I have found if I just organize my life, the best I can, let go of anything of non importance, such as folding socks, my life runs smoother. Do you know how much time I save in a week by just throwing all the socks into one laundry basket and not folding them? This leaves time for a walk in the woods with my son or an important talk with my daughter. All of which could have been lost, by folding socks.
In the normal course of the day there is plenty to do, as I head out the door to grab groceries for dinner, regrettably faced with the return to cell service, as the cell phones don't work on the farm. Another ring and one of my children is struggling at school. A quick detour to help her navigate her way around a relationship problem that has been there since kindergarten, reminding her this life is fraught with issues and lessons and many things cannot be solved. “Remain here, in the now" I tell her. "Be the bigger person, learn your lesson, practice forgiveness, pray for her, and move on. Let the other person worry about whether she will grow from this or not. You can only change you my daughter”
The car is clunking and the printer is on the fritz, and someone told me things are a struggle right now because mercury is in retrograde (what does that mean anyways?) and I should wait to have them fixed until it is over.Think I'll take my chances and have them fixed and trust all will be well. Time to order seeds for our garden and shopping for prom outfits for the teens. Run my business; submit my billing, race to the store before it closes. Pick up the house while trying to remind myself that even these tasks are a spiritual practice; I am creating a peaceful environment. Suppers on, pick up the kids, get the homework done, eat, bath, bed, but not before everyone writes what they are thankful for in the gratitude journal.
Often times I read parenting books or books on spirituality and I wonder at how effortless it sounds to bring spiritual awareness into everyday moments. Life is messy, busy, and changes on a regular basis particularly when you have children. Sometimes it is just plain exhausting to have one more thing on your plate, however I have found that the more time I can spend nourishing my spiritual self, the smoother the rest of life flows, or at the very least, the better I am able to handle it. I take them time to attend church services and ladies group, though adding one more thing to my week seems impossible the realization is ever present: I cannot feed my family if my soul feels dry and withered.
A friend of mine recently said I was a mix between Bob the Builder and Martha Stuart with a little Mary Poppins thrown in. This morning my endeavor is to channel my "inner Martha", while drinking my morning coffee and attempt to bring some order to this place. Order in my world does not include walking into my living room, the sleep not yet out of my eyes and slipping on wet mud that one of my fellas tracked in only to slide into something I am not even sure is from this planet and then falling over their rubber barn boots which are not where they belong. Mopping before coffee was not on the to-do list this morning but the mess had to be laid to rest before I could even think of filling my house with the aroma of java and engaging in my devotions. I have to admit my I could feel my blood pressure rise and my thoughts were anything but loving and kind toward my children. For a brief moment I could understand why some species eat their young. Before you gasp in indignation at my thoughts you have to admit anyone who has ever had to deal with teenagers at one time or another has resonated with that statement.
Before I could even wrestle with the mess left behind I decided there was nothing like the present moment to be thankful for the gifts in my life. There is something about practicing thankfulness in the midst of chaos and frustration. It is easy to practice one's spiritual beliefs when all is well. I have to learn to practice my faith no matter what life brings me. We are told in the New Testament ( I Thess 5:18) "to give thanks in all things..." Where does the spiritual aspect intertwine with the mundane? It is where the rubber meets the road: daily practice, daily mindfulness, daily focus. In my world, the spiritual intertwines in every way. There is no way for me to separate out the spiritual from the mundane, as the practice of my spirituality shows it’s real shade of color on how well I can apply it in the everyday. Mountain top experiences are profound, and refreshing, but we cannot live everyday there. It is in the bringing back into our daily experience that we truly honor it and its meanings. When raising children, or managing our jobs and co workers, and living out our daily lives, if we view the task as a spiritual experience, it can awaken and change us. We live more fully, heal ourselves and experience profound changes in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
When Seth and I were first married we had no dishwasher and our washing machine would not shut off on its own. I had to turn the water on and off throughout the cycle or it would over flow. While I fancy myself an organized person, 7 kids ages seven and under quickly derailed much of my natural tendency toward organization. I had been begging, more accurately nagging, Seth to purchase a dishwasher and fix the machine and his reply was "My mom used to boil water for dishes on the wood stove and wash clothes in the creek up the canyon, at least we have a washing machine." You can imagine how well that response went over. One day I overflowed the machine five times. The last time this occurred I bore no resemblance to a prim and proper southern girl practicing her spiritual beliefs in the mundane moments of life. I am pretty sure I felt on my face the looks I had seen, as a child, on my mother. My children fondly call it "the look of DEATH." Instead of breaking out the mop and more towels, I walked out to garage and retrieved Seth's drill from his tool box. I drilled three holes in the floor and allowed it to drain under the house. When Seth returned home I told him where he could take his stories of his childhood and suggested sweetly, through clenched teeth, if he did not want our floor to look like swiss cheese, he had better address our washer issue. So as I address the laundry monster and the tower of dishes today, I will be thankful. It may take a little extra fortitude but things could be worse. Today I posses a dish washer and a new washer and dryer!