Monday, June 11, 2012

Action Monday #2 - Commitment to Greening

Practice, or intention, seems so much to be about making a choice. Committing to a particular course of action and then mindfully carrying out whatever it is you've decided to make the object of your focus.

I suck a little bit at commitment. Not in the traditional sense. I am faithful to my husband; we've been married nearly 8 years. We've owned two homes and poured sweat equity into each space. I pay my taxes. I clean my house every week. I am a dedicated mommy. I finished a graduate degree. We have a happy and healthy family dog.

But in each of those examples (and many others not listed), there is a gap between the full scope of my intention and the reality of my actions. I fail. I falter. I don't live up to my expectations, and I don't always give every force of my effort in every moment.

Maybe that's normal. I don't know. But for me, it provides the foundation for always wanting to do better. For feeling like there is something lacking in my commitment because there is inevitably some way in which I hold myself back from full participation in the world.

In a very mundane way, this can be applied to my inability to fulfill my intention to live greener. To be fair to our current efforts: we compost, we recycle, we reuse and pass things on. But it's yet another area wherein my actions fall short of my goals. I could be doing so much more.

I've been talking about green cleaning for years now—keep saying I'm going to do it. Research, and read up, and make plans... but I've yet to actually commit to making my own cleaning products or reducing our use of paper goods (napkins, paper towels, tissues, etc.).

So! Two action items I will commit to this week: 1) buy cloth napkins; 2) make an all-purpose cleaner for the kitchen and bathrooms and try out the baking soda method on the tub.

The inspiration and little push I needed came in the form of a post by a friend, Rachael Nevins @ The Variegated Life, and a link from her site that said "I'm Taking Baby Steps."

I am committing to putting these actions into being no later than Sunday, June 17. As of next week, I'll not only be doing yoga 3-5 times per week and blogging at least twice per week, I'll also be cleaning my house with vinegar, water, and baking soda.

To action!!

May you relish your commitments to positive elements of your life. May you commit to actions that inspire you and fill you with happiness.

Friday, June 8, 2012


I don't remember when I first learned The Lord's Prayer. My family did not attend church, was not in any way religious... but was very much in support of my learning about various religions and faiths. So I would attend services with my friends—outings which invariably exposed me to new language, new rituals, and new ideas.

It was always interesting to experience an entire mass of people speaking in unison or singing traditional songs. I would marvel at how they all knew these things by heart. Songs and prayers and chants and responses. They just knew what to do.

And The Lord's Prayer was one of those things. I think I learned it, in part, so that I could participate. Not feel so left out. So silent and alone and lost in the hum and buzz of united voices.

My favorite part of the prayer, the one that has stuck with me through what has continued to be a predominantly non-church-oriented spiritual journey, is this:

And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.

I prefer the "trespass" version to the "sin" version for a variety of reasons. It took me a long time to figure out what this part of the prayer even meant. (When I was younger, I had a pretty literal interpretation, which was - ultimately - confusing. I could only think of lawns.)

My understanding of the concept of trespass, or transgression - both with regard to oneself and others - has evolved quite a bit over time. The trespasses of elementary-aged school children, no matter how bullied or bullying they may be - are very different than those of adults. Particularly once you get married and start to have children.

My capacity to fail has increased as I've gotten older; or rather, those failures have the potential to be much greater and have much wider ramifications than those of my 8 year-old self.

And so I am keenly aware of my trespasses. And increasingly aware of what that capacity to fail means to me in relation to understanding my humanness and my somewhat bumpy journey toward enlightenment, or divinity, or whatever you want to call it. That journey which is so solidly anchored in this process and act of forgiveness. Forgiveness of self and others.

Recently, I have joked with friends about how parenting is really this grand opportunity to keep learning about and addressing one's flaws. It's the ultimate lesson in personal evolution and awareness of failure. You can't help but fail as a parent - and in that truth is an inherent and inescapable lesson... one linked to humility (the good kind), resilience, and compassion.

Being aware of my capacity to trespass - being open and awake to my failures, as difficult as it has been - has stretched the boundaries and pliancy of my capacity to forgive. To be patient. To be flexible. To be more trusting. To be more loving and ready to love.

And it's still a journey. I continue to fail. I continue to strive to do better. But forgiveness seems to be the key, and in that balance seems to be the most valuable lesson.

May you notice and forgive your trespasses against others. May you respond with love through all transgressions.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Action Monday #1 - Commitment to Action

It has been a long time since I last posted. Nearly a full two years (my husband had to point out my initial math error - I originally calculated it as one... it doesn't feel that long, which is nice and also strange). There are many reasons for the long absence, none of which benefit from time or focus in this post.

But I have made a decision! Lately I'm keenly aware of the self-induced nature of my suffering. And I mean that in the karmic/Buddha sort of sense. Suffering. My doing. My creating. My responsibility.

The antithesis, I've decided, is action. At least for today. At least for me.

Not only have I committed to renewing my yoga practice (slowly at home on my bright pink mat with the flower pattern that captures and delights my daughter), but I've also committed to walking every day at lunch when the weather is welcoming. (The honeysuckle in the photo was a lunchtime reminder of happy childhood moments in Midwestern fields and woods.)

This commitment to action has inspired yet another commitment: to begin blogging regularly again.

I miss it. I miss you reading it. I miss my writing it. I miss having to take what is so often a non-verbal, fleeting, vague sense of something flirting with truth... and shape it into a narrative ready to share with others. One that hopefully resonates productively - positively - like a gentle nudge... bordering on a polite shove.

Today I shove myself: Get going, you. Stop being stuck. Commit to action.

May you feel called to purpose. May you feel empowered to act.