I want excitement
to be born from
Like being presented
with another day
to live and breathe
Or knowing how very fortunate
to have all the
luxuries of life:
ready access to food
and countless modern conveniences.
I want excitement
to not be hinged on
having to go someplace
or do something
or be someone
I want excitement
to bubble up
from the deep cauldron
of my heart,
for the wondrous miracle to
This is my aspiration;
my winding path
through the thicket of collective hardships
and planetary throng of woes.
– penned today, July 10th, 2019, around 6am
I wear the same thing everyday. Not the same exact thing, mind you, but if you didn’t know any better it might seem that way. And sometimes I do wear the same exact outfit. I mean, it’s not like I work in the mines.
Green shirts. Brown pants. Long sleeves in winter. Short sleeves in summer.
It’s surprising how oddly challenging it is to find plain green women’s shirts. And not just any ol’ green shirt will due, either. It has to be the right cut and hue. In the men’s department plain green shirts are a staple, but apparently women prefer shirts with fringe, frill, trim, lace, ribbon, some kind of bedazzled effect, unusable pockets, embroidered kittens or words emblazoned on the fabric. And all that is fine for other women, it’s just not for me.
I progressed quite naturally into this daily outfit, about 3 or 4 years ago. It just seemed to make sense. And it’s afforded me so much more time and freedom. I used to invest countless amounts of energy into trying on different clothes every morning and futzing with my hair – attempting to find just the “right” combination. What about these pants? Nope. What about this top? Nope. Do these pants make my ass look fat? Does this shirt go with my complexion today? Bleck! I don’t miss those times.
I’m free! :)
I used to think it would be terribly status quo to do the same thing day in and day out – some present day torture resulting in a robotic, sad life void of meaning and vigor. But now, with aging eyes and dharmic direction, I see great freedom and joy in creating a daily rhythm, ordinary and relatively unchanging. Of course, our motivation must be well applied and properly set (otherwise a routine can become dry and numbing).
I’ve been thinking about my own simple daily routines lately and how they offer me nourishment and support throughout the day. My alarm is set to wake me up at 5:03am (yep, not 5:00, 5:03) Monday through Saturday (Sundays are my days to sleep in). Oftentimes, however, I wake up before my alarm goes off. After I get up I make some tea and drink slowly as I read by book light in the living room for 20-30 minutes (currently I am reading a book called Meeting Faith, Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun). I then set a timer, sing the morning chant (you can give a listen to my recording here http://openway.org/content/morning-chant), and practice sitting meditation for 20 minutes in the quiet stillness of the darkened early morning. I finish my sitting meditation with three prostrations to the earth, in which I offer a different gratitude with each one, followed by one final standing bow in which I say to myself:
“In gratitude for this one more opportunity to live today, may I be useful, may I be kind.”
For about 2 1/2 years now I’ve been wearing pretty much the same outfit everyday. I have about four plain, green, long sleeve shirts and about four brown pairs of pants. In the summer I have four plain, green, short sleeve shirts. In addition to my regular garb I have some work clothes I keep around for gardening or changing the oil in my car, pajamas, a few layering items for when it’s really cold out, and a small handful of other clothing items. I own three pairs of shoes: my brown crocs that I wear about 75-80% of the year, a pair of snow boots, and my motorcycle boots. I don’t have a lot of clothing and I have all I need.
Yesterday I met with a friend for lunch who wanted to ask me about minimalism. She’s starting a monthly group on the subject in a couple of weeks and wanted to chat about how I personally apply the concepts of minimalism in my own life. While I had never thought of myself as a minimalist, per say, as we talked more about it and she asked me some questions I realized that I did fit the “profile” (of course there are many ways to practice minimalism and it can be adapted in different ways for different lifestyles). Her first question was about how I limit the amount of belongings we have. I responded by saying that my husband and I had a leg up, so to speak, in that our house is under 600 square feet with no basement and no attic, thereby naturally limiting the amount of space we have to collect things we don’t really need. When you have a small house you have to use the space you do have creatively and efficiently, there’s simply no room for useless belongings and clutter. The bigger your house is the more likely you will feel drawn to filling it up with stuff.
Here are some things (in no particular order) I like to keep in mind on a general basis to help me stay grounded:
1. Don’t take things so seriously.
2. Don’t take things so personally.
3. Life is absolutely beautiful!
4. I am not separate from anyone or anything else.
5. Don’t over complicate things.
6. Don’t over think things.
7. I have so much to be grateful for!
8. Everything is impermanent.
9. Life flows like a river.
10. My happiness is entirely up to me.
11. Life is only available in the present moment.