Remindfulness: the Past in the Present Moment

I like to wash dishes in the morning. Not like a whole sink full of pots and pans or anything too time consuming, though. But if there’s a cup or two, maybe some bowls or plates in the sink? Believe it or not, seeing those dishes in the sink cheers me up, if even just a little bit! But why?

Photo by Catt Liu on Unsplash

Well, for one, it gives me something to do while my coffee is brewing! Doing something productive first thing in the morning sets the mood for my day and helps me continue to be productive.

Its like a snowball effect; since my hands are already wet and soapy it wouldn’t hurt to wipe down the stove, and the microwave could use some freshening up, too! Maybe its just because my kitchen and living room are basically the same room, but a clean kitchen next to a messy living room just looks silly to me. And so it goes!

Since fresh brewed coffee is too hot for my taste, I use it as a timer while I clean. If I want to enjoy my coffee while its still hot then I’d better be quick!

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

That’s not the only reason I like washing dishes in the morning though! Chances are those dishes are left over from a midnight snack, and who can be mad about those?

But more than anything, I like washing dishes in the morning because they help me start off my day with a little mindfulness, and a little thing I like to call remindfulness. By being mindful of each moment, you can cultivate positivity in life and start having fewer and fewer bad days!


You can practice mindfulness at any moment! Its easiest for me while I wash dishes in the morning. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, what even is mindfulness, anyways? Well, its just staying in a happy neutral head-space!

To be mindful is to let things happen, to accept your experiences as they happen without judging them.

Let’s use a midnight snack as an example. Its late, and you can’t stop thinking about that ice cream you’ve got in the freezer, so you decide to get some. You open the fridge for some chocolate syrup and see a 2 liter of root beer, so you decide to make a root beer float instead. It’s gonna be so foamy and creamy and delicious! But when you open the carton of ice cream you see that the edges are freezer burnt!

Luckily, there’s enough ice cream in the middle of the carton for you to still make your root beer float. YAASS!! Just a second away from frothy deliciousness, you grab the 2 liter and take the cap off. Instead of the usual ttssssssss of carbonation, there’s only silence. 


 The root beer is flat, and your midnight dreams of root beer rivers are shattered. Sure, you’ve got your ice cream, but it’s not what you were expecting.

#disappointing, right?!

Now forget any of that hypothetically happened. You’re still in bed thinking about a midnight snack, but instead of setting your heart on ice cream you go to the fridge to see your options.

Oh look, there’s still some root beer, but the bottle is mostly empty. If it’s flat, well, you kind of expected it because the bottle is mostly empty anyways. If its still bubbly then its a pleasant surprise. See where this is going?

When you expect something you set yourself up for possible disappointment. Expectations are based in the future, and there’s no real way to be 100% certain about the future. We can plan for the future, but to be mindful is to react to the moment you’re in instead of reacting to the moment you wanted. Easier said than done.

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Photo by Tracey Hocking on Unsplash

It’s easy to practice mindfulness while washing dishes because there’s usually only one reason to wash dishes- to clean them. Now, I might be making this sound a little bit too easy. See, I like washing dishes, but honestly I used to hate it.

Having to touch dishes with gross, crusted on food that smells kinda weird doesn’t sound too fun, does it? That’s what I used to think about washing dishes. I hated it. And to make matters worse, my dad used to make me keep the water as hot as I could stand it to really make sure everything was clean.

Enter: Remindfulness.

Do you remember the first time you washed dishes? I do, vividly. I was 4 years old, my sister was at school, and my mom had set up a little step stool in front of the sink for me. She showed me how to rinse off all the dishes first, then how much soap to use when filling the sink. The dish soap smelled like lemons, and there were suds everywhere. It was amazing!

But somewhere along the path to adulthood I forgot about that happy moment and filled its place with thoughts of scolding hot water and soggy leftovers that never made it to the waste bin. Every time I thought of washing dishes I saw grime and funk. Grime and funk was my enemy, not washing dishes.

So now when I do dishes I think of my mom. I set the water at a comfortable temperature(sorry Pops!) and I enjoy the smell of the dish soap and the lightness of the suds as they wash over my hands.

Do I expect it to always be that way? Nope! The water might get shut off, or the dish soap will be empty, or the plug to the sink will up and walk off. But generally washing dishes is really straight forward, and no matter what happens I’ll have that memory of standing in front of my mom, with her hands over mine washing plates in a circular motion.

That’s my remindfulness- remembering my reasons for liking something and experiencing things with the same fresh perspective as the first time they happened.

How do you handle unpleasant tasks? Tell me in the comments below! Thanks for reading!!😊


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comment 2 comments
  • Pops

    Lovely prose indeed. No need for “sorry”. I get it…

    • Sam

      Thank you! 🌞 Now that I’ve started using gloves while washing dishes the hot water isn’t nearly as bad 😂

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