Friday, June 24, 2005

Pulling Weeds

Sometimes the simplest activities bring the most joy. Lately I view chores around the yard and house as quiet meditations -- joyful work. It wasn't always so.

When I worked in an office everyday, housework and yard work were obligations on my busy schedule that crowded out or threatened more pleasurable activities, like shopping or sitting at the laptop surfing the web. Even playing with the dogs seemed to try my ever short supply of patience, because I was focused entirely on decompressing from the stress of working.

Like many of my friends, I fed off the adrenalin created by believing that my work was so remarkably essential that it absolutely positively should take precedence over every other aspect of life. I bought into the corporate myth that every insane assignment borne of the crisis du jour or the latest palace intrigue was a life or death responsibility upon which the success or failure of the Washington region hinged.

The truth is that everyone is expendable, bar none, and that is a natural law of business. It is healthy to understand that, because otherwise you make lousy, ridiculous choices for yourself and your family. And the best companies understand that and do not require fealty at the expense of family.

I've been my own master now for nearly 60 days, and I think I've worked harder and longer than I have in years, and enjoyed it more. The secret for me is that the rewards are tangible and immediate, and as a result, my priorities have shifted back into a more normal biological balance. I have also come to realize that tomorrow was created for anything that couldn't get done today.

Today's priorities include activities I rarely if ever considered before a year or so ago...
  1. watching after and praying for friends and family who are troubled or aged or just in need of a little care;
  2. giving thanks to God early and often for the many blessings He has bestowed on me and my family;
  3. paying attention to the natural world around me, and doing my part to improve or safeguard it;
  4. taking time to notice and truly enjoy the many wonders that are all around me, like a luscious full moon nestled brilliantly among a Universe of stars twinkling and flickering into eternity;
  5. surrendering to the urge to feel sand and surf between my toes, whenever I am in need of spiritual counsel, solace, wisdom, relief or cleansing;
  6. writing. writing. writing. writing. writing.
  7. pulling weeds and planting flowers and watering the sparce lawn while patiently (NOT) waiting for grass seeds to take hold;
  8. checking in via email or phone with friends who keep me abreast of life in the BIG CITY and update me on what's important that day in their life so that I can enjoy vicariously the joys and accomplishments of my friends and family and also console them in their worries or sorrows;
  9. developing a sustaining faith that will comfort me when the clouds roll in and sun seems gone for good, because I know that life turns on a dime and dimes pop up when least expected;
  10. thanking Jesus for continuing to watch over me and bring Angels to my rescue whenever I ask (or they sense) I am in need of guidance or friendship or generosity or assistance or fellowship or counsel.

Perhaps the biggest weed I have pulled lately is the one that entangled my heart.

I feel like I am finally emerging after more than 12 years of emotional pain and loss from a place that too often was riddled with loneliness and the fear of being permanently alone and lonely. "HeartSleeve" rose from the mists created by the slings and arrows of hearts broken and loves lost, and a wall was subconsciously erected after the heart-numbing agony of losing my dear, wonderful, irrascible Mother to a horrible and too early death. These deep psychic wounds paralyzed me emotionally and left me with a deep-seated feeling of emotional and spiritual malaise. I do not hold myself apart here... each of us has known breathtaking heartache and gut-wrenching disappointment.

I needed assistance in that bit of spiritual yard work and I am relieved and overjoyed to admit I got the help I needed and life seems sunnier, even on dark days.

The human condition is such that I will always have days plagued with self-doubt and nights when my monkey-mind runs amok in my hot brain, but I have the tools to deal, now, where I didn't before.

I can usually make those moments pass by asking for God's intercession followed by several concerted deep breaths and some focus on what's going right in my life.

It isn't hubris that brings me to the page these days, but a willingness to share the good and the bad, the awful and the awesome, with anyone who is willing to join me here. Truly, you help me in my daily weed pulling exercises and sustain me when storms might otherwise buffet and blow me to the ground.

A tip of my gardener's cap to you all, and may we enjoy a summer ripe with bounty -- weed-free!


-- HeartSleeve