Monday, November 28, 2011

Inspiration Monday - Zen and the art of raking leaves

The leaves came down late in the northeast this year.  Typically by Halloween the leaves are making their final stand, but by my birthday one week later, the trees are bare and the weather has shifted into a classic raw November.  (This is where you can cue the cheesy Axl Rose sway and start humming the chorus of November Rain.  I do every year.)  But this year, the weather has remained positively balmy and the leaves held on tight.  This is alright by me.

Over the weekend my parents were visiting for Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday.  I thoroughly enjoy this holiday because there is no pressure for presents or from the church I don’t belong to anymore.    All that is expected is to reflect on what goodness I have, to say thank you to the Universe, I love you and to eat and visit with family and friends. 
Sunday afternoon Sophie went to shoot hoops with Cliff and my dad.  My Mom and Katie were happily playing “Lost Kitty”, which involves my Mom “discovering’ Katie under the covers of the bed.  Katie then explains how her past owners threw her out a window and how she needs a home, and my mom adopts her.  They spend what seem to be hours chatting and grooming, and drinking endless bowls of pretend milk, ending with the two of them getting dressed for the day and Katie studiously watching my mom apply make-up, talking and chirping away. 

It was during this time, on an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving weekend, that I slipped into my backyard to quietly tackle the piles of leaves that were finally released from our grand oak trees.  I don’t mind yard work - especially when it is entered into on these rare and easy terms.  My nose wasn’t running from the cold weather, I wasn’t pressured to have-to rake because a snowstorm was on the way or I had a neighbor who was giving me the hairy eyeball from my mess of leaves.  My girls were both happy with Cliff and my parents. 
So I just raked.  I worked up a sweat.  I let my mind drift and float and wander and fly around.  I thought about past Thanksgivings, and being in high school and the tingling excitement of college friends coming back for homecoming and being together at a party – and that feeling of there being no past or future just the joy of the moment.  I thought of being in college myself and the magic of coming home and seeing friends that I sorely missed.  I thought about loved ones, who I will never see again, and the mischief we got into together and how good it feels to keep memories fresh.

As I thought about the past and allowed my thoughts to flow into the future, I found myself not worrying.   I have unfairly saddled myself with an endless list of worries and what-ifs since I have become a grown-up and a mother.  It is understandable, but a pointless use of my precious energy.  As I raked and thought about the future I had fun with the possibilities and the lofty goals I want to accomplish.  And instead of worrying that I wasn’t going to have time to do it all or the luck that I think I need, I just raked and dreamed.

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