Thursday, September 25, 2008

I got the message

You know how you often have to hear a message quite a few times before you get it?

Well yesterday I got it.

I first heard the message from my Naturopath:

Naturopath: Rachel, your health is very good except your adrenals are really stressed. You need to eat more protein, drink more water and take these pills.

Rachel: water! protein! pills! Okthanksgotitbye!

Then I heard it from my boss:

Boss: Rachel. Take a breath. You need to compartmentalize. If you try to think about everything at once you'll go crazy.

Rachel: Ok! Compartmentalize! That's good! Compartmentalize. I can do that! I just have to do this thing, send this email and then I'll make a plan for doing that compartmentalize thing.

And then I read this post from Unstuffed, and I had the word 'mindful' stuck in my head all day

And THEN I found this post on Lehman's Country Life

And that's when it hit me.

While I've been rushing around like a freakin' chicken without a head trying to get the canning, housework, work, etc. done and not really managing to get anything at all done, other people have been getting it done and have been doing it mindfully, carefully, and peacefully.

When I read the above post it was just such a contrast to my canning efforts, which usually go like this:
-Ok, chopping food, this is cool, I love local food
-Oh man, I am so tired of chopping food
-Ugghh, my back hurts, why didn't I put shoes on? I'm too old to be standing in the kitchen for hours without shoes
-Dang it, I forgot to take those books back to the library again
-Tomorrow when I get to work I really have to make sure I send off those emails
-Shit! The water in the canner is boiling and the food isn't even ready. Damn it, that is such a waste of energy

...and on and on.....

I was just totally missing the point.

So last night I made peach butter (with the help of hubby) and really tried to focus on that one thing and keep all the other thoughts out. And this time in between dropping the peaches in boiling water and then cold water and carefully pulling off the peel, I took the time to be grateful for how easy they were to peel this year and that there were only a handful of bruises I had to cut off even though I bought them for cheap as "seconds". And I also took the time to admire how pretty the bowl full of peaches looked, all bright orange from their 30 seconds in the boiling water and still with a pink blush.

While the peach butter was cooking down I chose to do small jobs, one at a time that were easy to complete. And while I was doing them, I wasn't thinking about all the other things I needed to do. I was only thinking about the one thing I was doing in that moment.

And when it was all done, I didn't feel nearly as exhausted as I have after previous canning efforts. Even though it was midnight, and even though I only ended up with 1.5L of peach butter from 7L of peaches (that stuff cooks down!), and even though one jar didn't seal, I still felt grateful that I'd just learned how to make fruit butter. And on top of all that, I think I probably accomplished more than I would in my previous running around like a chicken way.

I feel kind of silly that its taken me this long to figure this all out.

But I think part of me thought that this whole mindful deliberateness would come automatically from living more lightly. I'd spent a year reading no impact man explain in wonderful detail how his life is so much richer and of all the time he spends with his daughter. I thought, ok, that sounds wonderful, so I'll just unplug my fridge and life will slow down! Cool!

But the whole zoom zoom lifestyle is more heavily ingrained in me than that. And I don't think that just 'getting it' is going to be enough. I'm going to have to be mindful about being mindful.

I think I'm going to make some tea and think about that for a while.


Amber said...

Wow, what an amazing and insightful post. I definitely know how you feel. Sometimes I catch myself doing similar things. "O.k. as soon I get home from work I'll do yoga."
And then while I'm doing yoga, "As soon as I'm done yoga I'll make some dinner and then after I clean up I'll make that pesto I've been meaning to do for a while, oh and I should got those herbs that have been hanging into jars, and then, and then....."
Stopping, breathing, being in the moment...lessons I constantly have to learn over and over again!

Green Grrl said...

I think I've already forgotten and relearned the lesson of mindfully being in the moment since I first wrote this post! You are absolutely right - its one I also have to learn again and again. :)

Titia said...

Hi there - I was just thinking about sustainability and decided to check your blog... I think you've hit the nail on the head with this post. It is so hard to live mindfully. How do we manage in this world of craziness? However, I look at what you are accomplishing and am so impressed. Congratulations on all your canning and knitting and general mindfulness. Keep up the good fight! (I wish I could do more too).