Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Re-treating into the ordinary




I wrote here about my need to find ways to refocus my life, to de-chore and re-treat it in small ways. Today the weather was beautiful, after a string of not so nice (at times ugly) Spring weather, so this afternoon I decided to take advantage of it and do some things outdoors.

First, I spent time weeding and cleaning up our rock garden off our lower patio. It was full of weeds - a job that really is for our yard crew to do, but which has not been done conscientiously in recent years. So, I lovingly pulled out the weeds and tended our lilies and other plants under the gaze of the afternoon sun.

It felt good to put on my gloves and dig in the rocks and dirt.

I worked slowly, methodically, with no deadline or pressure to hurry me.

And I quit when my back began to ache.

And I looked at the results of my efforts, and took pride in the beauty I had created.

Then, I picked up my book (the novel Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne) and headed up to our deck, and spent an indulgent hour reading in the sun. I sat with the rays beating on my back, penetrating the black of my t-shirt, and heating the very core of my being.

I could feel the sun recharging me. Earth and Fire had both lent me their power.

It was quiet, peaceful, and I sat listening to the chatter of the sparrows and the occasional bark of a dog or the engine of a passing car. The world was mine and mine alone for that hour.

Today was a day of ordinariness. I did nothing fantastic, nothing remarkable. I just was.

It was good.

And then, tonight, I drew a card from my beautiful Osho Zen Tarot Meditation deck. Now, recently, I have written about how amazing this deck is, and how absolutely spot-on it has been every time I have turned to it.

So, I should not have been surprised tonight.

I drew the Ordinariness card.

Here's the accompanying description:

"This figure walking in nature shows us that beauty can be found in the simple, ordinary things of life. We so easily take this beautiful world we live in for granted. Cleaning the house, tending the garden, cooking a meal - the most mundane tasks take on a sacred quality when they are performed with your total involvement, with love, and for their own sake, without thought of recognition or reward. You are facing a time now when this easy, natural and utterly ordinary approach to the situations you encounter will bring far better results than any attempt on your part to be brilliant, clever, or otherwise extra-ordinary. Forget all about making headlines by inventing the latest widget, or dazzling your friends and colleagues with your unique star quality. The special gift you have to offer now is presented best by just taking things easily and simply, one step at a time."

Wow.

I had to stop and think about this description for a bit.

I thought about how I have struggled so desperately with the book writing project this Spring, striving to produce something dazzling to show my colleagues, and not having great success.

I thought about my efforts to prove to people that I deserve better than the treatment I received this year at the hands of my institution.

I thought about how hard it has been to envision a future path that does not include teaching.

But this card has reminded me, as the other recent cards have, that it is time to change my perceptions.

It is time to be patient and ordinary.

It is time to tend my gardens, both figuratively and literally.

And in doing so, my true self will emerge, stronger, better, and brighter.

1 comment:

Christine Claire Reed said...

Exceptional post today, Chris -- in content AND style. ;)