Living Mindfully: Why I Wash My Own Car

wash my own car

“When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing on your life.” Thich Nat Hahn

First, I realize that is not a picture of anyone washing their car and really, wouldn’t you rather see a gratuitous picture of Paul Newman after a race be you man or woman? And yet, it becomes less gratuitous when you recall that he was a guy who, while he might not have washed them, certainly knew that every detail of that race car was important to his very life.

While washing my car the other day, other than thinking of Paul Newman, I recalled this Buddhist quote and the case for focusing on everything we do; how being fully in the moment and making each moment matter is so rewarding.

And yet, there are other, more practical reasons I wash my own car. For one, it’s about taking responsibility for the things that we have. When we acquire things, we become responsible for them. It’s like accepting the terms of agreement on a website. Take care of our things, and they won’t let us down when we need them.

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I spent many years in my youth letting things fall apart; thinking, or rather, hoping, someone else would step in and fix whatever it was. Certainly, I’ve learned that isn’t how things work, nor how I want to live.

Now, when I wash my own car, I see things — a rubber seal that needs replacing, or if a tire is getting low on tread or air. If caught in time, all these are easy, manageable fixes. If not, they, like all things, become bigger issues requiring more money, time or energy.

We live in a world of “things” that are important for our daily lives, such as our computers, phones and cars. They need to be maintained, just as dishes need to be done, beds need to be made. Like the Buddhists say – do them with mindfulness, as if they are the most important things in your life and not only will you be living in the moment and at peace, but you will be less a victim of chance.

Chance favors the prepared mind, and life.



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