Day 56: Intend

I have been a little down on myself over the past couple of days. I’ve started to see some things slip. The past two mornings, my alarm has been set for 6:15am instead of 6am, which means I haven’t had time to start my day with quiet sitting. In fact, I’ve caught myself picking up my phone before I’ve even made it downstairs to get the coffee going. And some of the clutter is starting to creep back in around the edges–an unassuming little pile or two on the dining table. A board game that the kids took out over the weekend, still left sitting in the living room. A couple of crumpled receipts pulled out of my wallet and tossed on the dresser….

That sort of thing.

I’ve already written on the need to sustain all of these efforts to live more simply as a form of daily discipline or practice. I get that. But this morning I was starting to feel a bit like I was struggling against Newton’s Second Law….

So I made the bed.

And I felt better.

As with so much of what I have written about over the past two months, what I’m learning is that the most important act is the one I am undertaking right now.

Later in the day, I received a comment on a blog post from almost two months ago. The focus for that day had been: “Stop.” Getting that comment today brought me back to that day during the first week of this experiment, and what it had been like on that particular day to intentionally and deliberately stop what I was doing in the middle of my day to make time and space for quiet.

What a great tool that was, just to stop for a moment during the day, I thought to myself as I was walking across campus. Then I realized: Hey! I could do that–right here, and right now.

And so I did. I found a place to sit, brought my day to a stop, and sat quietly, if only for five minutes, to listen and observe.

I often think of Thoreau’s call to live deliberately, and what that means on a daily basis. At its simplest, I suppose, it’s about acting intentionally–being aware of what you are doing, and doing it with intent. I shut off lights all the time, but today, as I turned off a light, I thought about my energy fast, and what it would mean to be more deliberate in how I use electricity.

And so on.

I’ve managed to put together 55 days of little experiments in living more simply and directly. As a result, I now have a growing collection of tools with me on any given day that I can turn to help me along the way. And goodness knows I will probably need all the help I can get as I head down this path!

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2 Responses to Day 56: Intend

  1. I find that as I learn to love, forgive and let go I am constantly moving forward and am happier, but I do have off days.The off days show us that we still have areas to grow. I like the idea of stopping like you said instead of dwelling on the offness.

    • Mark says:

      Yes, I find that if I can focus on the act in front of me–instead of the one I “should have” taken in the past, or the one I “should be” taken in the future–I’m on a much more even keel.

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