In my post yesterday, I closed with “there is goodness in the land of the living” as part of a call to rise above your old ways of thinking that make being easier for others harder for you.
The “land of the living” is a reference from Psalms (27:13).
I remember always loving it because, contextually, the writer leads to it by admitting to having so many different voices messing with their mind. So many different demands on them and they are pleading, ‘just please, bigger greater thing than I, make this smooth… make this easier… make this anything other than being destroyed or oppositional forces winning.”
When I heard myself internally complaining about it not occurring to anybody to rinse the dish and put it in the dishwasher, there was a bigger story going on that I will elaborate on now. See, I wrote “put it in the dishwasher” but – actually – the dishwasher was broken. Not “broken broken”; just in need of a little tweak in the drain hose but I digress…
It was the third snow day. It was the 8th meal. And it was probably the 100th bowl that was staked though one might argue the mountain of dishes theoretically made it more challenging / time consuming to stack a dirty bowl than to just rinse and wash.
<insert existential question on the shift when one sees more work in laziness than in establishing moderately productive daily habits.>
Anyway. We were out of mugs. We were out of spoons. We were out of bowls.
I was working in phases on the dishes and, upon returning to complete another round, I found the clean stuff I had washed was dirty and stacked. Literally, actually, actively *left for me*. And I felt offended. “It doesn’t occur to anybody to do their own dish”.
Here is why I am going back into this…
I am at the kitchen sink. I am looking out at the beautiful snow. The Google home is playing French Indie music. I have a candle lit. I am comfortable. I like my hair. My hot tea was drinkable and smooth. And I planned on doing the dishes anyway. It *had* occurred to me.
So this offense at what did not occur to others was an adversary. The thought that rose up was against me. The drain of power was about to cause me to lose heart. The oppositional force could easily win.
<enter Psalm 27:13>
…”unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
The “land of the living” is our very real life that makes very real demands on us but in that same reality offers us the truth that our present moment can stay in tact and be neutral, be smooth by allowing it its goodness.
Goodness took over when I let go of “what did not occur to others” and felt the power, the honest empowered steadiness of thinking instead, “it does occur to me”. I came to the sink prepared to do dishes in a peaceful, lovely time. The thought had no room in the inn. I chose to not be a victim – Martha the Little Red Hen of a scenario in which I was actually the hero – Martha, Little Red Zen.
What if every time we sigh and “are annoyed” about toilet paper rolls or shoes on the carpet or dirty dishes we actually gave ourselves a pat on the back for noticing?
(And, also, what if we sometimes did not put the toilet paper roll on the thing as a practice of recognizing it actually is not that important in the grand scheme of things?)
Hence the “time is running out” and also “time is relative” comments at the end of my post. It is worth noticing we have choice in whether we spend time wishing others would do what we are equipped and able to take care of… This includes caring for our self, sanity and safety.
I woke up in the middle of the night, realizing in a way I opened a can of worms with my last post because it is not a one post kind of thought trail. This is a lifestyle. This is a reckoning and an awakening. I need to tell you other examples as a part of this story, because it is ongoing, a process and a constant humbling learning.
My teens are my greatest teachers. They are helping me connect inner parts with my higher self. This seems right to write about.
That same chapter of Psalms ends with “…be of good courage and your heart will be strengthened…” (Psalm 27:14) I mean.
Why the heck not.
Sounds like hero stuff to me.