take a shower

Many years ago while working for some retail blue chip company as a contract sales assistant, I happened to observe someone unfortunately spilling a black fizzy drink on the marble white tiles of the walkway in the shop. Being a client, they profusely apologised and the manager waved away their efforts to get a mop and clean the syrupy mess and the unenviable task fell to the nearest shop floor assistant who happened to catch the manager’s eye (some of us had already perceived the oncoming task and were already busy nitpicking imaginary cotton flint on merchandise that was on display with eyes down cast).

A mop was brought and the effort to cleanse the mess began. After some minutes of trying to sponge off the fizzy drink all that remained was a wider circumference of a messy brownish stain that lead one of the supervisors to ask the mop driver if he was cleaning up or evenly redistributing the spilt fizzy drink on a wider scale.

This incident struck me today as I took a bath. I really mean no offense but how does bathing in a tub leave me cleaner? The water that I cast over my head flows down my body back into the tub taking with it whatever skin would have peeled off, whatever wax my ears would have surrendered etc.The same water rinses my armpits (at times with a new larder and bubble of soap) and flows back into the basin only to be redone again until the whole body is wet and scrubbed. That is when one gingerly steps out of the tub, reaches for a towel and declares self scrumptiously clean!!

But how am I clean when I have been using the same water to ‘cleanse’ myself. How does the soapy, murky water that flows away when I pull the basin plug certify me clean? Honestly if I use the water that removed my dandruff to cleanse my feet does that render me clean?

Change setting. Picture this. One gingerly steps into a shower and rinses from head to toe. The water does not accumulate but flows away with the layers of sweat, grim and dirt accumulated. Actually as the water flows down the body from the head it collects and removes all attachments foreign to the body and sweeps it away to the drain and when one walks away from the shower cubicle they can confidently vouch being clean, actually cleaner than the one who sat in a tub and recoated themselves with soapy water.

This set me thinking. Re-inventing the wheel and coating ourselves with the same grime of the past does not make us new persons. Redistributing our flaws instead of exorcising them does not make us better persons. Evenly redistributing our emotional issues and making them far spaced does not make them go away. It is the same like taking the grime from our feet and applying it to our hair and marveling at how clean our feet are not knowing the catalyst for dandruff that we have just kick started.

But taking an emotional shower is the deal. All the flaws go down the drain. All the ear wax that we put as a pretense or defense flows away never to reoccur. All the flax from the eyes flows away never to be seen or conjured when we conveniently want to be blind to reality.  A shower deals with all sticky aspects, sweeps them away and avails a new and fresh impetus.

Here is my take. If the sun is going to shine brighter for you tomorrow then the emotional tub and basin must go away and in must come the cleansing shower, hence my urge; take a shower !!!



closed for cleansing

Early last year I found myself having to take three different planes and spend more than twenty four hours in the air. It started as an exhilarating experience but after four stops and a cut across the GMT one can only wish that they will reach their destination and at least be allowed to sleep twenty four hours non-stop.

It was with this hope that I landed at Beijing International Airport only to learn I still had to endure another sixty minutes flying inland. This took the wind out of me and what worsened it is that I had to wait for at least two hours before my next flight.

Having my feet on the ground reminded me how tired I was and how much food and drink I had taken in the last twenty four hours of being airborne. I needed relief and off I went in search of convenience rooms.

After a 2 minute search and having made sure I had not mixed the symbols, I went into a convenience room, refreshed and relieved my tired body. On leaving the room I could not find the mechanism to flush. I could see the hand basin wherein I proceeded and washed my hands but the quandary was how then was I going to make sure my ‘business’ was sent to the repository so that the next user found it clean as I had !!

After a nerve wrecking two minutes and after confirming that no gadget was available as a flushing mechanism I decided to play villain and sneak out ( after all my hands were clean!). I surreptitiously opened the door, checked the passage, stepped out and closed the door (out of guilt).

As I tiptoed away I heard a gushing sound behind that door were I had just exited. Intrigued, I stole back and hey presto the repository was sparkling clean!!

It took me a few minutes to figure out what happened. There was no manual flushing mechanism but one had to exit the place and close the door for the flushing system to activate and thoroughly evacuate the repository. I then walked away with new found confidence that enabled me to even wave at the CCTV cameras blinking above me.

This set me thinking. So many a times we are not able to get full closure of matters that we want to walk away from because we still remain in the matter room. We still remain pondering on the emotional waste that we would have dumped without exiting the vacuum and the guilt   consumes us.

The airport experience taught me one thing. To walk away from all the past so as to attain a clean closure. To close the door on the strain and pain and walk into the corridor of fresh air. Then the clean break activates the cleansing system. At times we block the door of closure and prevent a full cleansing by constantly looking back at where we have come from and leaving a foot in the jamb.

Tomorrow, as the sun rises, I urge you to remove the foot from the door jamb and allow full closure for full cleansing. Let the sign on our emotional bunkers read CLOSED FOR CLEANSING.