Walking Home

bird1I dropped my car off at the shop at 8:30 this morning.  I live within a walking distance of the auto shop, about 25 minutes.  Today is one of those pre-vernal-equinox days.  It tempts the mind to believing that it is spring.  The awakening inside is piqued and we lean towards longer, warmer days.  Those days when the bulbs burst into their flowers and we rise feeling renewed.

It’s so easy to hop into the car first thing to run errands.  Get where I want to go quickly, accomplish more things on that never-ending list.  Such a convenience.  Such an expediter.

It’s when I don’t have access to the car that I begin to really see what surrounds me.  And to discover that there are surprises in every front yard.  The wood-crafted alligator that guards the front patio.  The ornamental kale in barrels in front of the fusion food truck on the little boulevard.  The so soon crocuses, purple, yellow and white.  The Downy Woodpecker beats out his rhythm in the ancient cherry tree.  Then there’s the way the sun feels at this time of the day.  And the way the soft sunlight touches what I see.  Past the auto dealership…I’d like to be in the market for one of those jeeps…but not yet.  The spectacular vista of the mountain peeking through the low houses and buildings.

I pass a rare few people on foot and the greeting is always to “Have a nice day.”
What is it about this time of day that enlivens the sleepy soul?  What is it that makes you glad to be alive and renews optimism?  I don’t know, but I wouldn’t have experienced it if I’d been in the car, in a rush, not in the present moment.

Not to make it all glamorous.  Walking home from the mechanics on a winter’s day with snow and ice on the ground is not a picnic.  At each street corner, there is an indefinable slush puddle.  It could be deep enough to seep over your boottops.  Then the walking home is more of a survival exploit.  I find myself looking down and then out, down and then out.  I don’t see much of the scenery as the focus is not to slip and fall.  Regardless, I allow this adventure on occasion too…a test of my mettle?

All of this to say, take a walk in the morning when you have an opportunity, or make one.  See what you notice that you might have missed had you not been on foot.

And, “Have a nice day.”

 

Conscious Ceremony

In our workaday world, it isn’t often possible to slow things down.  Depending on the demands of your life, your stage of life, where you live, etc., it may seem to be infeasible.  However, years ago, in the midst of a growing family and work outside the home, I began to claim time apart.  I converted a space in the roughly finished garage as my art, craft and sewing studio.  Giving myself this physical place, A Room of One’s Own, facilitated both my creative and contemplative process.

Back to the idea of Conscious Ceremony…Did I mention that I love the morning?  Especially on a day when I don’t have to rush out the door.  I’m working at minimizing adrenaline rushes.  This morning, before I get caught up in the momentum of the day, I’m going to harvest cherries from the cherry tree in my backyard.  This fleeting seasonal gift from the earth–if I don’t pick them soon, they’re going to be overripe or for the birds.  Then I’m going to blend the best cherry smoothie.  Sip it slowly, now, as I greet this day.

When I move into the day, sloooowly, I am able to bring a feeling of ceremony to my activities throughout the day.  Surprisingly, when I start the day in this way, I seem to “get more things done” if that is the goal.

As poets, writers and artists, we deepen into another level when we take such time apart.  Not something crammed into an already jammed schedule.  But truly A TIME APART.  There is a leisure to this  non-ordinary time, as if we had all the time in the world and could actually savor the moment.  This is how we deepen and evolve as creative beings.

This morning offers time enough to write my blog, to write in my journal, to practice drawing, to make my list for the day.  And, to be a witness to the determined sun rising over Quail Ridge.  All of this is ceremony!

Expressing the gratitude I feel for the beauty and appreciating the many wonders is ceremony.  Sipping this amazing smoothie, reveling in the generosity of a tree that shares its gifts with me–this nourishment to my body, mind and spirit.  Such a pure gift.  Deep awareness brought to the morning activities–this is ceremony.

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Taking Time Apart, Conscious Ceremony, can take five minutes or as long as you choose for your busy life.  It’s really the pause that you invite in as you move into your day.  Awareness, gratitude and presence do seem to be the key ingredients of this pause.