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Do Not Put a Dish in this Sink!


By: Pamela Latour, Ph.D.

Several years ago I lived in the Middle East. We were a diplomatic family connected to the Embassy. It was necessary to put on many dinners and receptions and the pace was fast and furious. This meant that my children developed lazy habits because they spent a large portion of their lives with live-in domestic help. When we came back to the United States, these patterns created a challenge. We were no longer obligated to do the frequent entertaining and my children needed to learn how to handle life without someone cleaning up behind them. I especially did not want that someone to be me.

The dishes in the sink became a problem immediately. The kitchen was open to the rest of the house and a pile of dirty dishes seemed to be looking at me all the time. My instructions to put the dishes in the dishwasher turned into nagging which turned into yelling and I decided I needed to change my approach. I created a large sign that said. “All dishes get washed or put in the dishwasher. DO NOT PUT A DISH IN THIS SINK!” This sign worked and the daily glasses, cups and plates no longer got piled up. I knew that if I took down the sign my kids would resort to their old habits. It stayed up.

Fall turned into winter and I had forgotten about that sign. My brain stopped taking pictures of it when I walked into the kitchen. I forgot it was there. When you come into the same room every day, after a while you don’t notice the small pile that is accumulating in the corner or the sign by the sink. It’s like walking, talking or driving, your brain embeds the way your environment looks and stops actively looking at it.

At Christmas time I invited neighbors and students over for a party. At one point in the evening I began wondering why there were so many people in the kitchen. I was horrified to find that there was a line of people waiting in front of the sink to wash their dishes! Aside from this being funny now, I am still in shock at my oversight on taking that sign down.

If we see the same rooms in the same house, the same car, the same office and the same people, and we do the same things day after day, no wonder we get stuck in a rut! Our brain shuts down when it sees something over and over again. When this happens, we tend to feel like there is nothing interesting in our environment. In this state we just think of something or someplace else. These thought programs we go to often carry messages of how we’re not good enough, smart enough, young enough, old enough, pretty enough or loved enough.

Every thought has an emotion and every emotion carries with it a vibration, i.e. how fast or slow we move. There is a gland in the center of our brain called the hypothalamus. This gland manufactures a chemical match (or neuropeptide) for any emotion that we feel. These neuropeptides wash through our body and connect to the cells. The cells change how our body feels and behaves.

If we are sad, depressed or in grief those neuropeptides slow our body and our energy down and we begin slumping our shoulders, speaking slowly, and lowering our head and eyes. When our emotion changes to fear, anger, or frustration, our energy speeds up a little. If you could compare the emotion with touch, fear would feel sticky and anger would feel like daggers hitting whoever the person was angry at. If you have walked into a room where people were fighting and the tension seemed so thick you could cut it with a knife, you know what I mean.

When we become calmer and settle into boredom, contentedness or cheerfulness, our energy expands and we move into a state where others can stand to be around us. When we approach happiness, enthusiasm, and gratitude, we begin thinking and moving faster, standing taller and flowing ultimately to love. Love is where we magnetize or attract people to us. Everyone wants to be loved. Love of the people in our lives, love for ourselves and gratitude for our existence, expands our influence and leaves the rut far behind.

We all move up and down this emotional ladder every day. It’s when we get stuck in the emotion that causes a problem. Feeling the same dominant negative feeling every day creates an addiction to the emotion. We begin looking for something that will make us feel that emotion again. Have you ever known someone, that no matter what happens, gets pissed off about it? The hypothalamus/neuropeptide connection is also what addicts us to opioids. We get addicted to our own emotional state and look for experiences that allow us to feel that emotion again.

Consistently slow-moving emotion will cause slow moving energy through the body. As energy stays slow, it opens the door to disease. Energy that can’t move through the body the way it’s supposed to, gets stuck. The body tries to repair it by sending more energy to the area. When you get a scrape on your skin, it hurts because the body is sending extra energy to heal the wound.

We can unstick this emotional and physical lethargy by focusing on how much we love. Love speeds up our body and the body of the person we are sending love to. Taking our attention off of the normal issues and problems and intentionally feeling love expands our focus and influence. Shifting our thoughts to love brings our environment back to life. It makes us bigger than our problems.

Three things that we can do to immediately get unstuck:

1. Every night, before you go to sleep, write three things that you love that happened that day. Little or big things, it doesn’t matter, the important thing is being grateful for it.

This activates your brain to look for things tomorrow that you can be grateful for.

2. Write three things that you love about yourself, something good that you noticed, something nice that you did or achieved today. This could be small or big.

This activates your brain tomorrow to find what’s wonderful about you.

3. Think of something you’d really like to see in your life and write it down. Feel it in your body as though it has already happened.

This activates your entire body to attract more adventure, money and love to you.

The way we make life more interesting and get ourselves out of the rut is by re-focusing our attention from our problems to intentionally loving and serving others.

To shift gears slightly, it’s also a great way to make money and eliminate lack from your life. Change your agenda from “how can I sell” to “how can I love and appreciate others”. People love to be loved and they’ll love you for it. Make a habit of telling people you meet today, how much you appreciate them in your life. Love the world and you will be greatly loved in return even if you do occasionally put a dish in the sink.

If you have any questions on this subject or you want to talk about any aspect of life or death, you can write me with questions at My website, where you can read more articles like this is

I have a running workshop on Monday evenings in Lutz from 7 to 9pm. Call to RSVP at 813-520-8894. I’m looking forward to meeting you.

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