Naturally, the first associations that come with the term ‘dirty mindfulness’ are sexual. Though there are exercises on these pages that take into account sensuality and the erotic, the term arises from a different place, namely the kitchen sink, and a bit of frustration.
I began practicing mindfulness through the wonderful Palouse Mindfulness online course, and turned to self-study after that. As I dug into the literature and followed certain teachers, I began to notice only slight variations on similar mindfulness exercises: the raisin meditation, mindful walking. I felt myself becoming irritated when I heard teacher after teacher proclaim “you can even be mindful while doing the dishes!” This wholesome chorus is pronounced with such enthusiasm, it led me to believe mindfulness practitioners must have very clean kitchens indeed. Well, I certainly don’t always have a clean kitchen. At times, it’s quite messy, just as my life is messy. So, dirty dishes, dirty mindfulness.
Moreover, increasingly there seems to be an idea of a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to practice. But just like you needn’t join a conservatory to learn how to play guitar in a punk band, you don’t need a residency from a Tibetan monastery, or a PhD in psychology, to expand on the practice. Some people just prefer punk.
For my part, much of my thought on mindfulness comes from experience as a writer, an athlete, and intermittent addict of many of life’s pleasures and pains. So, this site is for the less wholesome of us — those who appreciate the voices of outsiders, and are perhaps outsiders themselves.
I hope you enjoy some of the exercises in Dirty Mindfulness, but if doing dishes is your thing, that’s OK too. Somebody has to.