When I first came to Marsh Chapel during my freshman year, I became known by the staff for consistently cleaning the dishes after Monday night community dinner. At the time, I didn’t think anything remarkable of this. Cleaning serves as a meditative practice that I find enjoyable most of the time, ever since my mother taught me how to wash the dishes as a kid. It allows me to clear my thoughts and focus on the water rinsing out plates, bowls, and cups to reuse them again.
I only realized within the past few years that it provided me something else: time by myself. Time to think, to reflect, to simply be present in a moment. It can sometimes be hard to find this when living in a city and being surrounded by activity, distractions, and external demands. While I do love engaging with people on a regular basis, especially people I care about, I also need to balance that time with space and moments to be alone. Somehow it feels easier to be attuned to the world around me when I’m attuned to my own thoughts and emotions.
Right now, I haven’t had as much time recently to practice this kind of self-awareness or find such moments of quiet solace. As Thanksgiving approaches, I hope that I can make time to create that space for myself.