When I am overloaded with work at home, I get stressed. I know I am very fortunate to have a dishwasher, the first in my life having grown up without one, but I feel like a lot of my days are spent emptying and loading it. I can’t STAND loading and emptying and my husband is always annoyed with me for how poorly I load it. It’s a 20 year argument. My feeling is that I do the cooking so I shouldn’t be doing any dishes anyway but isn’t that the age old problem? I always end up doing them because I can’t stand looking at the mess. I should really just leave the room but we all know that nothing would get done. Maybe I should go on strike like a friend did for two weeks. Hmmm….
When I read this piece by Ted Larkins, I just had to post it. It really put things in perspective. I’ll shut my mouth now.
The Get To Principle: Life in the Kitchen with Joy
By Ted Larkins
Adapted from his book: Get To Be Happy: Stories and Secrets to Loving the Sh*t Out Of Life Get To Be Happy
I love doing the dishes. I know, I know, no one can really love doing the dishes. But truth is I do, and I’m about to change your viewpoint and you just might learn to love doing the dishes, and everything else you do in the kitchen, as well. Here’s the deal: One day I was grumbling and thinking, “I have to do these dishes.” As I started to scrub a thought came: “I don’t have to do the dishes, I Get To.” In that moment, my mind automatically felt compassion as I recalled an article I had read saying 20,000+ people die of starvation each day on the planet. Then, in the next moment, I felt great appreciation for the meal I had just had. I kept washing – with a bit of a smile. Compassion and appreciation does that.
Later that evening, heading to do some work on my computer I remembered my 10- year old boy had asked me to play with him. “Oh yeah”, I thought, “I have to play with my boy.” Again, in that moment I stopped and said, literally out loud, “I don’t have to, I Get To play with my boy.” Again, my mind got quiet and I automatically had compassion for the families that have lost children and don’t get to play with their children. I also had great appreciation for my wild, healthy little boy. I ran to find him.
And at that moment, I had an epiphany: When I had been most successful in my life, I had been saying some form of, “I Get To”. I also realized that if I were deliberate about saying it, as opposed to the victim stance of saying “I have to” I could change how I experienced life. I also realized that I could share this with others.
So I called my sister and said, “Hey Julie, you Get To do the dishes!” She replied, “Yeah, I get to do the fucking dishes.” I laughed and explained the Get To Principle – and I could hear her smile as she said, “Hmmmm, looking at it like that, yeah, I guess I do Get To.”
I’m not a great cook, and with a 13 year old boy and 10 year girl, I’m a bit challenged in the kitchen. But once I started saying, “I get to cook for my kids”, the compassion flowed and the appreciation (really, I open my refrigerator door and I am in awe) is almost too much. Like anything, saying “I Get To” requires a little practice, but when you get in the habit, watch out, life in the kitchen can turn into joy!