Tuesday, March 17

that daily life thing

One of the exercises we did together last Spring in the Magic of Myth class was to round up our talismans. There is such a wealth of information in the objects, colors and textures that we are drawn to. And conversely, lots for us to reflect upon in those objects, colors and textures that we simply can't tolerate.

This is also true for our musical, geographic and activity preferences.

All of which influence the daily choices that create each moment of our day, our life.

I'm thinking about this today as I try to answer a question from the magic of myth group. Actually, with any luck, I'm going to address what three people asked for as in exploring this quotidian life I can slide in some photographs of my new digs.

First, the questions:

Jennifer asked:
How do we stay connected with
the magical in every day life?
With the dishes and laundry piling up?

Amy B echoed the query:

I'd totally reiterate Jennifer's question
about staying connected and to that,
the practical application & integration
of systems of magic into everyday. It's tricky.

Amy W wrote,
Love seeing pics of your new place!
Entire civilizations have risen from the
foundation of mythology and the enactment
of it through rituals, what amazing,
beautiful, enchanting things would we
discover when we create our own mythology?
I think we need a new round-up of mythic
resources to get the juices up, too.

Alrighty then. Let's get this party started.

I don't know when it was that I was introduced to the Shaker adage, "hands to work, hearts to God," but it was early enough that I can't remember a time not knowing it. Right now I am deep in my yoga teacher training which includes reading the Bhagavad Gita. In the Gita, Krishna counsels Arjuna

whatever you do, make it an offering to me 

This is pretty much my answer to question number one. Ha. Don't you love how I call in the big guns and hook up with none other than the power of the divine? But isn't that what you are asking me about?  Isn't that what we are all seeking in one way or another?

For me, the answer has always been yes.

For me, focus on the actions of my daily life continue to bring me closer and closer to that Shaker ideal that I encountered as an impressionable, hyper-sensitive, hyper-seeking child.

Did this life I am leading today, March 17, 2015, land in my lap like some perfect present tied up with a bow? It didn't. The life I am leading today is the current iteration of a journey I began over 30 years ago. Will it take you 30 years to savor each moment of your day?

Oh dear god I hope not, but if it does, my best suggestion is to enjoy as much of the journey getting there as you can.

How does this play out actually?  Doing the dishes is where I began. Many years ago.

Imagine a year after a wonderful wedding you are down at your sister's house in Boston when you get a call that your husband burned out the first floor of your house? Accidentally, obvs.

As the reconstruction inched along, which is my not so subtle way of saying for the next 18 months, you had to wash dishes in the bathtub. By the time you got to stand to wash dishes in a lovely new sink, I promise you-- there was a whole boat of gratitude pouring out of your heart.

And it never left me. That practice of keeping the sink clean and bringing real focus to the gift of hot water, soap, the view out a window. All of it. I never miss an opportunity to enjoy meditation on the gifts in my life as I wash dishes.

However, before you hurl your dirty coffee cup at me in annoyance, let me assure you there are life chores that I absolutely do not like doing, laundry and house cleaning, most especially. And so those two items are right at the top of my budget. Am I a big shopper? Nope. Is most everything in my house repurposed, thrifted or second-hand? Yep. Do I joyfully drop my laundry at the laundromat and pick it up all clean and folded and pay for the privilege? I do indeed. And, for both the house cleaning and laundry I have exactly zero shame in outsourcing these prime homemaker tasks. In fact, I love handing over my money to women who have made this work their livelihood.

Maybe for you, cooking is the dreaded daily task.

For me, cooking is one of the greatest joys. Cooking and gardening are probably the two most meditative activities I know. They soothe me. And, working from home allows me to start a soup in the morning before heading upstairs to my desk.

That right there? Bliss. I really can't put too much emphasis on it. Such is the genuine pleasure I get from this routine. It feeds my soul.

Maybe for you, someone else making the meals kicks open the door to nirvana.

The key is you have to know yourself and take the time to get to know yourself.

Because then, and only then, are you taking responsibility for getting your core needs met.

I knew a woman who loved ironing so much she would ask to iron my jeans. Seriously, that was her meditation she was always looking for more things to iron. The steady movements, the smoothing, removing wrinkles, folding, smell of fresh laundry, the steam? I have no idea what part made her most happy. I just watched her satisfaction in the beauty she created. She loved the process of ironing and had no shortage of rituals around it.

Find the beauty in the tasks and do them mindfully as an offering to the day, an offering to the vibration surrounding you. Take pride in your effort, particularly when it is hard, particularly when it really pulls from the bottom of the bucket.

I promise you, there are many nights I see dishes in the sink just as I am about to head to bed and, if I am deeply tired, the thought that I can just do them tomorrow is more than tempting, it seems justified. And yet, that is not where my joy lies. My joy lies in coming down the stairs in the morning to a clean sink. I know this about myself and so, I give this to myself and it is a gift that carries with it a sweet satisfaction and deepening trust.

Please understand. This is not about dishes. You may love doing dishes in the morning or not doing dishes at all. Don't get distracted by my examples. The point is to find your daily rituals that link one to the next to the next until from the moment you wake up, to the moment you drop into bed, your day has been experienced, felt, witnessed.

the spiritual life is active, joyful, and intentional.
It is a middle path between extremes
that transfigures everyday living
Eknath Easwaran

So to wrap up here with a shot above of my window sill this morning. Amy W referenced ritual and magic and you can be sure I am all about the ritual and magic as part of normal, rainy day, every day life.

Even if it is only for five minutes (though it's often more than that) I light a candle and burn some white sage. I sage me, I sage the dogs, I sage the room and I offer all of it up to the spirits. I share the beauty of the moment with them.

