Present in the Pantry
OK, I thought, nevermind the bugs, thirty minutes. That’s all I have to do. Focus Holly.
I narrowed my visual field and chose one set of shelves, telling myself that was all I needed to tackle today. I could organize one set of shelves in that time, right?
Thirty minutes later my phone played a happy, if somewhat muffled jingle from the back pocket of my jeans and I looked up to realize I had accomplished more than I set out to do. One whole wall of the pantry was neatly organized. I had a pile of recycling outside the door and a bag of trash. The children’s chairs sat in the next room awaiting their new home. Paper goods sat primly in their own corner of the space. Plastic containers, out of season kitchen equipment, disinfectants and cleaners occupied another set of shelves. Serving dishes and items for entertaining took up still another, ready for the next party. The time had whisked by and I was pleased with how much more open the pantry felt. I almost didn’t want to stop there, but I knew that if I left the job feeling that way, it would be much easier for me to pick it up again the next day.
Within a few days, the pantry was reorganized and I'd enjoyed the whole process, celebrating the product of my efforts. And that’s the secret, enjoying the process as well as the product.
But what could possibly have been enjoyable about organizing the basement pantry? I mean really, it’s the basement. The concrete floor and walls are cold. There might be spiders, or worse, those thousand-legged crawly things that jump out at you when you move stuff off the basement floor. Shiver. How is that a good time?
Well, let’s take another look at what actually happened.
First, I set a timer. I limited the amount of time I would have to spend on that particular job, on that particular day. This allowed me to quiet the voice in my head that whined about what a big job this was and kept asking me if I wouldn’t rather be reading that good book I started last night.
Limiting the time also encouraged me to focus my attention. I had to narrow my field of vision. No falling down the rabbit hole of figuring out where those children’s chairs or anything else that didn't belong were going to end up. Just pick them up and move them out of the pantry so I could reach the set of shelves I was working on.
As I focused my attention, I got fully present with what I was doing, and that is the key to enjoyment. I had all my attention centered in the process. I knew I wouldn’t finish the pantry that day. I wasn’t rushing or thinking about the future product of my efforts. I was attending to what I was doing in each present moment, flowing from one into the next, and that was really enjoyable. In fact, I’m looking forward to my next reorganization project.
Also, not a spider in sight, and the crawlees kept to themselves. 😉
Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash
Hands of Spirit
Spirit is interested in the details of our lives because they matter on a spiritual level.
The details of our lives gradually add up to become the whole of our lives. The seconds become minutes become hours become days become years.
Every detail contributes to our soul growth not because of what we are doing but because of how we are doing it. Are we resenting the maintenance jobs which loom before us? Do they feel like drudgery? Would we much rather be doing something else? Are we mentally elsewhere as we clean the toilet? Do we keep putting off cleaning the scuff marks on the wall, changing out the worn and dirty vent covers, fixing that window? Or, do we appreciate and love the details of our lives? Do we make a prayer of vacuuming, painting, washing windows, ironing or doing the dishes? Do we love and appreciate what we are doing as we are doing it?
Why is this so important that we do this?
It can be challenging to remember this in the course of everyday life. Sometimes you just want to get a job done and get it over with so you can get on to what you want to be doing. But if you can remember to slow down and set your intention to make whatever you do spiritual practice, focus your attention into the present moment and evoke flow, it makes all the difference. You move from one plane of existence into a higher plane.
And you really feel it when you do. The job you are doing starts speaking to you (metaphorically speaking). Or perhaps it is Spirit or your Higher Self. Whoever it is that is communicating, you attune to what you are doing, you know what to do and how to get it done. You know the next step and then the next step after that. You are flowing in the current of energy which you evoked through your intention.
In fact, you are attuning and aligning with your inner self through the medium of the job that you are doing. So, you see how important this particular job is, this particular detail of your life. What you do becomes a pathway to connection and alignment with your Higher Self, with Spirit and with God.
How do we do this? We do this by setting our intention energetically before we take any action.
Let’s take cleaning as an example of a daily maintenance job, a detail of our lives. A job that is often put off or avoided or slogged through just to get it done, at least in my house.
Here are some ideas for approaching this in another way.
You might have noticed there is a theme here. Ask Spirit, invite Spirit, intentionally partner with Spirit as you do what you do. As you intend this and take action, you become the hands of Spirit in our world, channeling the energy of love.
Life is full of spiritual lessons. Some feel good, some not so good. All support us to grow. This blog is about my life lessons. Perhaps you'll find yourself within these stories.