Sunday, August 19, 2012

People ask me what slow living is.

Each day on the farm there are chores and they are the same every day.  It would be easy and natural to resent doing the same thing each day unless you view it as practice towards something you desire to be good at.  This is what slow living is teaching me.

For example, one chore is to sweep the front courtyard of the house.  The house is covered in bougainvillea and flowering vines.  The falling leaves and flowers are strewn everywhere.   There's a satisfying feeling when the walk is swept clear but it only lasts a few seconds.  Why bother?  Because when I sweep I see things, wonder, have illuminations of insight, commune with God.  Not always, but that is what I open myself to.  The commitment of keeping God central to everything makes sweeping the bricks an exercise in listening and expecting God to meet me in that task, in every task.

I sweep to welcome who-ever might come, to create a transition from a place of busy-ness to refuge, a place of beauty, rest and re-fresh-ment with friends.

My broom is my co-worker.  She fits my hand and task and we move together in tandem having a quiet conversation- whoosh, whoosh, the sound of twig-bristles on brick.  I too am a tool in a work I cannot always make sense of yet I can yield to it like a dance partner.  I sweep to be on cue to that connection that holds all things together. 

I pull the weeds daily that sprout between the bricks to show that this is the path, the well-worn way to the front door.  And I re-member this morning before the Eucharist, bowing down to weed my conscience of the past week, checking my course to stay true to the way of peace in myself, with others and with God.

I stoop again to look at petals, even the back side of a flower has a pattern that is a marvel.  Each petal of the papaya is furled and reminds me of a child's wind-whirler toy on a stick...God's design to propel seeds plants seeds in me. 

I sweep hot-pink and yellow petals not cigarette butts. That makes me smile thank-full.  My work is playful wonder.

Each moment leads me further into conversation with the present.  And so it goes when living slow...the mundane becomes sacred, the routine is practice in the faithfulness required of artistry.

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