Life is like a kitchen sink.

I don't know about you, but it seems I throw all kinds of things in my kitchen sink. It really catches lots of goop.

I clean garden vegetables and wash fresh fruit in it. I wash my dirty hands in it. I dump and fill pet bowls in it. In goes the food-smeared plates, the peanut buttered knife, the jelly spoon, the breadcrumbs, and the milk glass. Or the remains of my morning smoothie and coffee cup. I peel cucumbers in it, and wash the manure from mushrooms in it. I have even bathed a baby in it.

Of course I also scrub it frequently to clear anything toxic, to avoid cross contamination, and keep it fresh. Then it is ready for the next barrage (or garbage.)

Life gets all kinds of things thrown at it too. Seems when you least expect it, there is some kind of dirt, dump, smear, or grimy, crumbly, hazy, murky, yuck that comes in to goop things up. Sometimes it is a leftover from a traumatic experience, an unfavorable childhood memory, or damage from a previous toxic relationship that left you feeling bad about yourself.

Sometimes it is disappointment in a friendship you had long trusted, or frustration in an environment you have been too comfortable in for way too long. Maybe it is the pain of seeing your children making choices you know are not going to turn out to be pleasant, but knowing you need to let them learn that on their own.

As you look into the kitchen sink of life you may realize it too needs a good cleaning. To clear out all things toxic, to get rid of anything cross contaminating, and to make things fresh again.

To clean out the kitchen sink, first we have to notice the goopiness life has left behind. Then we can determine what is the best solution to cut the grime. We step back and reassess where we are, what we want in life, and what makes us happy. If we need to set boundaries with others, do it. If we need to distance from toxic relationships, do it. If we need to change our own sticky wickets, do it.

There are times we need a big change — to do something different and get out of our comfort zone. Change can be hard, yet necessary to freshen our kitchen sink of life. And sometimes it may be as simple as just using a different sink.

— Linda Yearout

Licensed Clinical Marriage & Family Therapist, Hope's Place in Wichita