Chop Wood, Carry Water: The Daily Round
“The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
I’d like to pause a moment and ask this question: what things are necessary for us to have a peaceful, drama-less life this week? Today?
It’s been my observation that the great dramas of life take our attention: shenanigans in politics, rudeness on the net, which artist died this week with whom we had no personal acquaintance but an abundance of feeling – these things become real for us, immediate, because they engage our emotions.
But not our brains. The checkbook that needs balancing, the tax deadline looming, the editing of a manuscript, the folding of laundry – these are the things that truly require our attention but that, because they are not accompanied by a ring tone or a twitter feet, become neglected.
Here are my thoughts that apply to my own daily round, but that I thought I would share for others in the hope that they, too, might find them relevant. Five things, when done daily, can change the tenor of our week.
1. Put things away when you’re done with them. If you have books out, put them back on the shelf. Put the shoes in the closet or by the door. End tasks, so that when you’re done, they feel done.
2. Floss your teeth. We all know we should do it, but how many of us do? Be honest now. If we called our dentist and made an appointment today, would they be amazed at what they found? Or would they want you to brush before they touched you?
3. Smile at everyone you meet. If you ride transit, smile at the conductor. Smile at the receptionist, or the checker at the store. Smile even if you have to fake it – and if you do have to fake it, make sure to include your eyes in it. Really make it a smile to be memorable and see what happens.
4. Eat your vegies. We know we should, but how many have you eaten today? Doctors recommend between five and nine servings every day, and those should be from the five different color groups.
5. Take a walk. Even a twenty minute walk can change our relationship to our bodies and to the day.
What do you do to maintain the sanity of your daily round? I’d love to know.