I’ve come to a point in my life, perhaps because of my age or the fact that my children have grown up and left home, that I understand more fully the gifts of slowing down. And, it’s also a bit frightening to settle in. I am used to moving forward with speed and acuity to accomplish goals and projects ~ some that were as simple as arriving on time or as complex as starting a whole new journey in a business like when we started the farm.
What I’ve found, as I look back, is that much of the hurry was self inflicted and driven. I missed so many opportunities to connect to my family and my surroundings because I was either racing around, distracted or totally exhausted.
There are over 125 million sites on the web now that are about ‘Simple Living’. Intuitively, we know we are missing life. We want to slow down to really see what’s around us and interact with life more meaningfully. We know that we need it for our own health at the very least but we also know, on some level that it’s needed in the world.
There are many ‘how-to’s of slowing down and living simply and they can become more ‘shoulds’ to do and can add to our fast pace or calendar of ‘to-do’ tomorrow.
My intention is to connect to Spirit in ways that are integrated into my way of being in the world instead of being yet another ~ thing to do.
While at the kitchen sink with dirty dishes stacked everywhere, food cooking on the stove, maybe even about to burn, I look up and see a cardinal in the snow-covered tree outside the window. Do I stop everything and take in the beauty while the food burns? Do I keep going and miss the moment and feel sadness and grief? If so, can I be present with the grief itself? Or, can I take a breath, send a prayer of connection and thanksgiving to the bird as I continue what I do and offer yet another prayer of gratitude for the food cooking on the stove, the running water that comes to my sink and yes, even for the dirty dishes that show that there’s been food in my kitchen?
I explore these simple ways of being in the world: sending thankfulness in a prayer when anything at all arises and shows itself. And that means embracing every emotion as well – even the ones that I deem to be unwelcome because I have a belief that it is a negative emotion or because it just plain ol’ feels bad.
What if everything that we feel, see, touch, hear and taste is a gift? The bitter and the sweet: all of it a gift. What would it be like to live in constant reception of ‘what is’?
I’m not concerned with healing or converting myself to some new concept of right living. I’m only concerned with living moment to moment as receptive as possible.
I know that then when I am open to the different parts of myself the tenderness that arises in me allows me to be more kind to those in my life. Everything gets a little softer, a little more sweet and those tiny differences help me to feel a bit more peaceful.
Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.