I used to hate doing the dishes. I think that’s because in my marriage I did all the chores in the house, and this one particularly used to irritate me because my ex-husband would frequently cook separately from me and the kids and then leave his pans and plates out for “someone” to do.

At one point in a particularly difficult part of my marriage, I had a notepad on the kitchen counter and I tallied, daily the amount of time I was contributing to our shared life, in an attempt to demonstrate my effort. I logged dishwasher emptying, dishes, laundry, food/kids-related shopping, paying bills, taking out the garbage, changing light-bulbs, weeding the yard, taking kids to school, taking kids to after-school activities etc.

Then I mentioned this to my Buddhist studies teacher, who suggested I get really mindful in the process of doing the dishes. Feel the warm water, look at the intricacies of the plate: the color, the texture, the shape, reflect on the food that had been cooked in the pan and who had eaten it and their pleasure. Now I love doing the dishes. But I still hate unloading the dishwasher!