Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Leave it lay where Jesus flung it

This morning, I woke up, rolled over and turned the radio on. The first sound I heard was the lovely voice of a 70+ year old woman, a former philosophy professor, talking about how she finds meaning in that decade of her life ~ especially now as a widow living alone.

"Taking out the garbage for a neighbor is more important than writing an article," she said. Of course that was not the sum of her message. The message she was trying to get across is that the little kindnesses matter most.

We all know that. I know we do. It's not like it's an original or profound thought but it's worth hearing every now and then, just to know for certain that it hasn't been forgotten.

When she was done, I came out of the bedroom, went to the coffee pot and came here to the computer. A long running thread on one of my email lists was all about "getting it done", producing, having task lists and then the inevitable praise emails coming through, telling each other how wonderful they are for "doing" so much.

You know, I try to keep in mind that everyone has different priorities - and it's not my job to judge it or make it right or wrong. It's where they are. Who am I to tell them it should be any different? And would it make any difference if I did? As the old saying goes, move on .... leave it lay where Jesus flung it. The universe is providing me with lots of "don't judge" lessons lately.

This is a big one for me. Not judging. As a cultural dissident, I have to judge. As a Buddhist, I can't judge.

So .. I can safely speak to the purely feeling level... the thread depressed me. It made me want to cry. I wanted to go back to bed. Perhaps if I turned the radio on, that lovely woman with the lovely voice would still be talking. She sounded so grounded, so content, so wise. Everyone's WishFor Grandma. She's too young to be my grandma. Even a bit too young to be my mother. But she felt like Grandma. I wanted to rewind time, to have a few more minutes in her world.

But.. the radio show was already over. Time had moved past the moment.

Now I'm getting ready to go out for my morning walk. I'll probably stop by Starbuck's to pick up a green tea/lemonade drink to take with me. Maybe there will be someone there who needs to hear a "good morning". Maybe there will be someone there who looks like he or she could use a cup of coffee and I can buy it. I'll stick ten bucks in my pocket - just in case. Maybe there will be a peaceful sound in the breeze or a stray cat to pet. Maybe....

And it won't be a "task" to be "achieved". It won't be on a "to-do list" and it won't have a price tag on it. It's "being", not "doing" - and it has no assigned value on the Production/Possibility Curve.



Christy said...

One of my yoga teachers says we are human doings instead of human beings.

I feel sorry when mommies talk about how busy their lives are, how productive--I understand the pressure, I do--how stressed they are, overscheduled.

I knew a lady with a personalized license plate...SOBUSY.

So sad.

Maybe I'm just a Type B by nature, and I would have gravitated here anyway, but I try to keep my scheduling down to what HAS to be done. No more.

This was a nice post, and timely for me, too.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Emily Dickinson kept coming to mind as I read this lovely post as she was concerned with the essence of living, which she did mostly from the confines of her room.

She's an extreme example, of course, of whom it could be said that she missed out on her entire life; yet by any objective standards, she accomplished more than most people ever do in leaving behind an enormous body of poetry recognized as some of the finest in our language.

I often wonder if the extreme busyness cultivated in this society masks an inner emptiness even as it precludes our having to concern ourselves with the greater issues.

I hope you did find stray animals to pet and people in need of kindness and coffee, because those things deserve to be the high points of your day and theirs. Smelling the roses is still a most worthy ambition.

Defiantmuse said...

I've been all about trying to just "stop, breathe, BE" lately. It's difficult, with a small child and my patience often dipping into the negative. But I know the need to remove stress and pressure is greater than anything else I think "should" be done. If I don't get something done today there's always tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and so on. One of the things I love here in Humboldt is that it's life in slow motion. Laid back. A bubble of far removed from traditional modern American culture or maybe it's more of a step back in time to small-town America where people smiled at each other and always said "Hello" in passing.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I struggle so much with valuing myself for "doing" and have a hard time just being. Thank you for this important reminder.

The reminder not to judge is helpful too, but I think I do better when I try to absorb one thing at a time. ;-)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Such a wise post, Chani. Thank you for the reminder.

flutter said...

perfect, Chani. Be the change.

Border Explorer said...

It tempts me all the time to place value on myself by the amount I've accomplished. I needed to read this post.

The manner of doing/being is ever so much more important than the deed done.

I'm absolutely hooked on this blog now. Thanks for sharing your life with me in this way.

Sienna said...

Some of the most beautiful moments of life can come from the most unexpected sources and places.

Sometimes the most extraordinary stuff happens on/in an ordinary type journey.


Journey Through Life said...

I am feeling really peaceful at the moment and your last few paragraphs were beautiful words to read. I hope you found ways of "being" out on your walk. Let us know! Is is a beautiful way of looking at the world.

Border Explorer said...

Chani, I’ve got something for you to pick up over at my place, if you’d like.

MsLittlePea said...

I totally could have used this post last week. The coffee especially..too bad I live in Florida.


we_be_toys said...

As a mom I understand that sometimes life races ahead crazily, the things to do piling up almost exponentially. As a closet philospher I abhor the rat race and do everything I can to keep us out of it. I think it's crucial for all of us to unplug and reconnect, to take the time for a walk in the woods together, or to lie abed on a rainy day and talk silliness together.
Life is right now - Carpe Diem!

painted maypole said...

oof. reading this after reading your more recent post...knowing that you were heading out with a wanting to help, wanting to do a small kindness...