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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Serenity Lessons from my Toe

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace. [Serenity week begins here.]

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"Wonderful World" by Marielliott

This is  the third or fourth time I shared some of Marielliott's photos. If you haven't yet, I really recommend you visit her gallery. Her perspective is so uplifting and charming!

So two days ago I left you with my intention to watch the cloudless sky. It did not happen. I let myself get distracted from my intentions. OK so you may think I had a good reason since I almost broke my toe I tripped on the blanket dangling off the end of my bed and somehow got my right foot's second toe tangled up in it.  I questioned whether it was broken for a day or two, it hurt A LOT and turned a beautiful purple color but it didn't swell up so I decided it is only a hairline fracture if anything. It feels a lot better now but I let that toe dictate things for the past couple of days.

Interesting thing. I was called to SLOW DOWN! No running around incessantly as is my usual mode of operation. Some times I try to pack three days of living in four hours but because of my toe I had to walk, or hobble a bit. Yes I was distracted but that toe reliably called me to the present and asked me to be still far more then is my normal practice. While I was pausing, for once, long enough to notice my toe was teaching the very lessons I need to learn to find serenity.

1. SAY NO - You don't have to do it all. In my quest for jamming all this living into my four hours I find myself saying YES to too much. If it causes too much stress to do it then stop doing it. It is ok to say, No my schedule is booked up EVEN if you don't yet know with what! Allow yourself the freedom to fill your time with things you love to do.

2. ASK FOR HELP - I am the ultimate "I can do it myself gal" (and I wonder where my daughter gets it?!) I consider it a sign of weakness if I have to ask for anything. This week I asked my Sweetie to handle dinner for us so I wouldn't have to worry about trips to the store or need to stand in front of the stove to cook. Now don't get me wrong, I ask other times too but I usually feel guilty about it since I think I should be handling it,. My toe freed me of the guilt and I realize that my Sweetie likes to be of help so guilt need not be a part of the equation.

3. SLOW DOWN - how often do we rush rush rush barely noticing the world around us? Make a conscious effort to eat, drive and walk more slowly and you will feel a sense of calm come over you. And who knows you may discover hidden treasures, as I did while taking the garbage out yesterday. I was walking, rather then sprinting without regard for my surroundings, to our recycling bin and I noticed a small puffy cloud floating past our street. I've already mentioned that it is rare to see clouds in Northern California so I normally wouldn't even be glancing up to notice. My slower then normal gait gave me the gift of one puffy rabbit which I watched float across the sky and finally stretching into disappearing ribbons of pinky white.

I guess my toe got me back on track after all! It was a perfect moment and I was actually present enough to enjoy it!

This idea of a perfect moment reminds me of something I read over on the Spirituality and Practices website. The following comes from one of their practices of the day:
On the day of their marriage, Yvonne and her husband were given a rare and gorgeous antique Hopi vase. After the ceremony someone carried the vase on a tray with too many other things, and dropped it. The bowl broke into many pieces.
"A perfect moment," she smiled. "The bowl was only whole for the ceremony."
— Sue Bender in Everyday Sacred
Have you allowed yourself any perfect moments today?

Next Post - Peaceful musings

My 13 bliss virtues are 
joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, 
romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, and surprise.

This week we are exploring  Serenity. 
Next week is all about Inquiry.


  1. Okay, so here's the deal. What if the person who is 'asking you to do it all' happens to be YOU! I have sort of felt super busy and a bit overwhelmed, but I have nobody to blame! Nobody but me is asking for anything extra from me. But I can't tell MYSELF no. A lot of it is creative things, but still....I should work on that, huh? I just don't know how.

  2. Ah, three things I need to remember...slow down (which I never do - I usually go full-speed ahead), ask for help (I am somewhat stubborn) and say no (I hate to disappoint). I have slowed down a bit and have tried to pace myself more. Seems to be working - at least for now! :) Theresa

  3. I think that the universe will come knocking eventually and get you to slow down one way or another. I got injured and couldn't do everything. I wrote down everything I did for a week including getting dressed and eating so I could see where my time went. Then I categorized everything and prioritized the things I wanted *WANTED* to do as the most important. I had to make other categories for must do (eating, using the restroom, work). Doing this exercise made me realize where I was wasting time / wasting my life. I am not perfect, but much better now.

    What fulfills you when you do it?


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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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