One day I heard my grandmother talking. Kinda weird since Mimi has been gone for years. Although sometimes I smell cigarette smoke when there is no one around and I think, “Hey, maybe Mimi is watching over me.”
But, it was her voice I heard that day.
Mimi was amazing in many ways. Full of life, energetic, protective of her grandchildren. But, like the rest of us, she had her flaws, and one of them was keeping a running complaint under her breath about the maintenance of life.
That’s what I heard. I heard her complaining about the dishes, the cleaning, the wash; you know what I mean. The problem was, it was not her voice doing the talking, it was mine.
What I wanted to be doing was sitting in the chair by the fire reading. Or writing the book I want to finish, or drawing another illustration. Anything other than house maintenance. I was complaining just as I had heard Mimi do while I was growing up, and I remembered how uncomfortable it made me.
So I stopped complaining, but I still felt annoyed. Then I heard the words in my head from Henry David Thoreau, “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” Well, I was affecting the quality of the day, but it wasn’t in the terms of the highest of arts.
Don’t we all, in the middle of the many tasks it takes for our lives to run smoothly, ask ourselves why we have to do them when we would rather be doing things that we love to do?
Maybe we have more important things to do, like work on world peace. Of course if we can’t, or won’t, stop complaining about what we have to do now, will we do what must be done to have world peace?
Pretty sure that peace begins within, with small details, and one step at a time, just like house maintenance.
The trick about all this is to remind myself that what appears to be daily tasks, are no different from the things I want to do.
I love writing, dancing, and illustrating with the qualities of simple, elegant, bold, and clear in mind as both the process, and outcome. I love bringing attention to the fact that all that we see is the presence of the Divine.
Except for house maintenance? Ah ha, I had to admit, I was not walking my talk. I had forgotten about the idea of sacred soapsuds, of all things being part of the whole. If I love clarity, elegance, boldness and simplicity, then I could do house maintenance within those terms too.
“What about time,” was my next complaint. How can I do all those “artistic” things I love to do and still take care of the things of daily life. Well, that meant I had to stop thinking as if time is linear, which it is not. In fact, as Eckhart Tolle said, “Time isn’t precious at all – because it is an illusion.”
I had run out of excuses. It was time to make an Intent for myself. Make one that I could hold as a beacon for the coming year.
Make daily life an art, be a life artist.
As often happens, the birds helped. They had been away for awhile. I decided they had been on a bird cruise, and had recently returned.
Two Carolina wrens, one of my favorite birds with their beautiful song, upturned tail, and lovely coloring, came to my office door and sang a little song to remind me that their entire life is about maintenance, and yet, they live their daily life as art.
In fact, none of nature complains about daily maintenance. The squirrels play while gathering food, the trees provide for us without groaning.
Every quality of the Divine is evident is every moment of life. Life isn’t about something to get through. Life is something to celebrate, no matter how big a task, or how mundane a task we must perform.
Forget important, forget fame. It either is part of our personal life, or it is not. But, as we live life as art, everything falls into place with clarity, boldness, simplicity, and beauty.
I can still talk to myself, the way I always have. But, I can choose to talk celebration instead of complaining, carrying on an old tradition in a new way. I am sure Mimi would approve.
I wrote a book to help. With it you will discover the power of setting Intents, and how to choose the ones that mean the most to you.
Click here to get The Intent Course: Say Yes To What Moves You.