Rub Down–A view of life actions. By David Reid Otey

One  summer afternoon I stood  washing cups, dishes, pots, pans, silverware and glasses, looking out the  window at the sunny, warm day, watching robins, finches, wind blown grass and waving tree branches. I smiled and had a thought-attack.  It started with a simple question: What am I really doing ? I was rubbing a soaped sponge inside, outside and along side each item in the sink. I use very hot running water, inspecting every speck of grime, food, spit, grease and stain to be erased with the help of  over head lights and  window light until satisfied it is disease-free, maintaining health for my family,  assuring everyone they sure won’t get sick from dishes I clean, that I care for their well being.

Then I thought, ” If this is such a noble thing I’m doing,  why have I  often felt like it’s a drudgery, like an insult to my station in life, an act that  made me feel angry at others: those who made more dirty dishes than me that I have to clean. Why do people argue about whose turn it is to wash ?   Why have I  rushed through washing a bowl and get mad when a piece of food is stuck to that bowl so that  I attack it,  splashing water all over everything,  frustrated that I can’t clean the bowl in  ten seconds, as though it were a state standard to prove intelligence.

I  realized that it really is sort of  a “beneath me” attitude that most of us respond with toward washing dishes,  cleaning the toilet, scooping the cat litter  box, lifting dog dumpings on a walk–not the stuff  people of class and wealth perform, but hire other people to do. Therefore, we do not like being our own hired help, so to speak. It’s a clash of self-image expectations. It came from conditioning, simply following the role models we had in our families: mom and dad, and even friends.

So, now, I wanted to change my mental perspective of this type of work to something positive. If I look at only the physical action of what I’m doing, apart from all of the ”added” perspectives, what I see is simply giving the items a ”rub down”.  It’s like a massage where you have someone rub down your central nervous system, rubbing out stress, bringing back the happy wonderful feeling of calm and peace. That human touch of healing, of giving, of sharing and caring for your emotional, spiritual, physical welfare.  Everything I do, everything I touch and everything I say has an effect, a result upon something or someone both directly and indirectly, especially upon myself.

The boy, Alladin,  rubbed a lamp to  make it shine,  and a Genie flowed out in a smokey cloud to take a solid form and tell the boy he could be granted three wishes. His action created an effect, an opportunity, an improvement, a hope.  Effort creates an opening to an unexpected opportunity.  Practicing guitar playing, for example, is an action of consistently rubbing the strings in patterns for melody and rhythm. The more frequently you do this, the more understanding, clear tones and perfect sound and timing you will gain, and that could lead to opportunities of making money through teaching and being in a band. Maybe it’s a crazy way to say it and see it. Rubbing the brain with thoughts and ideas from class room text books or from novels and newspapers. Rubbing the eyes with visions of colors and shapes and all sorts of art styles. Rubbing ears with speeches of great motivation, with stories of people who came through the toughest of times in life–such as incredible stories on the TED site.

If something or someone bothers us, they have rubbed us the wrong way. We can recognize that and straighten it out, somehow gaining an understanding as a rub down of sorts to bring ourselves back into alignment with peace and energy for the next step on the life journey.  There are far too many conditioned “downers” we switch our minds into playing out and shaping our days into a high percentage of depression. I think now of some of the news we see and hear daily. Why should I let a stranger’s life in the news affect me on the low depressing side of life. ? I can have an opinion without making myself sick or angry about whatever they did. I can pray for those who will be on the jury, for the lawyers, for the doctors, for everyone else directly involved in the decision making part of that story for that person. Some in my family let news rub them the wrong way. A famous person gets acquitted. They yell at the television. Sure, I agree it’s wrong in my opinion and according to my beliefs. But I’m not there. I have nothing to do with it. I cannot make a difference in that stranger’s life. So, I’ll rub all of my physical, emotional and spiritual energies onto and with the people and work I can affect where I live, where I am directly affected by those who share their energies with me. I’ll spend my time trying to make my home, town, city, wide spread area stronger, happier, safer, more productive. I think now that I really cannot afford to waste my time on unrelated lives and events elsewhere when I can easily do thinking and planning for where I am and toward what I want to do and become.

I rub away the dirt and grime off the plates with a tool that cleans. I rub away the weeds from my thoughts with tools that clear: great speeches, great stories, encouraging life coaches, volunteering, creating and planning times with family for fun things at fun places to empower dreaming and hopes that make a positive difference for all lives.     The End for now.

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