Life has been different these days. Grannie moved out and I have been scrubbing and baking and decorating for days. We have our second bedroom back and the space was missed. Arjan and Sammy’s clothes and toys are all back in there, along with part of the old couch (the chaise lounge part, very fancy…not really), and my new indoor wooden drying rack I purchased from Pennsylvania Wood Workers. That thing is sturdy. I can have guest stay once more and no more piles of toys in my living room. Not as many piles, that is.
And the living room. I blogged this already but I found beautiful gently used furniture for $160 and redecorated the whole room with the new pieces and odd pieces around the house. With grannies things gone and some decluttering there is space again.
I feel rested lately. Grannie was a great thing that happened to us but she was extra work and being her caregiver meant a lot of driving to appointments and an extra human to tend to. My calendar was full, there was extra cleaning and cooking, driving, and extra chatter. Grannie loved to talk and bond. I probably wasn’t the best girlfriend for that. I have found since having kids I can handle one phone chat every few days with one or two particular friends and it has to be of some interest and importance. One of the gifts from grannie was the lesson that silence is golden. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t trying to teach that but that’s what I got out of all that talking.
Words are powerful. What we speak of and give our time to think about, it shapes our outer world. I get stressed when the conversations are negative and gloomy. I was able to see some of my behavior reflected back to me and correct my ways.
I learned so much with her here but I won’t get into all that as it’s personal and private for all involved. I will say that I’m taking on our life and home in a very different way these days. I’m grateful for the good music, the wholesome food, the cheerful chatter of my little ones and my peace. I am slowing way down with everything and practicing being present in each task. Because of this, I get more done but it takes all day because the chores are done slowly, methodically. I enjoy my days at home with no errands or appointments to interrupt our play and work.
I had really burnt myself out with this last move. I enjoy all I do so I didn’t feel the effects until after the move and I just pooped out. I was so exhausted all the time. Currently, I’m reading Urban Monk by Pedram Shojai and he is talking about the exhaustion that has become the American culture.
I don’t want to be of this world, mainstream…and I’m not like the typical American. I try to go in the other direction but I find myself caught up in that busy, nervous behavior anyway.
I jokingly talk about living in the Tao, however, the more I look into it I find it a very nice way to practice living. It’s been defined as living in the flow of nature and the seasons, and learning to live in one’s heart space.
To me, this means not forcing life and situations. Just be present each day with the mundane task. Sweep the floor, wash the dishes. When it’s cold and rainy, stay indoors and bake bread and try new recipes. Have your time of house cleaning and time to sip tea and read a book. Cook soups and eat from nature. And learn who you are by being aware of what feels right and letting go or clearing out what doesn’t feel comfortable.
My whole existence these days seems to be a spiritual practice. Even grannie living with us was like a Chinese movie with the drunken master coming to the weak peasant boys aid. The master teaches the boy to be a true warrior despite his inadequacies…or in lew of them. I think there actually is a movie like this but I can’t think of the title. Grannie swooped in, taught me some big and precious lessons of life, helped me get my life force back, taught me to slow down, be quiet more often, the depths of true patience and compassion, and building this little backyard farm despite my fears.
Then she left, poof, just like that and in perfect beat to the movies ending. Now, the heroine will go on living her life but ever changed for the better. Now I’m not talking incessantly, it’s not so important to get that next book written and I have chosen to keep the broom and indoor clothes rack because it slows me down. You can’t rush things when you have to wash each dish by hand or let your bread dough rise three times before it bakes.
We are eating with the seasons, we are going to bed with the hens and rising with the hens. I drink herbal tea in the afternoon and I have my candles lite all day. We spend more time in the forest on days out and I have chosen to do all my grocery shopping at a health food store coop in Grass Valley because it represents all I’m for…organics, sustainability, and healthy people. I will never shop at Walmart again. The last time I went there to get rain boots I felt like I needed an exorcism promptly after leaving the crowded and grungy warehouse.
There are many places, situations, and things that create discomfort, disgust, or unhappiness within my heart and mind. I like pretty, cozy, clean surroundings both in the home and outside the home. I like cheerful people and conversations with meaning and quality. I love the seasons and embrace all the parts of all four. I love nature.
From now on I will honor that. That is the gift I give myself and my family. We will shop at the quality stores, we will purchase quality items, we will go spend more time in nature, we will be very careful about who we spend time with and the conversations we have even if this means some time without others while waiting for those bright souls to find us.
I feel serious revulsion when I go to the box stores, when I eat fast food, and when I hear a group talk about all the madness in this world and how we should be afraid and angry. I want life, light, the truth, the way! Isn’t that what Jesus teaches? And all the masters that followed? The message is clear. The world has always been a bit messy and now it seems worse only because there are more unhappy people to fill it up. However, we can make the conscious effort to live otherwise. We can walk the other way and have a life that is peaceful, light and joy-filled.
Even amongst the madness that is our modern world. Let us be the example.