acknowledging simple abundance

On my walk to the barn yesterday morning I was struck by the sounds of nature; a cacophony of bird calls, crickets and bugs.  Everything seemed more alive than the day before.  The more I listened, the louder everything sounded.  It was like someone turned up the volume, when in fact all I did was tune in.

It occurred to me that when we pay close attention to things that please us, that make us smile, or bring us joy, the impact is greater.  The other side of the equation is that when we are bothered by something, give too much attention to it, then it will also deliver emotion, but be draining instead of life affirming.

My meditation today was to be conscious of giving attention to life-affirming moments, and let any that are irritable or irksome pass by. 

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laundry and the power to transform

I love laundry.  I have a special connection to laundering; I met my husband in the campus laundry mat at Queens.   If I could be wearing baggy sweatpants, big purple glasses and a volcanic cold sore and still manage to seem appealing; then surely there was something more to the act of laundering our clothes.

Many years ago when I was much busier(working, family, travelling),uncharacteristically I found myself bitter about doing the laundry.   This was a feeling that I would never have had before.  I always enjoyed the process of laundering clothes…sorting,loading from washer to dryer, folding from the dryer, folding from the laundry line, and yes—even ironing.  I had a moment of self pity: why am “I” the only one that does the laundry?  whine…whine…whine… Why can’t “someone else” do it? whine….whine…whine…

I remembered a quote from the book I was reading at the time,
“The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest. “Thomas Moore

I knew that truth, but I needed the reminder…  I recalled the days when I shopped a lot at second-hand stores and “vintage” shops;)  I remembered easily the fact that I didn’t always have the money to buy new clothes, and was diligent in keeping clothes clean so that I wouldn’t have to spend extra money laundering them.  I reminded myself that I was in fact, very blessed to be in the position of having clothes to launder, sheets to change and diapers to wash.  Changing the way I viewed the job, transformed the activity from a chore to an act of gratitude.

Most of us have read or heard of Eckhart Tolle’s books.  He is a spiritual leader from B.C. and his groundbreaking book, “The Power of Now” made him famous and one of “Oprah’s” favorites.  As referenced by the title, the importance of being present, not wishing your moments away, is the key to a heightened consciousness.  I would add, peace.  He put the consequences of complaining our moments away like this:”To complain is always non acceptance of what is.  It invariably carries with it an unconscious negative charge.”

So when I have my dog smiling at me because he has luxuriated in the bog, or fingerprints on the windows(when Emily was little), or dirty floors that need cleaning again: I make the shift from irritation to gratitude for animals in my life, children leaving their signatures, and people in my home.