Something old, something new

We ordered 5 oranges from the grocery and got instead, an 8 lb. bag of clementines. At first, I was ornery … then I had to laugh. A spiritual challenge! What can I make from what is given me? Tangerine-ade? OK then. We can do this hard thing. We can find newness amidst the same old same old. Another week, another month, a maybe never getting back to what was. Are you waiting for a better time, better thoughts? This wishing for some other situation is toxic. We all know that the question is how to sit down in the middle of what we are given without wishing for more, better, different. Even the nightly news is not new. Turn it off. Turn off yesterday. Turn off tomorrow. Write your own news. Finding what is new in this moment could be a great spiritual practice. The earth is inching its way toward longer days and more warmth. This day, even though it holds the prospect of more left-overs for dinner, could yield some new recipe. We tried putting pepper on our clementines and that woke up something new on our tongue! (It is amazing, by the way, what you can find by putting into google “recipes for clementines!”).

What is the specific taste of this day? Vanilla, cayenne, mint, cumin? What color can you find hidden in the sameness? We piled the clementines into a blue bowl and found a beautiful centerpiece for the table where we ate our left-overs.

Just now I heard a bell chime in the distance. Eleven times. I don’t think I’ve noticed that ringing before. The eleventh hour – of the world, of the pandemic, of this morning? It’s not too late. I can live inside this day and somehow find new textures to the sameness. The Buddhists keep telling us that even each breath we take has a uniqueness and God knows we have time to notice. To note – us …. stuck in place and yet weaving a new tapestry from thread we found in the back of a drawer we haven’t opened in five years. Who knows what might be hidden in our own dark recesses besides the shadows we’re already tired of exploring. Shine a beam on your interior drawer and see if something new sparkles from deep in there that you hadn’t noticed last time you looked. Weave it into today.

Closing words from Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do,

we have come to our real work;

and that when we no longer know which way to go,

we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

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