Soul Alive –
Outside, under our two sheds and front porch are families of rabbits. I see them when I let out the dog, who’s too old to chase them anymore, when I drive the truck into the driveway, when I sit still long enough and wait for them to emerge from their hiding holes. It excites me. Wildlife has always had this impact on me. I slow down to look at deer on the sides of the highway or in far-off fields. Stare at Falcons and Hawks perched on fence posts or electric poles. Turkeys, skunks, opossum, armadillos, foxes, even cows grab my attention.
I grew up in the suburbs but my parents took us to National Parks as often as the could. We loved camping, canoeing, hiking, exploring. We saw lots of wildlife and even had a few run-ins with Black Bears. I believe this is where my love of nature was born and raised along with the important lessons of treating it gently, basking in its beauty and always leaving a place better than you found it.
Nature, along with other gifts we take for granted each day, bring life to my soul. I can’t imagine not being excited, filled with joy, while experiencing it.
Grounded, Simple, Generous, Controlled, Joyful, Present –
The contemplative life isn’t hard to understand. Most of the teachings can be learned in a day but they offer a lifetime of wisdom.
A few moments ago I was sitting on the porch basking in the sun. It was wonderful. I had brought my phone with me but not sure why. I laid it down beside me and closed my eyes. It’s warm for the month of January. Yesterday it was cloudy and cool but in that present moment of sitting on the porch, the skies were a brilliant blue. Our Siberian Husky was sprawled out on the driveway, not a care in the world. As I embraced the beauty and warmth my attention kept going to the phone. I knew there wasn’t anything on it I needed to read or respond to but the fact it was there distracted me.
This is why simplicity is important in the contemplative life. Everything we own, invest our ourselves in, give our passion, energy and time takes a piece of us. The more we have in our lives the less contemplative we are able to be. Letting go of all that is superfluous allows us to focus on what’s important while the fluff floats away.
Our Siberian Husky, Trooper, has long nails on all four of his paws. Huskies use their nails for gripping more than most dogs. When his nails get long this results in him pulling up snags on the carpets we have in the house if he happens to stretch, sit up or start to run while on them. Yesterday, I was vacuuming the house and these rug snags were being grabbed and getting caught on the roller and burning the belt up. I had to go around the house and cut the snags to try to prevent this from happening. After I finished I reflected on my proclivity to grab on to things. Like the dog’s nails and the vacuüm cleaner, I hold on to things which I should let go.
Wisdom teaches us to live life open-handed, not to grab, grasp anything or anyone, but to allow them to come into and leave our life freely, accepting the transience of all that is made, exists.
Beth trimmed the dog’s nails and now there will be fewer snags on our rugs. May it be with me as well, as I move through life, basking in the glory of now and resisting the urge to grab and grasp.