We are in the mindfulness module in DBT, and it's probably the eighth time I've gone through it. It's not that I didn't get it the first seven times, it's that I didn't absorb it. Each time we open our books, I am reminded of how much I have forgotten. There are at least three different colored pens and pencil, where I scribbled little notes for myself. Some of my reminders are written in all capitals, others are in quotation marks. Some are circled, or underlined three times. All of them reflecting back at me, as if to say "You need to remember this. This is important."
My memory is a funny thing. Having so many ECT treatments left my memory box jumbled and tossed around, with some periods of time completely wiped out, while others are as clear as day. The majority of them are clouded, and almost dreamlike. My short term memory is spotty, leaving me to rely on my handy dandy planner, multiple notebooks, and sticky notes in my pockets or on appliances I use everyday. The problem is, much like the notes I take in DBT, they are helpful in the moment, but I have to remember to remember to look at them, and use them. Practice makes perfect, they say.
I practice a lot of mindfulness. Having had DBT just yesterday, I decided to practice using all of my senses this morning. I put on some music and did the dishes and counters. As Eva Cassidy crooned in the background, I got to work on the coffee pot. I turned the water up until it was steamy hot, and soaped up my sponge. As the bubbles starting forming, the steam from the water rose up into my nose, filling my senses with the essence of orange. I swirled the sponge, water, and soap around in the pot, first going to the right, and then to the left. I sudsed up the exterior, before putting the sponge down. Then I let the clean, hot water bursting from the faucet, pour down oven my hands, and the coffee pot. I held in upside down, and then turned it over, to let it fill up. Again, I swirled the water, to the right, then the left, and poured it out. A few more times, and when it was glistening and clean, I carefully balanced it in the dish rack. I hummed along to the music, as I did all the dishes, singing out in the chorus, and cleaning the dishes in rhythm with each song.
When the counters were wiped down, the faucet turned off, hands dried with the blue dish towel, Eva and I finished singing "Ain't No Sunshine," and then I turned that off too. In the quiet, I was able to take in my carefully stacked dish mountain, and sparkling counter landscape, and smile. I felt peace, and accomplishment, and ready to take on my next opportunity to be mindful. I reached into my back pocket, pulled out my aqua sticky note, and crossed off dishes and counters. Now I just have to remember what "lost and found" was supposed to remind me of. It must have been important, I wrote it down and put it in quotations.