It is amazing what a warm shower can do.
There are moments when your body, your mind and your soul are all aching at the same time. When life switches you to a semi-automatic mode, it is far too easy to lose touch. Thankfully, I got reminded of the importance of being thankful.
Be. Thankful. In moments of pain, those words can appear sharp. You commute back ‘home’, alone through a sea of people, feeling disconnected from it all; Koyaanisqatsi keeps coming to mind. It sometime feels as if you were waiting for a train at the wrong platform, jumped aboard anyway and finally got off at the wrong station. Should you ‘thank’ anyone for it? If you sit there in sorrow, you are not going anywhere.
I went back to my little box in a box. You know, those boxes made of empty corridors and rows of closed doors; sounds of life but no real signs of it. I jumped in the shower to try to wash some of the aches away, sooth the body, the mind and the soul. It is amazing what a warm shower can do.
As I felt the water dripping down my face, washing some of the tension away, those words came back to mind: be thankful. I closed my eyes and started tracing the path of the water in my mind.
As I saw the clean water coming up the pipes up to my floor, I was reminded of the plumbers assembling the maze of water ducts and all the other builders that had worked months erecting the condominium from the dust. I saw them work and joke, getting sad and happy, tired and then back to work; water flowing at the centre of it all
My mind continued into the pipes of the city’s network. For every place I would cross, water sanitation plants, large aqueducts and water dams, more and more people were coming to mind. All the builders, the engineers, the drivers moving everything around and all the roads they were using, all the trucks, the mechanics, the petrol stations, the refineries, more and more people all with their lives and their dreams, their aches and their sorrows.
My mind continued to the factories where all these items were constructed out of ingenuity, knowledge, sweat and raw materials. I ventured down more transport routes, trucks, cargos and planes, and into the caves and mines where all these materials were extracted from the earth. More and more people were deserving my thanks. All the lives that helped my water along the way. In feeling thankful I was feeling connected. It is amazing what a warm shower can do.
Suddenly, my mind switched to an ancient Roman aqueduct under construction. I was being transported through time, countless people had slowly shaped the technological wonders that would one day combine into this warm water washing away a feeling of isolation. How many of them had failed? All of them had persevered.
Marvels of engineering and architecture, science and art. Knowledge passed on and refined generation after generation. Networks of power and water, logistics and transports, companies, organisations, governments and tax payers.
I could attempt to use the little knowledge and skills I possess to carve myself some kind of a container, attempt to boil some water over a fire started with a couple of sticks and finally splash it over my head, but even then I would have to thank all the people that have passed that knowledge on to me, my parents, my teachers, my many mentors in real life and in the media. For every single piece of technology I use there is an unfathomable amount of people deserving my thanks. For every single skill that I possess there are generations and generations deserving my thanks.
It is amazing what a warm shower can do. That simple daily moment is in itself a luxury, one of the most basic luxury I enjoy. We often take things for granted. Our expectations, our suffering, our definitions of fair, all impact on the way we look at life. I sometime forget about this lesson and let these feelings take over me again; disappointed, disconnected, isolated, at war. Judging people when I define them careless and lazy in my regard will only lead me to anger. However, even when they did not seem to care for me directly, so many were deserving my thanks. So after a bit of time and a few showers we can find it in ourselves to realise how interconnected we all are and find it in our hearts to be thankful.
When you walk back out of your little box, the sea of people is the same, your ego is not. It is amazing what a warm shower can do.
To all of you I say ‘thank you’, for the shower, and everything else.