Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Habits of Mind

Every day is a new walk. I decided this morning that this is my mantra. First of all, it's true. See the picture above? This is my favorite intersection in my neighborhood, where Woodburn and Sevier cross. It's a majestic corner, with towering oaks that lean slightly over the road as if to say, This is ours, all ours. Even in the winter, the trees are mighty and imposing, skeletal though they may be.

I took the above picture yesterday. Here's today's picture:

That's smoke coming up from the sewer line. I don't know why there's smoke coming up from the sewer line exactly, though apparently there are official reasons that I was supposedly notified about. The smoke gave the intersection a ghostly, mysterious sort of feeling. Really, half the time this neighborhood feels enchanted; this morning, even more so.

Every day is a new walk. I've been reading books on Buddhist psychology lately, which I tend to do during stressful or busy times. Some days my mind is a bad neighborhood, and Buddhism--by which I mean Buddhism-Lite for Westerners--offers me practices to turn off all the hoodlum voices that make me feel even more stressed and tense.

What I keep hoping for is a way to be happy all the time, and by happy I mean free of stress and anxiety and conflict. When I am happy I want so badly to bottle it, to somehow save it for later. Many mornings as I've walked toward the intersection of Woodburn and Sevier, I wish I could live my life in that moment of beauty and sublimity.

Well, I can't. I just can't. I can't meditate or pray my way into a stress-free, conflict-free, anxiety-free life, and it really irks me. Or at least it did until I came up with my new mantra: Every day is a new walk. Every day I get to have these moments, if I pay attention, if I decide to be present. Every day will have its share of new anxieties, but there will also be opportunities to open my mind to beauty, compassion, kindness and joy. It's all there, and it can't be saved for later.


Alison@Brocantehome said...

That was beautiful. Thank you so much.

Gumbo Lily said...

I really liked this. I like your new mantra -- each day a new walk.

Tracy said...

I like that too - each day is a new walk. Yup - especially when you work with little people who "wish you were dead" with all the venom they can muster at the time. In half an hour they might not feel so fiesty!

The other thing about stress and anxiety is that if we never had these human qualities we would have no reason to rely on God. And He wants us to rely on Him. We just have to remember to do it. Not that I relish stress and anxiety....but I so enjoy being able to come out the other end and say "Look what God has done through me". Now THAT is something worthwhile.

wayside wanderer said...

What a beautiful intersection where you live with so many mature trees. Sigh. What a gift.

I totally relate to the desire for peaceful, stress free days where I can putter about as I would like. Not only do I not like busyness, my body rebels against it often with pain.

Each day's walk seems to be both new and also very old. Either way, or both ways, I am thankful each day's walk is infused with God's New Mercies, because therein lies Hope. And the fact that I do not walk alone is the greatest of comforts to me.

Blessings on your walk today!

magsmcc said...

I've just read Cold Comfort Farm for the first time. And as soon as I had read Cold Comfort Farm for the first time I turned right back to page one and read Cold Comfort Farm for the secnd time. And when I take it back to the library this week I'm going to buy my own PAPER copy of Cold Comfort Farm and undrline all the passages that have tidied my mind and my mood and that go on challenging my mind and my mood. Obviously I couldn't have considered this vandalism of books before the Willows' Grand Tour, but there you go, sometimes books, and walks do set you free! (Although I did a long while ago underline all my favourite bits of Gilead and I reread it regularly too!)