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Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

phosphate-free dishwashing detergent and post-holiday clarity ~

We don’t use phosphates in our dishwasher. They cause algae bloom, and lower the oxygen in water, suffocating fish if the bloom is excessive. But their replacements — phosphate-free detergents —  transform your originally clear and/or white dishes into cloudy, powder-covered trophies of environmentalism.

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I’m making peace with that. But I had this epiphany today, as I made a blueberry smoothie in the new blender. Trust me, it has to do w/ beginner’s heart :).

Pre-holiday, my husband bought me a new blender — breast-cancer pink, in honour of my sister’s survivorship. (We were still using the blender from our wedding!)  The new  blender jar  is a lovely clear polycarbonate — so clear it’s like looking through mountain air. It almost disappears between the pink lid and the pink base.

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I’m washing it in the sink, right after emptying the dishwasher of the phosphate-deprived glassware, each piece clouded and fogged w/ powdery residue. And I stop, as the whole Buddha-in-the-dishes realisation hits me. I know, it’s obvious. But somehow, seeing the crystal clear blender makes it real, tangible: with the accretions of life in the fast lane, too much work, and not enough outside breathing, I’ve become clouded.  The holidays, w/ their Amazon wish lists and lengthy to-do notes and laundry and dishes and cooking and wrapping and mindlessness have only exacerbated it all. Like the glasses given to me — once transparent, now pitted and fogged with salts — I’m dimmer and far less clear.

So I’m trying to figure out what the environmentally correct spiritual equivalent of phosphates is. There’s a Tibetan parable, about a stone picked up by a monk. He shows it to his student, then dips it in water. For a moment the stone’s colours bloom: mica and garnet in the metamorphosed schist. But as the water evaporates, the stone dulls, and returns to dull grey. Maybe all I need is something as ordinary as water. As gentle, as powerful. Something to bring me back to my original nature. Like the breath, followed to its resting place :). Or the contemporary koan of a blender jar, phosphates, and our inner Buddha nature…

 

 

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jack

    Why not wash the dishes by hand? Simple and Zen clear.

    • brittongildersleeve

      Jack, that’s very funny. It’s pretty much what I’ve been doing lately! At least the glasses…:)

  • http://www.bubblebandit.com Phyllis

    I tried to find peace with the new “phosphate free” dishwasher detergents but gave up on them because they don’t work. Luckily I discovered Bubble Bandit with phosphate online and now my clean dishes are back!

    • brittongildersleeve

      I’m so glad for you! Clear glasses :)

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