yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

Monday, February 1, 2010

Daily Life's Benefits

They say that daily life is where real life is lived. When I stop to think about how much time I spend conducting my daily life versus the occasional fun thing like vacation or a celebratory event, most of my life is spent bathing, cooking, cleaning, etc., and doing those routine chores for self maintenance. If life seems boring, just the "same old routine," be glad that there is nothing upsetting your ability to have a daily routine. I remember my first husband Joe (may his soul rest in peace) being adamant that even though he was dying of cancer, he was going to hold tight to one thing that he could control: his daily routine. It gives a person a measure of stability in this simple act of taking care of one's self each day.

So, how can a daily life be appreciated? For me, making self care the highest priority has lead me to really enjoy daily life and routine. I try not to get too rigid and set in my ways, which when it happens makes me unhappy until I figure out that I have gotten into that slump. I find that I am doing pretty much the same thing every morning and evening when I wake up and get ready for sleep, but most days there is variation on a theme. It gives me comfort to know that I have what I need at my ready to be my best: Things like making a fresh pot of espresso, doing a 10-minute series of slow stretches and gentle jostling exercises to wake myself up, making up the bed so it looks pretty, a warm and splashy shower, putting on an interesting outfit that expresses what I am feeling that day... and then, going backwards, putting on soft and cuddly pajamas, soaking my feet in warm water, drinking a glass of milk and then doing a set of stretches to work out the kinks of the day before hopping between the flannels with a good book. Now, THAT'S a nice life and I am lucky to find what works for me to feel safe in this crazy world.

It took me a number of years to find wisdom and power in daily life. I thought it was found in the outside world, that I had to be whirling around in a frenzy of activity to find meaning. Now I only buzz around in between the bookends of my self care routine of the morning and evening and am unsettled if I don't have this foundation of calm. There is a Zen in washing the dishes, in tucking in sheets, in folding laundry, in sweeping the porch. I concentrate on my tasks, but my mind is also free to think or ponder or do nothing at all. Sometimes I am like Jane Austen's title character "Emma" who was completely content to live in and never travel beyond Highbury, her home. I believe each of us can be at peace with our daily lives and find a Zen in the little things, magic instead of boredom, contentment in knowing we are taking care of ourselves. Only then can we help others.

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