We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.
Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day — the pinch we feel in walking on a buised toe, or the miracle still happening?
It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.
When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.
In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.
~ Mark Nepo
The wind howled and roared all night. The cold, crisp, dry air of the north bullied its way in, clashing with the soft, humid, warm air of the south that had been hanging out here for the past few days. It was difficult to sleep with all that racket going on outside, and I thought I’d feel terribly tired today, but the wind has an energy to it that invigorates better than the caffeine in my morning tea.
Clouds have been racing by, cruising out to the sea east of us. Dry leaves and sand along the driveway twirl like dervishes in a mad dance of joy and ecstasy. I twirled with the leaves for a moment, enjoying the push and pull of the wind, the dance with nature.
Today’s quote at the beginning is rather long, isn’t it? I read it a few times before deciding to start this post with it. It made me think about how, when I wash my face first thing in the morning with ice-cold water, six splashes to cleanse away the night and to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the gift of this day, I do begin “aware and grateful.” I walk quietly, almost on tip-toe, to the kitchen to look out the window, to see what the day will bring.
My mind registers the mess in the kitchen if we failed to clean up the night before, the pile of boxes still sitting in the dining room waiting for the new addition to have the finishing touches completed so we can move, sort, and shift and begin to settle in. I notice the pain in my right hip that works itself out after I walk for a little while, and the water spilled on the floor by one of the cats batting at the water bowl in an attempt to make it bubble, gurgle, and bring her fresh water. I don’t dwell on any of those things at first. They are part of the whole of the morning, and I’m still fresh enough to be grateful for the whole of the morning, the whole of life.
Ah, but then the teapot overflows because the basket is jammed and the cats insist on breakfast and the mess on the kitchen counter from the night before is no longer a thank you for the meal or snack we had but a mess on the kitchen counter, and if we would just clean up after ourselves as we go along, life would be so much easier, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to walk into a clean and tidy kitchen first thing in the morning?
Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before because the wind was howling and roaring, so those things that are small become big in my state of exhaustion. After a moment of grrrrr, I glance up at the gradually lightening sky or M walks in all bright and cheerful (because he’s so disgustingly bright and cheerful in the morning), and it’s hard to maintain that feeling of grrrrr in the light of his smile or the colors of the awakening day.
If I listen carefully, I notice there is music in what I thought was the roaring of the wind. There is a message to wake up, to pay attention, to be grateful for and to honor the wonder of this day.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ G. K. Chesterton
It helps, too, to follow the wind. To step out the door and dance and play and walk and sing with the wind as it roars through the trees and the meadows. This morning the wind that some would call brutal and cold, lifted seeds from the marshes and meadows and filled the air with them. The sunlight joined in, and magic happened.
Did I ever tell you that I write most of my posts in the morning? I do. That’s why they often make it seem like it’s still morning here. I write them, let them sit, and come back in the afternoon to edit, to change, to start over, or to leave it as it is. This one has had 13 revisions according to the little box that informs me of these things. I had to pare it down, and pare it down, and still it’s wordy. But 13 revisions is enough.
Thank you for stopping by today, and joining me in a bit of a ramble through the morning. Now that it’s nearly evening here, let’s go out to the platform to watch the sunset. Dress in layers, and be sure to wear a hat and gloves. The north wind is a blustery and cold wind, and it is always trying to find a way in.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