Monday, June 10, 2013

Do, Be, Do (Be, Do!)

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven! 
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. Take peace! 
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy! 
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . . 
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. 
Courage then to claim it, that is all! . . . 
                                                                                                Fra Giovanni


One of my eldest son's hundreds of sunset photos.

This present little instance - it's all we really have, isn't it? This instant, with the rain falling softly on my head while I remove soiled sheep bedding from the pen to mulch my growing vegetable plants. This moment, as I listen to the bell-shake song of the fretful little house wren; duck as the anxious barn swallows swoop close over my head, warning me away from their nest with sharp cries; trudge through the now steady rain with my loaded cart, thinking ahead to warm, dry clothes and a mug of hot tea when my chore is done.

I am not sure I believe earth obscures my heaven. I would more readily say that my attitude about earthly doings, specifically human doings, threatens my joy. As for meaning and purpose, I think we supply our own and that muddies our innate urge to understand and accept what is true - that we are merely part, not the end-all, be-all, of the vast and unknowable universe. Actually, thinking that makes me feel far safer and happier than assuming, even for a millisecond, that I am more important than any other being or thing on this earth.

The mulching, the rain on my head and shoulders, the hot tea and dry clothes are in my immediate past now. Look how quickly those moments were lived and yet, I know when I look back on my day as I lie waiting for sleep, I will think what a long, quiet, peaceful time it was. I don't believe we waste moments by being idle, by filling them with gentle thought rather than frenetic activity. Activity suggests a purpose, yes, but if one's purpose is to cherish each moment, there must be that delicate balance between doing and being.

My next bit of doing is to re-hang the family photo gallery I removed so that I could paint my bedroom wall. I've grown accustomed to saying goodnight to my children and grandchildren as my gaze wanders over those beloved faces. Knowing they love me too spreads peacefulness over me like a quilt. 

11 comments:

Molly said...

Words fail me on this, which would amuse the OC because words seldom fail me! i am on a mission (lifelong) to live in the moment, not in the past, not in tomorrow, but in now. Do you know that saying "Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday --- and all is well." You need to live next door.....

Brian Miller said...

this earth is what you make of it...i figure its my opportunity to help others along as we spin through the solar system...until tomorrow comes...smiles...and def living in the moment as much as i can...

Tabor said...

Am I wrong...or did my post seem to motivate some. You are the third industrious post I have read today! You done good, as they say.

Brian Hayes said...

When I was in college a book I created was bravely titled "The Moment Is Infinity" but I'm not so sure I'm as happy with the opening line, "From the outhouse to the barn"...

Marc Leavitt said...

Pauline:

I offer this haiku "On time," which I wrote some years back.

"Living in the present, our future becomnes our past; how have we gone?"

Judith said...

For some reason (or two or three) I think of W. S. Gilbert's lyric to the Mikado: We do not heed the dismal sound/For joy reigns everywhere around."
No, it doesn't come at the happy ending; it comes in the middle, when the villainess is temporarily vanquished and there is rejoicing. It's all a mixed bag of cycles anyway.
Reading your posts often puts me into a space of rejoicing, no matter where I began.
A wonderful thing.

Pauline said...

Molly - it's funny. To live in the moment we must be paying constant attention, but the moment becomes the past so quickly! I think it's that attention that we must live in...

Brian - you pay such exquisite attention to the moment!

Tabor - I sound more industrious than I think I really am.

Thanks, Marc. I ask myself that, too.

J - your posts do the same for me. You are always writing something marvelous!

rjchery said...

What a beautifully written post. Our moments in the present do pass by quickly but if lived properly, they can create lasting memories that are as beautiful as your son's photo of a sunset.

Pauline said...

rj - I remember reading once that we are always in the present by default as it's the only moment that really exist. It's our memories that take us to the "past" or "future". It takes some thinking about...

Barbara Shallue said...

Living in the moment is a continual struggle for me, but when I achieve it, it brings me peace. I think too often these days (especially with children) we try to cram activity into every moment instead of just taking a moment to breathe and allow our thoughts to wander. Beautiful post, as always, Pauline!

Pauline said...

Barbara - yes, being hectic is part of not noticing the small things. It's so worth the time and effort to slow down!