Thursday, February 28, 2008

Daily Rituals

When I woke up on Wednesday morning there was a light dusting of snow in my neighborhood. There were also some icy patches on my steps and driveway. As I walked outside to get my morning paper I almost did a triple axle with a double back flip. If I was in Olympic figure skating competition I might have scored a perfect ten. Apparently, turning left is not the only thing I cannot do well. I cannot walk left either.

These late winter days are quiet ones for me. Work is busy but not overwhelming. My evenings are free of obligation so I spend my time quietly reading or listening to music or watching movies. Most nights I also do some horizontal meditation. While my body lies still my mind travels the universe. My early mornings are equally quiet. My new coffee maker has a timer so the aroma of freshly brewed coffee greets me as I walk into my kitchen each new day. I fill my travel mug for my morning commute and then I take another cup to my wife who sits in the living room fighting the desire to go back to sleep. (Unlike me, she is NOT a morning person) I eat a simple breakfast as I glance at the morning newspaper. Afterwards I gather my lunch together before joining my wife in the living room. These last twenty minutes or so before I leave for work are some of my favorite moments in the day. I usually read a few lines from a spiritual book of some type before allowing myself to savor a few moments of silence. When I leave the house I am calm and centered and ready for the day.

The simple daily rituals I have described above are in many ways the foundation of my day. The way I do these things and the approach I have to such basic tasks are calming to me. They are basic and routine and simple. When I do them I am awake and present to the moment. These activities ground me. Most of the time my mind is with my body and not hours ahead. This allows my mind and body to arrive at my office at the same time ready to begin the work day. Nothing I do in my attempts to live a spiritual life is difficult. It's all basic stuff although it can be a challenge to always have the presence of mind to pay attention to what you are doing. I try to keep life simple by practicing mindfulness and compassion, treating other people the way I want to be treated, and constantly working on improving my driving skills. (smile)

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