One of the exercises we did together last Spring in the Magic of Myth class was to round up our talismans. There is such a wealth of information in the objects, colors and textures that we are drawn to. And conversely, lots for us to reflect upon in those objects, colors and textures that we simply can’t tolerate.
This is also true for our musical, geographic and activity preferences.
All of which influence the daily choices that create each moment of our day, our life.
I’m thinking about this today as I try to answer a question from the magic of myth group. Actually, with any luck, I’m going to address what three people asked for as in exploring this quotidian life I can slide in some photographs of my new digs.
First, the questions:
the magical in every day life?
With the dishes and laundry piling up?
Amy B echoed the query:
about staying connected and to that,
the practical application & integration
of systems of magic into everyday. It’s tricky.
Amy W wrote,
Entire civilizations have risen from the
foundation of mythology and the enactment
of it through rituals, what amazing,
beautiful, enchanting things would we
discover when we create our own mythology?
I think we need a new round-up of mythic
resources to get the juices up, too.
Alrighty then. Let’s get this party started.
I don’t know when it was that I was introduced to the Shaker adage, “hands to work, hearts to God,” but it was early enough that I can’t remember a time not knowing it. Right now I am deep in my yoga teacher training which includes reading the Bhagavad Gita. In the Gita, Krishna counsels Arjuna
This is pretty much my answer to question number one. Ha. Don’t you love how I call in the big guns and hook up with none other than the power of the divine? But isn’t that what you are asking me about? Isn’t that what we are all seeking in one way or another?
For me, the answer has always been yes.
For me, focus on the actions of my daily life continue to bring me closer and closer to that Shaker ideal that I encountered as an impressionable, hyper-sensitive, hyper-seeking child.
Did this life I am leading today, March 17, 2015, land in my lap like some perfect present tied up with a bow? It didn’t. The life I am leading today is the current iteration of a journey I began over 30 years ago. Will it take you 30 years to savor each moment of your day?
Oh dear god I hope not, but if it does, my best suggestion is to enjoy as much of the journey getting there as you can.
How does this play out actually? Doing the dishes is where I began. Many years ago.
Imagine a year after a wonderful wedding you are down at your sister’s house in Boston when you get a call that your husband burned out the first floor of your house? Accidentally, obvs.
As the reconstruction inched along, which is my not so subtle way of saying for the next 18 months, you had to wash dishes in the bathtub. By the time you got to stand to wash dishes in a lovely new sink, I promise you– there was a whole boat of gratitude pouring out of your heart.
And it never left me. That practice of keeping the sink clean and bringing real focus to the gift of hot water, soap, the view out a window. All of it. I never miss an opportunity to enjoy meditation on the gifts in my life as I wash dishes.
However, before you hurl your dirty coffee cup at me in annoyance, let me assure you there are life chores that I absolutely do not like doing, laundry and house cleaning, most especially. And so those two items are right at the top of my budget. Am I a big shopper? Nope. Is most everything in my house repurposed, thrifted or second-hand? Yep. Do I joyfully drop my laundry at the laundromat and pick it up all clean and folded and pay for the privilege? I do indeed. And, for both the house cleaning and laundry I have exactly zero shame in outsourcing these prime homemaker tasks. In fact, I love handing over my money to women who have made this work their livelihood.
Maybe for you, cooking is the dreaded daily task.
For me, cooking is one of the greatest joys. Cooking and gardening are probably the two most meditative activities I know. They soothe me. And, working from home allows me to start a soup in the morning before heading upstairs to my desk.
That right there? Bliss. I really can’t put too much emphasis on it. Such is the genuine pleasure I get from this routine. It feeds my soul.
Maybe for you, someone else making the meals kicks open the door to nirvana.
The key is you have to know yourself and take the time to get to know yourself.
Because then, and only then, are you taking responsibility for getting your core needs met.
I knew a woman who loved ironing so much she would ask to iron my jeans. Seriously, that was her meditation she was always looking for more things to iron. The steady movements, the smoothing, removing wrinkles, folding, smell of fresh laundry, the steam? I have no idea what part made her most happy. I just watched her satisfaction in the beauty she created. She loved the process of ironing and had no shortage of rituals around it.
Find the beauty in the tasks and do them mindfully as an offering to the day, an offering to the vibration surrounding you. Take pride in your effort, particularly when it is hard, particularly when it really pulls from the bottom of the bucket.
I promise you, there are many nights I see dishes in the sink just as I am about to head to bed and, if I am deeply tired, the thought that I can just do them tomorrow is more than tempting, it seems justified. And yet, that is not where my joy lies. My joy lies in coming down the stairs in the morning to a clean sink. I know this about myself and so, I give this to myself and it is a gift that carries with it a sweet satisfaction and deepening trust.
Please understand. This is not about dishes. You may love doing dishes in the morning or not doing dishes at all. Don’t get distracted by my examples. The point is to find your daily rituals that link one to the next to the next until from the moment you wake up, to the moment you drop into bed, your day has been experienced, felt, witnessed.
It is a middle path between extremes
that transfigures everyday living
– Eknath Easwaran
So to wrap up here with a shot above of my window sill this morning. Amy W referenced ritual and magic and you can be sure I am all about the ritual and magic as part of normal, rainy day, every day life.
Even if it is only for five minutes (though it’s often more than that) I light a candle and burn some white sage. I sage me, I sage the dogs, I sage the room and I offer all of it up to the spirits. I share the beauty of the moment with them.
And in return, sunlight pours in the window, dust motes dance in the light, glittering, and spinning.
is constantly remaking himself or herself.
Left to itself, the mind goes on repeating the
same old habitual patterns of personality.
By training the mind, however,
anyone can learn to step in and change
old ways of thinking . .” Eknath Easwaren
Okay, I’m gonna stop here. I have no idea if any of this resonates with you, but this is my best effort for this morning. I may try again another day, but that’s only because these questions are THE questions of a life.
How do we live a life well? With joy, light, magic and mystery when there is so much suffering, struggle, war, heartbreak and boredom? We are all on the same path, looking for that good red road.
Here’s wishing you moments of stillness and connection in this and every day.
photo credit: Forrest Elliott