Monday, March 08, 2010

Clear your mind

After ecstasy, the laundry!
Zen philosopher

 Don't you love coming home to your own bed after being away on vacation?

But don't you also hate the laundry?  there are several piles of laundry on my floor right now. My husband did a few loads yesterday, and even folded them in neat piles (guess he was desperate for some clean socks and underwear). I  managed to get two more loads done today, and my daughter is doing her own, (so I really can't complain).

But besides the piles of white, dark and pale on my wood floor, it's the mental clutter and confusion that got me down today.  I was so clear on my purpose a few weeks ago, then I left for vacation and relaxed my mind, with lots of reading by the pool, swimming in turqouise waters, drinking afternoon wine and singing and dancing whenever possible.

This morning, back to ordinary life and reality: off to the dentist with my daughter, so I postponed my own writing and reflecting (tried to write in the dentist's reception area but the local radio station playing top 20 music made it difficult). Of course, she snuck in a quick shopping stop since we were downtown. And a quick stop to buy sushi for lunch (and groceries).

Did I mention I then needed a nap? 3 hours of sleep two nights ago, between airports and flights had created a serious sleep deficit (not to mention watching the Oscars till midnight last night).  All that to say, during my nap, or somewhere in the end of it, I began to mentally berate myself for all the things I wasn't getting done, for my lack of energy and focus, for the confusion I felt after reading about mommy blogs with hundreds of thousands of followers (and comparing them to my meagre following), and then the flood of things I had not done or was unclear about doing just got worse.

Finally I jumped out of bed, since it wasn't feeling very restful, and got back on the computer. Re-reading some of the emails I received while away, I ran across one from Jennifer Louden, a link to her Facebook page and an entry on Simple Action. It recommended taking one step at a time, not trying to do it all at once (ie write a paragraph not a whole chapter), and also recommended being kind to myself, ie not beating myself up mentally. How timely was that! I had just been writing in my journal about how I needed to feel ok right now, and stop feeling as if there is something wrong with me.

Then I ran into a message from Lao Tzu, through my sister Sue, which said, clear the mental clutter:  Cease all restless activity and your true nature will appear. Correct your mind.

That would describe my nap, lots of useless, restless mental activity, making lists of all the things I need to do - since I  have a chorus concert and competition coming up and my quartet is singing two new songs also, there is a lot I felt I should be doing today. 

My advice to myself is simple: let go of mental anguish, clear up mental clutter. Sit in the quiet of your room and listen to soothing music. Make a mini-retreat and write in your journal. Help yourself out of confusion by staying in the present moment. I am not this flotsom and jetsom rushing downstream in the muddy waters. I am clear water. Relief and stillness floods my being just to be reminded of that.


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