Friday, June 20, 2008
Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is appreciating what we have around us. I have been reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and he talks about being present all the time and learning how to be in the moment more often. When I went away to California back in March, I was in desperate need of mental clarity. I needed to know and figure out what was missing and why I always felt stressed and not very happy. Why could I not get that at home? It was new surroundings and different stimulation. My routine was missing, so the things I was needing to figure out I could because I didn't have all the commitments I usually have like house cleaning, taking the kids places, work, phone calls, and e-mails awaiting my attention. I was able to realize I can have that by simply making things like a clean house less of a priority and taking a few days to return a phone call if it means I can play apples to apples or uno with my kids. The thing is, that when I made having a clean house less of a priority, I realized our house actually stays pretty tidy for us to be home all the time. I decided I wanted to eat at home more and eat better quality food and when we made that transition it created more time and more space and we spend less and consume less. I backed off from a lot of the community commitments I had which also created more space in all of our lives and all of a sudden, I can be at home and seek the clarity I so desperately need to stay balanced and sane in a world full of chaos. So, why do we do this to ourselves? Our world is moving at such a fast pace we can't sustain ourselves it is next to impossible to stay present when we are so heavily committed and running ourselves to death and draining the earth in the process. We are working to buy things that supposedly will make our lives better, but then all that happens is we are away from the people and "things" that make us happy because we are working so hard. I do not want our lives to be like that. The reality is no THING makes us happy. We have to be happy within ourselves to experience true happiness. When I realized I was stretching myself too thin, I realized how little time I have to sit back and appreciate what I have around me, I couldn't appreciate the happiness I have within myself. I think we all do this. We consume because that is the way our society has been built, but it brings me no joy to consume anything. What brings me joy is to sit with my family and friends and share in laughter, taking time to watch the breeze move through the trees, or feeling the warm sun on my skin, noticing the purple cone flowers in my yard have begun to bloom or that for the first time ever we have an apple on our apple tree (who knows what pollinated it!). When I accepted that I can not always be at everything and that it is ok for me to want to be home and doing nothing and that I can say no occasionally, I suddenly felt liberated and alive again. I feel like I truly am able to present and be real within every interaction I have with each person I come into contact with. My life is rich in love and I'm fortunate to have such an amazing community and family that supports each other in our efforts to take care of ourselves however is best. I want to be a good steward of earth, I want to be genuine and compassionate and I don't have to go away to get mental clarity, I can simply look to the sky and watch the clouds move or gaze into the glow of the moon, I can see someone I don't know laugh or I can just breath deeply and become present. I can appreciate what is around me if I stay present and don't take each day for granted and get caught up in routines and commitments. What a blessing to realize this and be able to share it with the people I love. It gives me the space to truly be able to give back to those I love because I am not so consumed with getting my own needs met. I have the energy to give to my loved ones and rejoice in it without any expectation of receiving something in return. That is the greatest gift of all. That is the gift presence brings me. That is the joy of life. Giving freely... How beautiful is that?