Friday, July 16, 2010

"Only not dying."

The past few days I've been busy filling the hours with housework, chores and errands. Trying to make the most of my week with only two kids about. A good bit of the time I succeeded but there was a fair amount of failure when I just goofed off. Life can't all be work, now.

During my lolligagging, I was able to read a few more pages in the Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich book. With my epiphany during the first forty pages, I cleared out at least 1,348.765 pounds of books and some clothes that are now lining the shelves of the battered woman's shelter. That was a good move and already story time is easier, feels less overwhelming. Giving to those who need it eases my heart of the burden. The cleaning also brought about my finding The Little House on the Prarie story time hardcover. The two oldest girls listened to me read the first two chapters tonight. I missed those camp-goers terribly. It was a good way to reconnect.

With the reading of the next four pages of Voluntary Simplicity I find myself at mental red light. Here, the author delves into a section called "Maintaining Ourselves and Surpassing Ourselves" again, another point of balance. (Which is what everything seems to hinge on). Maintaining our bodies while our minds seek to surpass what and where we are now. Mere maintenance allows only for our bodies to not die. Living isn't truly accomplished. Yet, focusing entirely on providing ourselves with a meaningful, soulful, existence our basic needs won't be met and we will die. The balance of both is crucial.

My mind is pondering this. I can feel the thoughts rolling over and tumbling around in the grey folds of my brain. To shun everything and merely exist won't work. This is what the author has said from the begining. Letting go of material wealth, turning off the power, sacrificing the things that make us happy or lively will not help us to move toward, well, for lack of a better word, enlightenment. For a long time I've thought that the only way to make the move to simplistic living was to get down to brass tacks, live a barren life. The key is to find a balance between technology and rustic living.

Have I been doing this? Have I been neglecting the maintenance to focus on the surpassing? Engrossing myself in classes, lessons, books and websites hoping to learn from text what I cannot learn by doing?

Then today I came across a quote on my Zen-a-day calendar.

As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life. - Buddha

Has this been the way I've been handling life? Constantly looking forward to "the next thing". The next course, the next article, the next blog post or workshop letting the experiences of the day pass me by while I wait? Holding an idyllic scene in my mind of what life will be like when we finally get on our land? Thinking that today isn't as good as it is because my dreams haven't been realized? 

I think I might have been. I think that scares me.

So, today I look at what today is. What can it be, what time can I spend forging memories in my children's hearts while still working towards the goals that are written across my own. I will stumble. It's the way of me, but I'm hoping as I continue reading this particular book that life starts to balance out a little more. And by only not dying, I'm hoping I really get to live.


Sarah said...

I LOOOOOVE THIS!! I have been reading the same thing in "Women Food and God." This book is about using food to avoid experiencing the moment, refusing to live in the moent, etc. I definitely see this in myself. Practically everything I've been reading has been about this principle and it's really something I've needed to hear. I love that you are exploring this too. :)

sproutingflowers said...

I very much relate to the propensity to constantly look forward rather than live where I am now. It takes place very much in the thought world. Rather than thinking, "When Little Guy can walk..." I school myself to think, "Mmmm! Sweet plump babyflesh!" It's a conscious struggle. For me it's not just about living a balanced life, but about heeding the words of Scripture that exhort us to "learn the secret of being content in any and every situation." Life is too short to spend our days pining for either the past or the future.