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March 27, 2021

Choosing our Battles

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

I like to choose my battles. I don’t always have time to get it all done, some things just have to wait. This is part of the game of being present, right? Focus on what is most important in that moment.

Coming home from an early morning Mysore, a self-paced Ashtanga Yoga practice, my body activated from the physical demands of lifting and twisting; skin buzzing from hours of breath-work, my mind in perfect silence like a drishti focus – where your gaze is fixated on a point, bringing stability and alignment to your posture. I approach my front door.

Leaning-in to push the grumpy yellow door open, heavy and stuck in parts of the integrated weather stripping – an abrupt clank; the slipping of metal strips suddenly release their grip. Much like the release experienced in the body from a deep chiropractic adjustment, and with the relief one feels from such an opening, I quietly step inside my sanctuary, embodying a cultivated sense of accomplishment. My nose twitches, picking up the slightest note, like a blood hound catching the trail of an old battle left unwaged. I know what needs to be done.

Assuming tadasana at the kitchen window, mountain pose: feet shoulder width apart, toes gripping the floor, knees slightly bend and pelvis tilted under to relieve weight from the lower back; shoulders pulled back, chin level, head tall – I find my position of strength right here. Lifting up from my tippy toes to push the accordion blinds up, my eyes gaze beyond the pane onto the morning light outside. One jogger passing another walking their dog, and there are long gaps between hurried cars driving to early appointments. The neighborhood is coming to life.

Calmingly breathing with a sense of anticipated duty, I’m no longer in debate with what needs to be done. I grab the faucet handle and deliberately pull it back, blasting myself as if in a solo water fight. Dang it, the spray setting got me again! Eyes reflexed shut from spattering water, I blindly grab the switch to steady the flow into a smooth stream. Now bracing myself from the first attack, I bravely squeeze the sponge under the icy water, instantly cramping my skin from shock. Wafts of mildew trouble my nose. I take a pause. “Should I throw this thing away?” I ask the guide inside my head. “Nah,” I reply, ”I’ll cover it in dish soap.” And with a veil of lemon and lavender, my worries are washed away, miraculously cleansed of all germs and remnants from past victories.

But not without a scalding hot initiation, the water now flows into a soothing caress only realized from a perfectly temperate bath. Loosing myself to a dream, I crawl into the sink, circling under the water like a cat curling into your lap. My gaze snaps back and I take a deep breath, returning from a distant moment. Settling into the task at hand, my nose is soothed with uplifting aromas of citrus, distracting my senses like the sirens of Homer’s Odyssey, enticing me to journey without worry; the sanctity of my scrubber leaves no doubt the cutlery will be suitable to eat from later. Bubbly white foam spits from my hands, whirling left and right: tight, quick scrubs for the tough spots, longer swiping scrubs for the broad edges. I waste no movement on unnecessary actions – cleaning with the efficiency of a Swiss watch, the battle is waged. And won.

The dishes are done.

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