My first day of 2017 began with a refreshing juice of celery, barley grass and lemon…at least, that was the plan.
No sooner did I transfer the frothy liquid from blender to glass, than a careless brush of my arm sent the whole thing flying across the kitchen. White painted cabinets, white tiled floor, and the entire expanse of countertop were instantly awash in green.
I stood still for a moment, stunned, then looked down to discover I too was covered with the stuff. My sweater was sodden and pajama bottoms soaked, creating a puddle around my drenched slippers.
This was not how I’d intended to spend my morning.
As the saying goes, Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.
We humans tend to disconnect ourselves from the present moment of our lives, as I did when my gesture catapulted green juice across my morning.
We tend to trap ourselves in the anticipation of a feared or desired future, or with the experience of a disturbing or pleasurable past. Both are prisons that limit our ability to respond to the present.
Standing in my kitchen, assessing the green disaster, I could feel the gravitational pull of a mental exit. I witnessed how my fixation toward the ‘past’ or ‘future’ kept me from fully responding to my soggy reality.
In an instant, this self-recognition helped me re-direct my awareness to the moment at hand; and, with remarkably unhurried ease, I began to take action.
As I slowly and steadily sopped up green juice, one sponge-full at a time, I felt gratitude in experiencing the freedom of being with what is, rather than locking myself in the prison of what isn’t.
Periodically, as I cleaned, I would notice myself becoming a bit bored or agitated. I’d then expand my awareness to include things like my breath, the cool tile under my feet, or the sensation of rinsing the sponge in warm water—small experiences of being in a body, being alive.
As I returned to presence, my mess offered a hidden blessing, not a curse.
Of course my spilled green drink is not equal to the tragic proportion of chaos and upset we face in our world. But the spiritual practice of responding is the same.
The more we can experience the fullness of Life as it actually arises, the greater our capacity to creatively respond. We will not always succeed, but the potential is surely worthy of our practice.
Given the mounting challenges we face this New Year, I invite you to join me in a commitment to the practice of present moment awareness.
Yes, we will be pulled by the gravity of mental habit…over and over again! Yet, together, we may increase the magnetism of present moment awareness and, with it, our capacity for creative response-ability.
photo copyright: tspider