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Chop Wood, Carry Water

Do you chop wood and carry water? You must be thinking, “Is she crazy? I’m not camping!” Tee hee!

In all reality, you do it every day, each in his/her own way. “How?” you may ask. Answer: Everything you do–be you a king, queen, laborer, or pauper–is in fact Chopping Wood and Carrying Water!

My point is that, if you are present in the moment, you are breathing, thinking, and performing your daily tasks, whatever they may be. The question is: What is your attitude? Where are your emotions? What are you thinking about and dwelling upon, whether it be past, present, or future? In these uncertain times with extreme fears and passions everywhere, where is your calmness and peace?

Only as you ask yourself these questions and then answer them can you leave the outside world behind so you can find the calmness inside you to weather the storm outside you.

The concept behind “Chopping Wood and Carrying Water” is actually a very simple one:

PRESENCE OF MIND!

If you are driving your car, is your mind thinking about the burned toast or unkind words from someone you care about? Or perhaps you are fretting because traffic is heavy and dangerous? Maybe you are concerned about a big project at work with impossible deadlines? My question is: “Are you driving your car, centering your attention on what is happening at that moment?” Would it be possible to take a deep breath, notice your surroundings, be polite to someone who needs to get over, and smile in your mirror? Taking life moment by moment is the only real way to live. You cannot do two things at once, no matter how hard you try. You may do many things in quick succession, but each one is by itself. Most people are trying to stuff their lives with stress-causing, unrealistic expectations of themselves and others.

Presence is defined as: “The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place.”

What that translates to is: Are you aware of how you are breathing at this particular moment in time? If you are breathing from your chest, you are stressed out. Only when you are aware of being able to breathe deeply from your stomach/diaphragm area can you get a handle on what is going on with you…your brain…your emotions. What is in the room with you at this moment? Is there something beautiful to please you, or a wonderful smell like baking bread, or perhaps the scent from someone you care about? So many times, our monkey mind is fretting over some silly situation that truly does not matter at all, if you stop and think rationally about its components. Usually it is just emotions running wild. Calmness is an impossible dream and totally out of reach.

Why? Because your attention is so centered on it, emotionally ruminating about it in your mind, perhaps drawing up unpleasant scenarios. Why do that to yourself? Beats me!

So many things are outside of our control, especially now. We forget that it is our reaction to outside stimuli that is causing the problem.

Life will go on, trust me, if you stop, take a deep breath, and apply Presence of Mind at that moment. You can control your reactions, but you must take the thoughtful action to do it. Are you willing? CHOP WOOD AND CARRY WATER!

God bless you on your journey!

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