As a practicing Buddhist, here's the biggest gem I've learned: the practice is living your life. Make the smallest task or lesson your greatest wisdom. Do you have piles of shit sitting around? OK. I did, too. And with everything I had on my plate at the time--the piles of shit weren't getting cleaned up, sorted or organized. The anxiety that bubbled up every time I looked at the piles (OMG, what deadlines have I missed? Who is waiting to hear back from me? What should I make for dinner? When should I move my 403B over? Did I do everything I needed to for surgery preparation? Do I tell my mom?) was increased in direct proportion to the days I spent avoiding them.
Here were my piles of shit:
Simon the Turtle photobombing
One overwhelming pile of laundry and one VERY overwhelming piles of important papers. Important is such a relative term once the pile is sorted, eh?
Organize your piles of shit, Dillan. The answers for the bigger stuff will come.
Ok. I could do this. I felt completely overwhelmed by all the major life choices and changes happening in my life, but this is something I could do. I could sit down and sort my piles into piles and get a clearer picture of what I needed to address and what I could throw away. I could fold my laundry and put it away so it isn't wrinkled.
Life is big and scary, but these tasks were manageable.
I took it on as a cleaning meditation. I set the time aside. I put on music I love (yes, I have multiple Pandora stations of film scores on my iPad2). I sat down on the floor cross-legged and I made sense of the chaos.
This is called progress:
Hours later. The pile of "important papers" was reduced to all fit inside one, large white mailing envelope.
The laundry? Sorted, folded. Some was donated.
Sometimes the way to take on the bigger challenges in life is to make time for the most basic of tasks. To stop and address what's right in front of you.
I think it's no coincidence that the answer of how I was going to write to my mom and tell her about my impending surgery came to the surface shortly after this day of cleaning meditation.