Sunday, April 22, 2007

simplify life

I have insomnia tonight. So here I am at the computer reading. I ran across something to think about. Following is a snippet from Tom Spencer in Austin:

"University of Texas Professor, John Rodden, talked to us about simplifying our lives- or as he put it, the pursuit of clarity, commitment, and community in relationship to the divine.

It was a tremendous presentation about the choices we make that either weigh us down, or lighten our movement through our lives. It was an evening filled with useful concepts; one central idea had to do with recognizing our own limitations, that we cannot have or know it ALL, that we have to be humble enough to trust in the mystery that lies around the next bend.

Both the gardener, and searcher within recognized the wisdom of what he was saying. The countless choices we make are all part of a balancing act that we perfom, knowingly or not.
I recently participated in the Mayfield Park Gardening Symposium and gave a talk called "Finding the Soul of the Garden." In that talk, I used the following quote from Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao te Ching:

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

As we till the soil of our gardens and our lives, the work that must be performed is really the work of sorting through the countless choices that barrage us.

Are our decisions, our "commitments," lifting us up, or dragging us down?
Do they bring beauty and utility into our lives? Or, are we merely sharpening knives that were whittled down to nothing years ago?
In gardening terms, are our gardens acts of loving co-creation, or obsessions that over rule our thoughts and deeds? The key to simplification is balance, a good idea on the pathway through life."

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