I’ve never been fond of washing dishes or spiders – not washing spiders that is, but spiders themselves – ha! I’ll get to what spiders have to do with washing dishes in a moment. So please bear with me.
I was grateful when John took over washing the dishes a few years ago. I cook dinner, he does the dishes. Fair enough.
Then something interesting started happening about two months ago. I wanted to wash the dishes.
I’ve felt my forehead several times since, checking to see if I have a fever. Nope, not a fever. Though a few hot flashes that I’ve been experiencing which seem to occur just as we sit down to dinner.
But what is it that I had this urge lately, if I can even call it that, to do the dishes?
And then I was reading a book called, Red Moon Passage – The Power and Wisdom of Menopause by Bonnie J. Horrigan.
I came across a section in Bonnie’s book where she interviewed Paula Grunn Allen, award-winning Amercian Indian scolar and poet, and how she talks about Grandmother Spider.
Grandmother Spider is an important figure in the mythology and folklore of many Native American cultures.
According to Paula, Grandmother Spider is the female consciousness and holds tremendous power. Part of the female consciousness are rituals associated with female energy such as sweeping the floors, caring for others and doing the dishes.
Okay, so what does this have to really do with wanting to do the dishes? I wondered.
Reading further Paula talks about the menopausal time and how women can feel angry, sad, glad and scared all at the same time.
I raise my hand and can attest to those roller coaster of emotions!
Paula’s advice is to not try and push those feelings out of the way, but try to “play in a balanced way simultaneously.”
Huh. Interesting. But how does one do that?
Well, Paula believes that meditation is a bad idea for women’s physiology and that you can’t find a trace of native practice where women meditate by just sitting.
She says the problem is that we’ve been conditioned to think that washing dishes is trivial so that females won’t use their power – how women under sixty think doing the dishes is insignificant and useless.
While I can’t say I thought it insignificant, this made sense to me. As I thought about how over the years I was working so hard to prove my worth, oftentimes exhausting myself in the process, to have to do the dishes did, in some ways, feel like it was just one more thing I had to do.
But Paula encourages women to balance the male and female consciousness – that this is what makes up who we are.
And I realized, as Paula also talks about that doing the dishes can be a meditation of sorts, that it was true.
I realized that when I do the dishes I don’t have many thoughts. Somehow my hands in the warm water, with all the sudsy bubbles, lulls me into a peaceful, centering place.
All those crazy hormonal imbalances seem to find a happy place to land… at least for the time being.
Maybe this all sounds rather crazy, but I have to say, it makes perfect sense to me.
And if the bonus is easing my way through menopause, well, then by all means, bring on the dirty dishes! I’m ready to meditate.
PS: I have given John fair warning that this “urge” may disappear at any moment. Thank goodness I married one heck of a Prince Charming who is going with the flow of my menopausal moments.
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