Here’s How to Make Your Whole Day Better
There are certain things monks do as they begin the day.
You might imagine the first one wouldn’t exactly be the first thing on one’s agenda.
Get centered and reflect on death.
Whoa. Okay. Hmmm.
But when you reflect on death, you can’t help but reflect on the preciousness of life and how fortunate you are to be alive this day!
The next one might seem like nothing special, and it isn’t. But that’s what makes it noteworthy.
Make your bed.
The two things tie together.
As you think about the miracle of your life, it increases your awareness that all you really have is the present moment, and you need to be present, mindful, and intentional no matter what you’re doing … including something as mundane as making the bed.
Making your bed is training. It’s about doing small things with discipline. Monks believe it’s discipline around the small things that allow the big things to happen!
Another thing monks do is chores. We all have chores to do. But how do we do them? Mindfully … like a monk making the bed … or tending the garden … or washing the dishes? Or do we do them in a rush to get on to the next item on a never-ending to-do list?
I’ve discovered that rushing doesn’t make me feel good. Conversely, any task I do mindfully can be transformed into a kind of meditation.
This summer and fall, I’ve taken to going out on our deck to sweep and pull dead heads off the flowers. Makes me think of the ladies I saw in Italy who come out and sweep in front of their homes and shops to start the day … with smiles on their faces and a nice word for passersby. It’s part of the rhythm of their day.
It may sound odd, but I love sweeping with intention and mindfulness. I find it very Zen-like, relaxing, and peaceful.
I don’t treat it as a job to get done. I just sweep. I talk to my flowers, listen to the birds, and feel the air on my face. And every time my mind wanders, I just go back to sweeping, feeling how satisfying it is … and appreciating the beauty of the flowers around me.
The message is that anything done mindfully and intentionally can become a spiritual practice that sets the tone for your day ahead.
And that’s a very good way to start the day … connected and at peace.
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