Although soaping can be all consuming, we are multifaceted with a list of chores.
Like after sniffing fragrance oils coffee beans cleanse the olfactory palate, so does a new story to the mind - a new story can offer a moment to dream, a new beginning, a point of clarity. While dreaming with our eyes open we make ourselves available to those inspired ideas floating, just out of reach, all around. Using the coffee beans in the same way, we unencumbered our minds to fully experience the next scent, the next idea.
It occurred to me while washing soap dishes today that a large chunk of my time is cleaning: cleaning up after soap, getting ready for soaping, standing in front of the sink scrubbing the oil from plastic. My nemesis - plastic.
To outsiders, non-soapers, washing dishes seems boring.
As a child I hate, HATED washing dishes. It wasn't the chore I hated, it was why I had to wash dishes. After Sunday church this scene played out. If my parents wanted to spend time alone my mater would find some innocuous reason to punish me. The correction was to wash all the dishes from our Sunday meal and every single item of silverware. She would pull a chair to the sink, dump the drawer of silverware and insist I stay there until all were clean, dried and put away. The other consideration was if I didn't wash everything quickly and the water grew cold, (this was a consequence of blowing bubbles) I was not allowed to add fresh hot water. She insisted dishes cannot be clean properly without hot water. My personal eight-year-old hell.
If there were spots on the silverware, the drawer would be dumped again. I spent many, many Sundays standing on that chair.
Now, thank the powers that be, that parental unit lost interest in her partner and eventually left our home by the time I was eleven. The downside, at eleven I was responsible for all of her chores, most importantly, dishes.
Along with this memory, I remember being able to create things out of thin air. I used materials found, an old shoe box, pieces of cardboard, little scraps of fabric to make a miniature house of my pet mouse.
Upon seeing a new creation of mine, Mother would say, "where did you learn how to do that? You don't get it from me?"
This statement baffled me. As if I wasn't a person, with my own thoughts, my own talents and everything of mine only came from her.
For years I loathed washing dishes. This was illogical as its a much repeatable chore. There will always be dishes to do. If was invited to someone's home for dinner, I rarely offered to help with the clean up. I just couldn't make myself. I felt shame, but would retire with the men to the card table reasoning if it was acceptable for men, why not me? It did nothing to assuage my shame.
I grew out of this behavior. I know help with clean up and dishes without being asked. As an adult responsibilities grew inside of me, invitablies surfaced, the root cause was still illusive. The repulsion toward dishes was strong. Due to lack of contemplation or staying busy with all life's chores, is hard to say.
The love of soap seemed to have fertilized the ground for new consciousness to grow.
Now that I'm grown, every dish washing session brought about a small wiggle of awareness. With each awareness that bubbled to the surface iridescent understanding popped into my consciousness. Soaping has brought this gift of to me. Healing a wound I didn't know I had and bringing sharp clarity to my motivations, my attractions and repulsions.
Now, standing that the sink, washing soap dishes, which is necessary to continue making soap, is an enjoyable experience.
I made myself available to this gift of soap-making, high levels of creativity, by not allowing anything, ANYTHING that might hinder my love of soap-making to stop me - even the stories of my life, the stories I still tell myself, as if a needle has been stuck or my resistance to letting those stories disappear, to be replaced by new stories.
Maybe the love of soap making has healed this soap maker... just a bit.
This, I hope for you, that road blocks evaporate, but not before they leave you a lovely soap bubble of awareness.