And in return, sunlight pours in the window, dust motes dance in the light, glittering, and spinning.

"Personality is a process. The human being
is constantly remaking himself or herself.
Left to itself, the mind goes on repeating the
same old habitual patterns of personality.
By training the mind, however,
anyone can learn to step in and change
old ways of thinking . ."
Eknath Easwaren

Okay, I'm gonna stop here. I have no idea if any of this resonates with you, but this is my best effort for this morning. I may try again another day, but that's only because these questions are THE questions of a life.

How do we live a life well? With joy, light, magic and mystery when there is so much suffering, struggle, war, heartbreak and boredom? We are all on the same path, looking for that good red road.

Here's wishing you moments of stillness and connection in this and every day.

bisous, e

photo credit:  Forrest Elliott


  1. I can't even. THIS! This is magic. Right here. I am printing this out and hanging it up. I can't believe how much I needed this, and I know I have heard it before. (Probably from YOU.) But I needed it today. So. Much.

    On my way home from work today, I was driving by the lake and saw two trumpeter swans. I thought of you and was planning on emailing you when I came home. And here you were waiting for me, to give me this wonderful gift.


    1. trumpeter swans!! what a message they had for you-- oh I am so with you in this my sweet Megs-- you have no idea how connected we are. :)

  2. Yes! Elizabeth, sometimes I forget .. when life gets busy and I am swept up. This post brought me right back to my center.
    I am joyfully slow cooking cabbage + brisket + potatoes with lavender oil diffusing through the air. I'm rooted here, reading your beautiful words which remind me to look for the joy in every moment.
    It has been a long Winter. My practices need to be put back into motion.
    Loving you. Loving that you are back here. xo

    1. yes yes, we all do. it is so easy to get swept up, to get swept away--- and then, we ground back down into the moment, into our breath and ahhhh, there we are. xoxoxooxo LOVE you cooking and can't wait to cook with you!

  3. Living in joy, finding the magic in the everyday, I love the way life gives you so many simple opportunities everyday to practice this. How beautifully you have expressed it, I feel the grace and peace in your heart x

    1. you so got it, Tracey! that is it exactly--- every day we have the chance to practice-- it is such a gift-- moment to moment-- another opportunity to be present. xooxoxo, e

  4. Yes, yes, and yes! I've found myself over the last couple years adopting a mantra of "go to the quiet, go to the quiet" whenever I feel overwhelmed by whichever overwhelming issue is atop me at the moment (there seem to be many!). It's my reminder to get to that quiet place in my mind where I know who I am and how I want to be. It might send me to an actual quiet place (sitting in the floor with my dogs and not one distraction of any kind); it might be taking a few moments standing in the supply closet at work, centering my thoughts, before I allow a situation to go off the rails).

    Many times, though, I find myself reviewing periods in my life when I was happy with certain aspects of my life and ask myself what I was doing at that time to feel that way. The answers are generally the same -- I took time to read every day (mornings, best). I made a conscious effort to turn off all electronics for a period of time every day. When I arrived home after work, I turned on the radio and danced for 10 minutes before doing anything else (before reading the mail, checking the news, working on dinner). These are the simple things I find in my background that contributed to those happy feelings in the past. Inevitably, if I do them again, they have the same effect on me. They are my tonic, my medicine, my safe house, my fuel. Of course, like everyone else, I get out of the habit sometimes, and start to feel wobbly again, but once I recognize it and steer back on course, I see a change.

    Finding meditation/healing/center in the simple parts of life can be beautiful. Whether it's washing a dish or ironing a shirt, reading a chapter or walking around the block, these are the times when the mind can get quiet in these simple acts. Spirit speaks in the quiet (whichever Spirit/belief a person feels connection) . Finding these moments has a remarkable way of shedding light on the rest of the day.

    (An aside: He set the house on fire? I nearly spit out my drink on that one. Just can't make this sh-- up!)

    Much light and love to you :-)

  5. oh yes LOVE this "hey are my tonic, my medicine, my safe house, my fuel." I so so so feel your presence, your dance, your connection to your LIFE-- love this so much!!! and yes, you cannot make this shit up-- so many stories do I have that no one would believe . .. XOOXOX, e

  6. Mmmmm. So much goodness in your words. Beautiful reminders for me. I have let some of my rituals slip, and have not acknowledged some actions as the rituals they are (which is making them sloppy and irregular). Time to revisit, revamp, and reclaim! Have a beautiful day dear one.

    1. oh my dear dear Cinnamon!! how I would love to be neighbors and share some morning rituals together-- like having tea and convo--- :) xoxoxo

  7. Oh you dear beautiful woman, how right you are! Now that I am working this homehold of mine solo, I am discovering new levels of exhaustion. Through this I am learning. Learning how to BE in this new life of mine. Where do I want to put my energy, my focus, my time? What is the life I want to create? I am on your page, I sat down the other week and thought about the jobs I liked least of all and now for the first time ever I have just employed a cleaner and soon there will be others brought in to help. Learning how to outsource some of the domestic work, learning to ask for help, learning to build community and learning so much more each and every day. Yes, I live, I learn, I build, I create my dreams and the most spectacular reality. Joy and laughter will soon radiate from within me once more :) xoxoxo

    1. I am so proud to know you-- you are such a beacon of light and love and wisdom---- your children are so smart to have chosen you for their mum---- what beauty surrounds you in all of this even in the midst of such profound challenges--- sending ease ease ease your way-- oxox, e

  8. It is equally an honour to know YOU. My LOVE and GRATITUDE to you fellow lightworker xoxoxo


thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me-- I love that you stopped by and hope something I shared was what you needed today. xo, e