Looking for a bit more mindfulness in your daily life? Relax. You're soaking in it!
Perhaps you remember Madge the Manicurist, a television commercial character who commiserates with her clients about their chapped hands. While she is filing the nails of one hand, she conspiratorially confides that her client is actually soaking her other hand in Palmolive dishwashing liquid. After all, "It softens hands while you do the dishes."
It was a memorable pitch--good visual, element of surprise, great what-it-will-do-for-you line. That commercial, in several variations, ran for nearly thirty years. Jan Miner, the actress who played Madge, died earlier this year at the age of 86, but her persona lives on.
Softening hands is nice, but here's a better idea. How about softening our hearts while we do the dishes?
Seriously. There's not a lot of multitasking you can do when you're elbow-deep in suds. Singing works, though your dance moves are a bit limited. You could talk on your hands-free wireless phone, but let's hope you can disconnect for the few minutes it takes to clean up after a meal.
Given free rein, our minds tend to go into worry mode. We're likely to spin our stories, get locked into our beliefs, or ponder our personal list of things to do.
What if we got intentional about that time spent at the sink? Take advantage of the task and use those soapy bubbles as a trigger to be mindful.
Here's how to do it:
1) Whenever you touch your bottle of Palmolive (or any other brand) dishwashing liquid, simply say to yourself, "Soften your heart."
2) Before you can soften your heart, you've got to cleanse it of anger, frustration, or resistance. So, when you squirt that first blob of colorful liquid soap, say "Cleanse."
3) As you wipe your dishes, swab your glasses, and scrub your pans, focus on the act of each stroke, every circular caress, and the repetitive and rhythmic series of motions. Scrub, rinse, drain, repeat.
4) Visualize the scouring of your heart, scrubbing the crusty residue of your overcooked stew of negative emotions and thoughts. Watch as your heart becomes pure again, sparkling clean and ready for the world.
We often get stuck in thinking that mindfulness is something we can develop only if we sit in meditation on a regular basis. Meditation is powerful, but so is the purposeful awareness cultivated in the most mundane moments throughout the day.
You won't miss the thoughts you would've had while doing dishes, but you will definitely benefit from the focused attention on your heart and this remarkably simple way to restore equilibrium.
Madge the Manicurist encouraged us to soak in order to soften. By taking it one step further, you can ease into your dishwashing task with intention and emerge with a sense of lightness--as well as gleaming dishes.
Think of it as mindful multitasking, and scrub your way to a more balanced day.
Pass the sponge.
About The Author
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse offering specialized mindfulness training in Portland, Oregon. She is the mother of four teenage daughters. To subscribe to her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massage, visit http://www.massageyourmind.com.