I didn't get a photo of it, but today Blaine, Isaac, Clayton, and I washed some cups and plates and trays. Then, using shaving cream, we gave the tables a good scrubbing. Room 2 smelled like a barber shop and shone like a Sees Candy store by the time we were done.
Chores like these can be the occasion of great joy and satisfaction. As we worked I was reminded of a passage I read recently for my class on Voluntary Simplicity.
It is an excerpt from Present Moment, Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hahn, 1990:
"To my mind, the idea that doing the dishes is unpleasant can occur to us only when not doing them. Once we are standing in front of the sink with our sleeves rolled up and our hands in warm water, it is really not bad at all. I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to go and have dessert, the time will be unpleasant, not worth living. That would be a pity, for every second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles.
Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane. It may take a bit longer to do the dishes, but we can live fully, happily, in every moment. Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end—that is, not only do we do the dishes in order to have clean dishes, we also do the dishes just to do the dishes and live fully each moment while washing them.
If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have dessert and a cup of tea, I will be equally incapable of doing these things joyfully. With the cup in my hands, I will be thinking about what to do next, and the fragrance and the flavor of the tea, together with he pleasure of drinking it, will be lost. I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment.