Simple is as simple does

I love it when a new week rolls around, and it’s mostly just me rolling around the house. At heart, I’m a solitary soul, though I do enjoy hauling my body here and there to be with friends occasionally. You know how I was feeling melancholy the other night about Torie leaving? I still feel that way, but I also feel another way: excited for the increased, undistracted time for spiritual practice that more solitude will give me. When I’m by myself, even doing the dishes can be a meditation. I’m quite happy humming along silently, doing my thing, without the TV on or music playing, contemplating what I’ve learned, talking to God aloud every so often, or bursting into song. Lately I’ve been countering every negative thought (‘negative’ meaning thoughts that cause me suffering) with some variation of “Lord, thank you for giving me everything I need. If I don’t have it, I don’t need it.” The Rolling Stones had this truth down eons ago.

In addition to increased spiritual practice, I’m looking forward to lots of quiet space for making things. When I’m not required to interact with anyone, ideas bubble up and take form in my mind, and with big blocks of unencumbered time I can spread my stuff out on the floor and go to town on them. Fall and winter are great seasons for project-doing anyway. Writing about this reminds me of the email I got from a friend the other day… I don’t get a lot of comments on my posts, but every so often people will email me to tell me how something I wrote impacted them – and that makes me happy, natch – and this time my friend said that she admires how simple my life seems to be. And… it IS simple, because I’ve deliberately cultivated simplicity over the last few years. I’ve trimmed away as much excess as I can because my main goal in life – practically my only goal – is to know and be known, and that takes acres of breathing room to accomplish.

I feel a little restless this morning, maybe because today I’m back to working with my mom from 2 pm-6 pm, after having had three days off. I’m finding myself fighting impatience at how long it’s taking her to heal… As we all know, it’s difficult to face challenges gracefully, to suss out the lessons that help us learn and grow from them, and I’m finding myself flagging. But that’s okay, and normal. My continuing task is to transform impatience into compassion… in other words: if I’m impatient, imagine how my mom feels. Or my dad, who’s with her almost all the time. It isn’t easy to care for a person who is bedridden, but it’s far more difficult to be the one who can’t get out of bed. I’m not a spiritually lazy person; however, when it comes to applying what I’ve read and thought about, well, that’s a different matter. I would much rather talk about how loving I feel toward my mom than actually get up off my ass and demonstrate it. Just keepin it real.

Oh, also, lately I’ve been reading tons about dying. It’s my new favorite topic, ironic considering that I’ve never felt more like living. I honestly believe, however, that we need to prepare ourselves for death in order to fully live, which is a whole big thing and worthy of a post of two on its own. Anyway, I’ve started a book called The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyol Rinpoche, and it’s absolutely wonderful. I’m sorry if I set you up to expect a book review, but I detest writing book reviews for some reason, so pretty much all you’re going to get is the title and an exclamation of love for the work. I figure if it’s the right timing, you’ll be interested in reading it for yourself, and if not, then at least you’ll know where I’m at. Hey, love you guys. xo

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2 Comments

Filed under God, Stuff to read

2 responses to “Simple is as simple does

  1. kim

    again you touched off something in me. I went through a real struggle for my own life with breast cancer. It was pretty advanced and aggressive. I also found out it was genetic (BRCA2). The Dr. said you will probably have a recurrence before 5 years. ( survival chance -40%) Lots I could say about that…. but it took me through a long period, still going on i suppose, of thinking of death. It was like a forest fire in my life. Swept out tons of stuff that just wasn’t alive anymore and things that were, well they had to go through a rebirth. I
    am still grateful for the experience, not sure what else I could have gone through would have been so effective. Still coming to grips with it and trying to wring every last drop of life from that brush with death!

    • Kim, I’m learning to thank God for the painful circumstances that arise in my life because they always teach me something amazing. I’ve never been as close to the reality of death as you, but a few years ago I DID have a giant lump in my breast that remained a mystery for about a week while I was waiting for lab results. During that time I went through a huge amount of tears and fear, but eventually came to a place of genuine peace regarding death, and that was such a relief to me. I think it’s essential that we prepare ourselves for death by living a deeper life than the shallow, grasping one we usually choose out of fear; it’s so important. I can see from your FB statuses alone that you believe the same way! I love it. One book you may find interesting is Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying by Ram Dass. SO GOOD. xo