The other day, my dishwasher began to misbehave, creating a bit of kitchen mayhem.
Now one thing you should know about me is this: even though I have a very logical mind, I am not mechanically inclined. That means when something is broken and it has contraptions and doohickeys, it’s as though I’m in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language. But there I was staring at a malfunctioning dishwasher, filled with dirty dishes and sticky dishwasher detergent which was quickly turning into hardened sludge. So, I was motivated.
I consulted YouTube videos, checked the owner’s manual, and convened with the spirit of the dishwasher. Don’t get me wrong; I really don’t think the dishwasher has a spirit. But I figured if I could think like a dishwasher and respect the nature of the dishwasher, then perhaps I could become a dishwasher repair shaman. I tried all sorts of things, and after each attempt I would run it through a partial cycle. After a few minutes, I would open the dishwasher door with anticipation and peer into the dark, metal box—only to see steam rising from the sludge below, emitting the odor of last night’s dinner. My many attempts had been futile.
Then I decided to try one last thing, not based on any external advice but rather coming from a place of curiosity. I repositioned this thingamabob and tightened that whatever-you-call-it. And guess what? It seemed to fix it. I was thrilled! Mystified, but thrilled. Was I curious about how it worked? Yes. Did I want to learn more about the inner workings of a dishwasher? Absolutely not! I’d rather leave the contraptions and doohickeys to those who like them.
Next came the true test. I ran the dishwasher through the complete cycle and found that it worked great. In fact, it not only washed the dishes, it also dried them quite thoroughly—for the FIRST time since I inherited this dishwasher upon moving in six years ago. Again, I was mystified, but oh so grateful. I took out dish after dish with towel in hand, prepared to mop up puddles and drips. But the towel stayed dry.
I pondered what had happened. Getting one thing into alignment seemed to create alignment in another, unexpected way. I thought about how this can happen in life, sometimes much to our surprise. For example, leaving a toxic relationship might lead to your chronic heartburn disappearing; standing up for yourself at the office might lead to greater work efficiency; moving your body in new ways might improve your mood. It’s as though one doohickey is connected to another, so fixing one part can improve the function of the whole. It’s as if by magic, although from above I’m sure it makes perfect sense.
Life can feel overwhelming sometimes, with many different areas begging for attention and repair. Whether you are on the sacred path of plumber, professor, or parent, the lesson of the dishwasher is the same: focus on the problem at hand and fiddle with it in various ways. Then see what shifts. And don’t be surprised if fixing one problem leads to another one falling away.
Like you, I am on a journey--a path filled with joy and sorrow, expansion and contraction--with beautiful lessons and fascinating insights each step of the way. Thank you for joining me for a small part of my journey. I look forward to connecting with you on yours.