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!
As we age, things change. Our body parts begin to complain.We do not walk as fast as we once did. We can no longer do things that we actually took for granted. Perhaps we gain or lose weight. We are no longer young.
The question remains: Do you want to age better? Are you willing to make some life style changes in order to be healthier?
Are you looking backwards at memories, both sad and happy ones? Are you looking forwards with hope or dread? Do you live in the ever-present NOW?
Every second you spend anywhere else other than NOW is time lost forever, never to be regained.
If you are in your NOW, you are living your life to the fullest, taking advantage of opportunities that come your way.
Life is so short, no matter how long that is. Yes, it is a great oxymoron, but true.
Are you happy with your present, or are you trying to escape from something? Where is your focus and attention? Are you caught up like a hamster in a cage, going round and round every day? Do you see beauty around you? Are you so stressed out that you are chest breathing (which is the first thing that happens)? Are you breathing deeply, relaxing into the moment?
How is your dance going? You are the only one who can dance your unique movements. No one else can do it for you. Is it slow and full of rhythm like a waltz? Are you doing the minute waltz in 30 seconds or less, stuffing every moment with activities, either voluntarily or out of necessity? Are you dancing to your own tune or somebody else’s?
Wherever you are in your life, the only moment you can make a new choice is the present one. Every change has a price tag in some form, be it time, money, effort, or something else. Are you willing to begin to change the music to which you are dancing?
If you make one small step in your chosen direction, it is a beginning. It does not have to be drastic. You can only do what is possible for you at this moment in time. Awareness of needed changes is vital to the process. After all, you are the only one who can make that decision to follow through.
Life is a beautiful thing that passes so quickly. Time does not stop for any reason. It is your journey and your dance. Make the most of your precious time.
For many years, I have believed that Christmas is a very special time of year. It appears that people are kinder, more gentle, certainly forgiving, etc., during this extraordinary period. The focus is placed on the beauty around us: Christmas lights and decorations, being good for “Santa,” thinking more of others and what their needs […]
Life-long learning has been my quest always. There is so much in the world that brings us down. Like the old song says: "Eliminate the negative, Accentuate the positive..." Life, Love, Truth, Peace, Beauty, Laughter, Light, Joy = All these and more need to lift our spirits so we can soar. Daily wear and tear affects us all. Each one needs to take the time daily to look beyond the problems in our lives so we may find the solutions needed. I wish to use all my lessons learned to share uplifting thoughts with you. Come join me in trying to make this world a better place... :-)
I have been happily married to author and poet W. Foster Welborn for 29 years. (His blog is URL: www.wfosterwelborn.com = RSS Feed is: www.wfosterwelborn.wordpress.com) He has 6 books on Kindle and 2 in print. I am his editor/typist. I currently have 4 more books that are in my finishing process. Watch for them!