15 May Wash the dishes just to wash the dishes
I had noticed a few weeks ago that my stress level had increased to the point of feeling overwhelmed. I began problem solving by identifying activities that I could get help with or decrease, scheduling mini vacations, increasing self-care in general and working more efficiently in general. Problem solved? No, while problem solving was a good idea, I had become stuck in a cycle of problem solving to try to decrease stress, which overall increased my distress. I consulted with a very wise DBT guru and she said, “Stop trying to fix it, stay present.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been trying to make my stress (some of which was the result of positive changes) go away. In DBT, we teach that pain doesn’t cause suffering. When we are in pain, suffering arises when we fixate on it or avoid it. either by fixating on it – often passively. When I stopped trying to make my stress go away, my suffering decreased – almost instantly. The next day, I was reminded by Thich Knat Hahn’s quote, “wash the dishes just to wash the dishes.” I have been practicing for several years and thought, “how did I forget?” I smiled to myself and thought, “how do I remember?” I bought a nicer edition of ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’, by Thich Knat Hahn and placed it on my coffee table where it shall forever remain.