"Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." - Zen Proverb
This week I’ve been stacking wood in preparation for winter and carrying rocks up to the labyrinth I’m building in the woods behind Dragonfly House. Along the way, I discovered what a joy these tasks are when I engage in them mindfully. Yep, duh, smile (we all know this, right?)!
So often when doing such tasks, I find myself immersed in thinking about something else: the project I’m working on that isn’t going like I want it to, the long list of other things I could (or at that moment think I ‘should’) be doing, or who I can get to give me advice about a roof repair. More worry than thinking, if I’m honest. I came to the awareness this week that I was wasting energy, my precious energy. And, perhaps more importantly, I realized that I was depriving myself of joy.
And, so I shifted gears.
The task of hauling rocks up and placing them in the labyrinth, became an exercise in communing with each rock and with the land and the trees of the labyrinth space. As I let go, each rock spoke more clearly than the one before, guiding me where it was to be placed. Some of the rocks placed earlier asked to be moved. I joyfully granted their wish. In the energy of this sacred space, I began to deepen both my connection to all that is AND my independence and freedom as an individual. You might guess that I find this much more rewarding and productive than worry. Pure joy! And, I have a sense of satisfaction not only in completing the work, but also in my approach.
Now, as I’ve go out to stack wood each day, I set aside the projects and decisions around which I feel stuck. I fully engage in the geometric puzzle of stacking wood so that each stack is stable (don’t ask how many I’ve toppled along the way!) and allows air to move and further dry my fuel. More joy and satisfaction!
An added benefit is a sense that the experience has strengthened my patience muscle. As I shift back to those ‘stuck’ projects and decisions in the weeks ahead, I’m guessing that patience will serve me well. And, that they will move forward at just the right time and in just the right direction.
Success comes in many forms and this week, my own personal SuccessZone has been one of discovery and deepened conviction. To joy, satisfaction, and patience, I add gratefulness. Oh, and I didn’t miss a moment of the beauty of the colorful Autumn here in the Rockies!
Invitation for the Week: As you go about some routine task, notice where your thoughts are. Bring them back to you, to the task at hand, and discover what joy you may be missing.