son multiplying by the second, the dry wall project in the living room complicating everything. I thought if I can just get through the dishes, I'll feel better, I'll make myself do it, then I'll be able to breathe.  But I couldn't breathe, not fully, and some little part of me noticed the altar, the green glass buddha, I lit a candle, paused just for a moment, enough to get a fuller breath, and then something shifted, ever so slightly.

     And then my son screamed at his little brother for taking his glue stick, it was a tired scream, a yelling fit that signaled intervention.  Because I had paused, I didn't get angry, I didn't come in and bark.  I swooped up my son, took him upstairs, laid with him as he calmed down, asked for a story.  We shared a beautiful moment, a kind moment, together.  He told me about his day at school. Then when it was over, he said "I'm not mad anymore.  I'm sorry for yelling at you.  I love you mama. My body says I'm ready to go back downstairs."  No kidding.  That's what happened.

      And the dishes are still piled high in the sink, maybe Daddy will get those tomorrow.