Engagement

I'm not exactly sure what inspired me to shift my approach to living mindfully, creatively, and spiritually a little while back. Perhaps it was the Tilda invasion, which threw my routines into such a tizzy that I'm still not quite back on solid ground, or maybe there was something in particular about my deepening awareness and release of the pressure I have put on myself to be Superwoman. Maybe the layers I shed last fall had a unique quality to them, which opened my eyes to a different way of approaching my day to day life. Or if not entirely different, perhaps a purer expression of what I had already been putting into practice. What has happened over the past many months ~ and as I write this I can say it absolutely started around the time Tilda joined our family ~ is that my engagement with my daily life has become more deeply centered around my home, my marriage, and our family. This has been an ongoing process for many years, so it is easy to see that the flowers that have only recently begun to bloom sprang from seeds planted long ago. And while it seems like a strange, absurdly obvious thing to state ~ that my daily life is centered around my home, marriage, etc. (duh!), what I am really trying to say is that instead of feeling like I have to express, give, and even prove my goodness, worth, creativity, and positive intentions in specific, compartmentalized ways, I'm learning that all I need to do is live my life according to these values and engage fully in every part of of my life. Which means I don't try to rush through my errands so that I can get back to my "real work" ~ which, for a long time, I defined as work that was seen and appreciated by the greatest number of people, thereby giving it the most validation. The problem was, this raised the question: "According to whose standard was this so-called validation?"

Once I began to more consciously consider every part of my daily life as contributing to my "most important" work, I began to see everything differently. I saw that picking lemons from the tree in my front yard was rooted to the exact same tree as my work as a writer; I recognized that taking good care of my family was the same thing as taking care of the world. There was no question that the trip I took yesterday to spend an afternoon with a friend was absolutely, positively contributing to my book ~ the book that is due in less than two weeks. Everything is connected ~ all steps are taken on the same path.

Don't get me wrong ~ I still have my moments, moments when I fantasize about the house burning down (after rescuing Tilda, family photos, and my hard drive, of course) and being able to "start over" with as little as possible. I still sometimes imagine how magnificently free and easy my life could be if I only had myself to answer to and care for. There are days when wake up cranky and resent the never-ending piles of dishes, laundry, and dog poo. I have days when I want nothing more than to shut the world OFF. But when the tension eases and I allow these feelings to move through me, I make my way back to that place of engagement ~ with all of it, every bit of it, every ounce.

Every once in a while I feel downright fearful of the calm this has created in my life ~ does this mean I've lost my mojo? Does this mean I don't care enough, am not driven enough, and will therefore not be inspiring enough? Am I living my life to the fullest if I am not putting myself out in the world in as many ways as possible, taking advantage of every opportunity that comes to me? But when I sit still with those questions, and observe them as quietly as I can, the answers are always the same ~ no, no, and no. My mojo hasn't gone anywhere. If anything, it has expanded to the point of bursting. It has infiltrated more of my life than ever before, and settled beautifully into a deep, consistent pulse that feeds my soul and therefore feeds the world.

"If you regard yourself as a person on the spiritual path, then whatever you do is part of the path, an expression of the path." ~Chogyam Trungpa

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide