Generations of Rituals Are Like Washing Dishes

At the Source

A simple ritual.
Embedded in generations of rituals.

I had a profound moment while washing dishes. We choose to do them by hand because it offers the opportunity to act. Being mindful of the sacredness of our water, engaging in human interaction over mechanical ease.
At a moment of conversational pause, my thoughts traveled to my own past. My dad requiring me to do the dishes right away after every meal. Dirty dishes in the sink over night were not an option. Hot scalding water. Stacks of dishes times three of daily scratch cooking, for a farm family of seven. No compromising. Sometimes my dad helped. Was there conversation? Sometimes.
I also traveled down the road of the past of others. Of repression of emotions or articulated opinions. Of past generations of women who stood in similar settings. Wondering if they had their spouses beside them. Were they engaging in conversation? Were their opinions valued as equal? Or were they merely instruments of necessity providing the completion of ‘chores’.

For some, this conversation may seem harsh or old.
But I have this unique emotional weight that I have not felt before.
Or maybe I have, but I have not distinguished it as I now see it.
I identify a deeply rooted sorrow. From and of generations of women who have walked before me. And as my conversation moves forward with my partner in this present time, I realize this sorrow I carry, runs very deep. I uncover this emotional weight that embraces and includes the history of people of color, people of nationalities who have been unwelcome, people who have been brought here not of their own volition, of children who have been separated from their families, and natives evicted from this, their own land, namely North America.
Yes, this sorrow I feel is heavy, and deeper and as raw as a dark, rugged, and ominous canyon.
It is deeper than the roots of a tree penetrating the earth of all existence, and echoing the history of a thousand generations.

They say it takes seven generations to mindfully break a cycle of ‘isms’.
Doing this task of washing dishes, has brought me to wondering if it takes more than seven generations to release the cavernous sorrow of those who have walked before us.
It feels as genetically penetrated as DNA. Those emotions.
And we need to own them – before the healing can begin.

This country and this world.
We need to own these generations of sorrow. And to grieve.
Before we can heal.

Living fully – carving a life,


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