Tuesday, November 1, 2011

{A Month of Thanks}

This first day of the month is warm...strangely warm, and it is confusing my circadian pulse.  The day after Halloween, this First of November, it's supposed to be crisp and gray and smell of woodsmoke.  Instead, the wind blows fiercely from the South, swirling dry leaves in circles and pushing the boundaries of this Indian Summer to the very edge of reason. 

Am I really wishing that it was colder?  Really? 

Before I am finished soaking up these auburn sunbeams the winds will shift and I will be scrambling for my wool leggings and fingerless gloves in an effort to outwit this drafty house.  And won't it be then, that I remember this odd First of November and look back on it with longing?

But aren't we all like that?  Most of us spend a great deal of our time kind-of living in the moment while simultaneously scanning the horizons of our days, our lives, for other things of interest, or excitement, or promise or beauty.  We take what we are dealt but we're secretly betting our money on something better.

And that is where we get it so very wrong. 

Because when we fail to embrace the present, in all of it's glory or craziness or disappointment or pain, we reject the gift. 
The moment,
each and every moment,
is a gift.

How is this so?  How can this be true?

I'm only beginning to understand how this can be true. 

I struggle each and every day, no--each moment, to fully accept the gift because I'm not fully present.  Although my feet feel fully planted amongst the lilies and the birds, my mind has already sent out sentries to the boundary waters, scouting out possible outcomes or exit strategies or peace treaties.  If I don't consciously pull my focus back to the current footstep, I will forever be formulating ways that this might turn out.  For better or for worse, it doesn't matter.  The one thing that remains constant is my ridiculous sense of control.  If I can just stay one step ahead of all that is coming down the pike, perhaps I can keep it from getting worse or any scarier or more awkward or, in my more twisted moments, keep it from being too good to be true.

But this is not how it has to be.

So I am declaring this November A Month of Thanks.  I'm going to make it my daily practice to look around me, in the moment, in as many moments that I remember to, and find the gifts.  Because they are everywhere, these gifts. 

They are literally everywhere.

"If you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days." 
~Annie Dillard

I've been feeling down today, very unproductive, and uninspired.  When this happens I just have to engage in one, simple action that can shake me from my stuckness.  I must move in a small direction in order to reset my focus and turn my mind away from my that which holds me down.

I chose to clean my bathroom. 

I walked to the sink, stared at the accumulation of unrinsed toothpaste and stray hairs and, rather than succumb to criticism and judgment, I chose to wipe them away.  I scrubbed that sink clean, until it shined and reflected back the light from the row of lamps hanging above it. 

And how could I not make the connection, of how I walk around daily, dripping of dirt and, always, it is wiped away. I am made clean, again and again, and never am I condemned or resented or ignored. 

Every day. 

And how long has it been since I cleaned the sink anyway?  Why wouldn't it be dirty after washing hands made dark from a life well-lived and brushing teeth clean of the good food that settled there? 

And there I find it.

The gift.

Of live lived richly and abundantly.

And, in an instant, my heart is turned. 

The pennies are everywhere and, suddenly, I am rich. 


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