January 5, 2012

nearer to the divine

How long does it take you to get ready for bed? It takes me at least 1/2 hour. At a minimum I: straighten the living room, tidy the kitchen, set up the coffee pot, take the dogs out, put them to bed, wash my face, brush my teeth, get a glass of water, turn off the lights, check the locks, turn off the heat, THEN go upstairs, straighten the bed, gather my reading material and glasses, open the window, get undressed, and then, finally, get into bed.

Last night I realized, mid-routine, that I was irritated by this process. All the stuff I had to do was just a series of obstacles between what I'd been doing, and what I was going to do next. This part, the process, was somehow unworthy of appreciation, or even notice, except as an aggravation. Strange, if you think about it (and I did, of course). Wasteful, really, to be irritated by 1/2 hour of every single day of my precious life. That's 182.5 hours a year.  7.6 days a year. Year after year after year. I spend an entire WEEK every year being pissed off about my bedtime routine. At the end of this ride I bet I'll wish I'd spent those weeks differently. Hell, I'm already wishing that!

And it's not just that time that's so ungratefully squandered. I get fussy about carrying in groceries, waiting in traffic, waiting for the dogs to potty, standing in checkout lines, looking for my glasses, waiting for a webpage to load for heaven's sake... and why? What would I do with that time if I could do something else with it? Climb a mountain, learn another language, paint a masterpiece, practice my mandolin, learn to play the ukulele I got for Christmas year before last, read more, laugh more, love more, live more? Probably not! Besides, most of those things are unavoidable, they have to be done, so it's not like I could actually opt-out anyway.

The only thing I can do, then, is choose to experience it differently. So that's my challenge: to recognize that all the moments of my life are precious, and to choose to appreciate them, or at least find a way to not resent them. Carrying in groceries may not be fun, but I could choose to sing instead of grumble while I do it. Getting ready for bed will still take me 1/2 hour, but I can choose to enjoy the fragrance of the soap when I wash my face, and the warm water on my hands. I can settle into the routine and remind myself that this is my life, moment by moment, and putting the dogs and the house to bed are sacred duties, and I'm fortunate to have them.

The bridges and stairways and stepping stones are more than just the way to get from a to b; they're part of the path, too, and more importantly, the path is ALL THERE IS.

How much time are you throwing away? What are you going to do about it?

"The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is 'look under foot.'  You are always nearer to the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive.

The great opportunity is where you are.

Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world. Stand in your own dooryard and you have eight thousand miles of solid ground beneath you, and all the sidereal splendors overhead." - John Burroughs


boops said...

You get all that done in 30 minutes?!!?! That's impressive! I usually squander my time in the evening on the internet, finding out about new things, reading up on things I thought I already knew or understood. For me it's relaxing and engaging, so then, it's not time squandered after all is it? Thank you for your post-it's both thoughtful and beautiful! Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Reading all this makes me smile as i can see Suzi making her rounds, petting the dogs, making sure all is safe and sound at the house. Been there and done that at several houses - spring house, olive street, glendale. It's just Suzi being Suzi and watching out for all those she carea about whether they are human or animal.


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