I have a confession to make! (Don't judge) I like to hand-wash our dishes. (Don't tell my ex-husband because he'll wonder why I wanted that stupid portable dishwasher!)
Are you waiting for the reason behind the confession? It's simple, really; and it has nothing to do with saving electricity, or water. (Yes, of course it's good to reduce our use of electricity and water, but that's not the reason.)
I recently began the practice of meditation each morning. I find that afterward I am centered, alert and calm. Short of drinking 12 ounces of water as soon as my feet hit the floor, morning meditation is something I have come to truly crave.
Back to the suds! There is a dishwasher in the kitchen, but it stopped working about 2 years ago and at that time the decision was made to not replace that particular appliance, It was a good move because about 2 months later the refrigerator died and that replacement was a true necessity.
I have nothing against an automatic dishwasher, and up until the current one died I always had a dishwasher and I used it regularly when there was a full load of dirty dishes and silverware. Here's the thing: I HATED (with every fiber of my being) to unload the darn thing. Plus, there were always dishes, pots or fragile glassware that needed to be hand washed. When we lived in California the water was very "hard", and etching ruined more than one glass. Also, sometimes there were items in the dishwasher (awaiting a full load for washing) that I needed, so I had to hand wash those. Seriously, it was a major annoyance. Add to that the fact that I like to clean up/wash up all during food prep, and it was easier to just have a dishpan full of hot, sudsy water at hand.
Now we're getting down to it...it's that hot, sudsy water. I find that to be soothing. But the REAL reason for hand washing the dishes is because it serves as quiet time for me to just rest my mind. It's time for me to be fully present in that activity (you have to be present so you don't overlook something crusty or goopy on a plate or the underside of a fork!)
I'm very particular and downright serious about my dishwashing routine: glasses and cups are washed first, then plates, silverware and cooking utensils, and finally pots and/or pans. I use the hottest water I can tolerate to wash and rinse, and I like a nice dishsoap that stands up to grease. I also do not dry the dishes, preferring to allow them to air-dry. Since I wash dishes after each meal, they don't accumulate and pretty much all fit into the dish drainer. Dishes that won't fit in the drainer get set upon a nice absorbent mat on the counter. The only time dishes are dried immediately is after a big family meal. It's a routine that works quite well for me (and my husband, who is rather OCD about cleaning up the kitchen and washing dishes immediately after a meal).
Actually, my husband is worse, because he won't go to bed until every dirty dish has been duly scrubbed, rinsed and put away. That's overkill in my estimation, but hey, I don't complain!
That quiet time while I'm washing up allows me to gaze out the window above the sink and watch the variations of each season as they unfold. Just now it's beautiful and green, and I can look up the street and admire our neighbors' landscaping. When the window is open I can enjoy the breeze and listen to all the sounds (or the quiet), birds singing, kids playing somewhere. I can watch a gentle rainfall or the pounding torrential downpour during a thunderstorm.
In the Fall I can watch the leaves changing into their autumn colors, and breathe in the aroma of the season. In the winter I can watch lazy snowflakes drift past the window as they adorn tree branches and yards with a fluffy blanket of white.
I love that if I am stressed, the warmth and suds and routine soothe and calm me. I love that when I'm just washing, rinsing and stacking...and being truly present...that sometimes I have amazing and creative ideas for projects.
Have you figured it out yet? If you likened my dish washing routine to meditation, you're right. You can get the benefits of meditation and clean dishes at the same time! Now that's the kind of multi-tasking I enjoy.