“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir
Rooted and reaching;
Grounded and in praise;
Go amidst the trees to observe and absorb;
To wash your spirit clean;
Sing the song;
Dance the dance;
Become the poem of ordinary days made extraordinary by simply taking notice;
God’s canvas, creation and poetry to partake in;
Keep reaching for the sky, rooted firmly in deep rich soil;
Sacred ground, holy place;
Pause here a bit and rest;
And then softly carry it forward into each day.
“It’s never too late in life to have a genuine adventure.” – Robert Kurson
“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” – George Eliot
When I got new floors in Spring, I donated a lot of items and only put back what I really wanted into my house, leaving space, organizing and eliminating piles. My goal is to have my basement and garage fully decluttered and organized by spring.
Each day, I organize a shelf, create a file rather than a pile and chip away one step at a time. I’ve collected a lot through the years plus items from my parent’s and Aunt’s house after my Dad and Aunt passed. At the time, I couldn’t part with the items, but now realize that they are not required for me to remember them since they remain in my heart, voice and stories.
As I am decluttering physical spaces, I am noticing that it creates a sense of order in my mind. I can find things easier and am not filling space with new stuff recreating clutter. Not fully a minimalist but on the path to deeper meaning which equates to more with less.
Clearing spaces naturally leads to the clearing of the mind. If we are willing to clear the shelves in our thoughts and narratives, we expose old thinking, limiting beliefs, “should” lists, “others expectations of me” lists, people pleasing habits that no longer and never served our becoming and coming home to ourselves. It isn’t as easy as cleaning a shelf, but the journey is worth the destination. As you unravel trappings of ego, vulnerability and fear, you create space for expectation, joy, creativity, renewal, light and freedom.
And the journey both ends and begins when you arrive in a “new world” and “burn the ships.” In 1519 when Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez landed in the New World, he ordered the burning of the ships signaling that there was no turning back. For King and Country has a song called Burn the Ships:
“Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye
Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back”
Until we are willing to “burn the ships,” we will keep returning to the past, assuming the future is a continuation and replay of what was. Clear the deck in all spaces, keep the lessons and burn the ships.
“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Been going through the motions lately. Busy, busy. Bouncing from one thing to the next with little depth in between. There will always be a reason to put living off for another day. Yet today is the only one promised so stop and carve moments of joy, laughter, quiet and gratitude. A song, a poem, a picture, a few words. At least one.
“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“It is a great art to saunter.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Every day brings new choices.” – Martha Beck
It was hot today so Abby and I sauntered once around Como Lake. In our sauntering, we came upon the same bunch of flowers we that we run past again and again. This time, they jumped up and down in brilliant deep purple calling us to stop and take it all in.
Familiarity brings comfort and ease, a feeling of being home. We often take for granted that which is most familiar, seeing past what’s right in front of us in hot pursuit of whatever we so frantically chasing.
Spend some time, each and every day, sauntering more. You never know what will jump out to embrace you and pull you deep into gratitude and delight.
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley
A big band as the sun prepares to rest can only make for a bit of delight. Music, art and nature sustain and fill our very soul. A light step, a twirl and a smile and the moment is so much more than enough.
Lily and me escaped to Como Lake tonight. To walk, not run. To saunter, not speed. Embracing the gift of a warm summer evening with a slight breeze at just the right time. When we sat down to enjoy the music, an older couple got up to show us how to lighten up and dance like no one was watching.
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”- Plato
Escaping all that binds us need not be complicated or planned too far in advance. Spontaneous and special, and required of us daily.
“Most days weren’t clear when you were in them.” ― Naomi Shihab Nye
“Older now, you find holiness in anything that continues.” – Naomi Shibab Nye
As the days go faster and we go slower, we may long for days gone by, our youth. But the days slow when we remain squarely within each one, fully aware and awake. Wiser from what was and hope-filled for what is to come. The wide path becomes narrow and we can see and appreciate what is most important.
As the need to prove oneself subsides, moments linger and connections grow deeper. Creating and being replace competing and doing. And if we are fortunate to find clarity in the days when we are in them, we discover what has been there the entire time…love expands, multiples, grows, sustains and is what we are here to do. Our moments become holy.
Each time I try to take control, steering and holding on too tight, I get lost. To be a boat, sailing and not steering. To find and to be found.
If I Wanted A Boat
by Mary Oliver, Blue Horses
“I would want a boat, if I wanted a
boat, that bounded hard on the waves,
that didn’t know starboard from port
and wouldn’t learn, that welcomed
dolphins and headed straight for the
whales, that, when rocks were close,
would slide in for a touch or two,
that wouldn’t keep land in sight and
went fast, that leaped into the spray.
What kind of life is it always to plan
and do, to promise and finish, to wish
for the near and the safe? Yes, by the
heavens, if I wanted a boat I would want
a boat that I couldn’t steer.”
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” – Helen Keller
My plans for the day fell through so I actually stayed home and dug into the “when I have time” projects. Facing the pile to file, organizing and discarding clutter. Projects that we delay but once started and completed offer a certain satisfaction. And in the act of decluttering our surroundings, we declutter our minds. We’re good starters and multitaskers at the expense of finishing and focusing. There’s value in finishing and not starting the next thing until we finish, in going deeper instead of wider.
We move so quickly between one thing and the next, not fully appreciating and experiencing the fullness of what is right before us. When we allow for pondering and planting, we harvest joy and gratitude. Plan for some unplanned time and let the tasks and gifts of the day unfold.
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” – Sophia Loren
I am taking a few days off to relax and enjoy the remaining hours of my 49th year. People asked what I am going to do and I told them that I am going to reflect on the past 50 years and think about what I am going to do with my next 50 years. Time moves quickly and slowly at the same time. We wish days away and then suddenly we’re 50 and feel like 30.
If we don’t pause along the way to witness what was and is right now, we miss the gifts and blessings that surround and embrace us. Regret can only be avoided if we remain present in each moment and aware of our power over our own lives and not distracted by the noise.
When we’re younger, we work on getting experience to get to the next thing, the next promotion, the next opportunity, the next trophy… Now I am more interested in experiencing each day giving my best regardless of recognition, learning new things, gaining insight, creating meaning, traveling lighter, letting worries go, trying to be much less serious and making good use of the experience I have earned by growing others.
Looking back, I don’t have the life I thought I would have but I have the life I was meant to and doing my best to live it well. And each day is overflowing with gratitude, grace, love and sprinkled with delight in the simple moments. Figure out what really matters right now and make each day its own end. So instead of the next 50 years, I think I’ll focus on the next 50 minutes.