On a cold morning in March,
pedalling along Bush Point Road,
I saw this sign.
I realized that I didn’t know where I was. My mind was on an inward road, planning or ruminating, I’m not sure which. The sign made me wonder how much of the ride I had missed…it woke me up to the bare alders against grey skies, the green arms of hemlock arching above me, the scent of dawn near an inland sea.
I want to inhabit my life more fully.
I want to pay attention to the details.
I want to breathe deeply.
When I attempt to define simple living, I find a continuum. At one end is the pared down, uncluttered list of 150 items. The opposite end is my beauty craving, inspiration driven material girl. My life is a complex blending of numerous job descriptions, multiple art disciplines and a broad spectrum of inner archetypes who are sometimes collaborating and sometimes competing. The continuum tips toward complexity. It’s richness invigorates me… invites me into each new day like a gracious dance partner, taking my hand and leading me onto the floor.
I want to follow.
Yet inherent to this complexity is complication. Which job should I do first… do I respond to vitality or urgency? Can I stay focused enough to finish my creative projects? And who is at the helm today??
If I inhabit my life fully, these complications can be tiring. On the other end, a totally simple life sounds boring.
Did I say that???
Actually, neither extreme is inhabitable for long periods of time. The secret is movement along the continuum and I have found a vehicle to facilitate that movement. It’s a mantra that sauntered into my head while I was pondering:
Find a resting place in every day.
Last week I gave the mantra its test run and had one of the best rides of my recent life. I worked hard, was productive at my different jobs, took time to write every day and was relaxed and calm because I had identified a place in each day that I could rest. Once it was a long nap; once it was en empty evening for reading; once it was a long walk in the morning. Each of these resting places required my full attention… an acknowledgement that I was resting… a conscious entrance and exit.
Some people take up meditation practices as a way to pay attention. Meditation puts me to sleep. What was so lovely about looking for resting places is that every day was different. Different time, different activity (or non activity) and this variety is what pleased me. Most nights as I crawled into bed, I looked ahead to the following day to name the resting place. If the continuum was tilting in the direction of intense complexity, then the place of rest needed to be deeper. A simpler day required less. This simple preparation gave my waking a sense of eagerness. I didn’t live for the resting place. I lived toward it, inhabiting complexity in the arms of calm.