smiling sky

This past Sunday afternoon I found myself lying on the couch, not wanting to move.  As I looked around the room, I saw clutter on my computer desk, cat hair on the rug, the coffee table had stacks of books on it that I hadn’t put away, under it was a box filled with odds and ends that I didn’t want to throw out, but hadn’t organized; cards sent by friends, a necklace made of small shells that I will never wear, coins, photographs, bank statements, cd’s out of their cases, post office slips, sheets of blank paper, envelopes… Everything, including me, seemed dull and dingy somehow. On top of that, I felt guilty for being in this state of mind.

I thought, “I need help.” The idea came, “Clean up your mess.” I got up, turned on an inspirational cd, and made a commitment not to stop until I had cleaned off the entire coffee table, which seemed like a big deal at the time. I felt better almost instantly. I used to tackle things like “the whole house” but have found that when I’m not feeling great, just the idea of those big projects more often than not, keeps me immobile. When I start with something small, like the coffee table, I almost always continue on to more.

After a few good hours of cleaning, I went outside to get a breath of fresh air and this was the sky that faced me.

“I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.” Alberto Salazar

*Wayne Dyer has a number of really good, inspirational cd sets from live lectures. I can whole-heartedly recommend, The Power of Intention, The Secrets of an Inspirational Life, It’s Never Crowded Along the Extra Mile.

24 thoughts on “Begin”

  1. Yet another great way to start the day from you, Mary…. I, too, am a “relaxed housekeeper”, ahem… You are right, incremental cleaning works wonders! A crankin’ Stevie Ray Vaughn CD seems to help, too 🙂 … Next time, Wayne Dyer.

    Wishing everyone a day of delightful surprises!

  2. Mary, your post today was so true! I was feeling overwhelmed this past weekend, wondering where do I start with all the Xmas decorating ,shopping and house cleaning. I said to myself(as I often do in these situations) to just tackle things like Anne Lamont suggested…bird by bird! I have found if I think like this I will start to do SOMETHING, and when I think in terms of doing everything at once I will do nothing. I just started listening to Wayne Dyer’s CDs in my car last week and they are changing the way I think about everything! So far I’ve listened to Choose your own greatness and currently Excuses Begone which I really recommend. the power of intention is waiting for me at the library, cant wait for that one!

    1. Thanks for this Renee! I love the way things line up….I almost named this post Bird by Bird!

  3. Hey, Ho, Mary, what a timely message…’re talking about what lies ahead for me today. It’s cleaning day here in the country. My studio is spilling over into my dining room, the dogs have used me as a human towel because it’s raining out. The day is most uninspiring…grey, gloomy and drippy and I’m up over my head with a mess I’ve been avoiding for weeks…months… I trust your words will inspire me…


  4. at first take, today’s post seems of the mundane variety……organize, clean, and put life in order. years ago a friend said this to me regarding such; spirituality is often doing the practical. i’ve always loved that and find when i feel stuck (can’t–won’t) get motivated, i find that it is unlifting (spiritual to me) to just start—-anywhere.

    i too am a wayne dyer listener; our pbs station runs his lectures from time to time. i like the way his spirituality has progressed over the decades.

    thanks, mary, last friday morning this is what the sky looked like, i ran inside, grabbed my camera. last evening i was showing the nearly identical color/tree shots to a friend!!!!!!

    you are so loved, mary, and all

    1. Virginia, your post sparked a memory for me of a book that was out twenty or so years ago whose premise was, “Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

      And the name of the book? Why, “Chop Wood, Carry Water,” of course! 🙂

      I guess its lesson is that no matter what your state of mind or spiritual life, the ‘mundane’ life still has to be dealt with. If you live it with awareness, it too can become meaningful. Thanks for the memory!

  5. Wow! How often does one SEE the Universe smiling at them? If I saw this myself, I’d be happy for days.

  6. Thank you for this post. It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who sometimes feels overwhelming malaise. I used to think unless I could clean the entire house what would it matter to do just one little thing. It makes a huge difference to do “one little thing,” and I get motivated by telling myself it will feel so good to kick back and admire the difference. And reward myself with a good cup of coffee and a good read. If it’s more than “one little thing” I tell myself to just pick a corner and start, turn on “Folk Alley” and just do it. I really like how you express yourself, Suzanne, and every time I want to add Amen. Amen. It’s in “stirring the oatmeal” that we show love and caring.

    1. Love that image Sally……”stirring the oatmeal.” That’s going into my book of sayings I love.

  7. Sally! I love it! “It’s in stirring the oatmeal!” – so so true. The littlest motion, stirring that spoon with love, and the oats will be ever so much tastier! (raisins, brown sugar, yum) – This post sure resonates with us women it would seem – the call of the house, “Put me in order, now! It’s your job, now!” and yet we procrastinate, for surely there are better things to do. Do you ever find yourself in a cleaning jag when you feel a little upset about something you can do nothing about? Sometimes the only beneficiary is my house, – putting something in order to make up for what seems hopelessly out of order. I just had to run and get my treasured book of Billy Collins’ poems titled Sailing Alone Around the Room. I could hear this poem as I read the comments about housekeeping in general and it made me laugh as I think you will too when you read this poem. And if the ex-poet laureate of the United States can happily greet the new day buzzing around his house on espresso, I say we can too! Let the dust bunnies be fruitful and multiply – it’s MORNING, Ladies! Enjoy this day!


    Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
    the swale of the afternoon,
    the sudden dip into evening,

    then night with his notorious perfumes,
    his many pointed stars?

    This is the best –
    throwing off the light covers,
    feet on the cold floor,
    and buzzing around the house on espresso –

    maybe a splash of water on the face,
    a palmful of vitamins –
    but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,

    dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
    the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
    a cello on the radio,

    and if necessary, the windows –
    trees fifty, a hundred years old
    out there,
    heavy clouds on the way
    and the lawn steaming like a horse
    in the early morning.

    Billy Collins
    from Sailing Alone Around the Room

  8. P.S., Motown, Marvin Gaye or James Brown will also get you to dancin’ with that funky mop!

  9. I so appreciate your gentle urging to “Begin”, Mary but equally important in my case is to “End”. Balance is everything; and though I know it all too well, it’s the practice and application that eludes me so.
    Yesterday morning, I had surgery on my torn knee cartilage and, knowing that it was scheduled, I spent the weekend cleaning and getting ‘everything in order’ for my recuperation period. (Imagination on my grand scale foresaw a mini leper colony, accompanied by dust bunnies and clutter requiring dumpster sized bins, and for good measure, unannounced visits by the president or the pope!) And after ALL that, I swear I was hobbling around this morning on one crutch, moving a lamp from one room to another, because it looked better there!!
    GEEESSHHHH. Maybe rose colored glasses are not such a bad idea. At least I’m laughing at the absurdity of this crazy, wonderful organ called the mind.

    1. Oh Cheryl B., I hope you feel so much better soon. I wrote you a little poem to make you laugh (but not laugh AT me):

      Cheryl B. hurt her knee
      and had to have it cut.
      But she came home
      to some clean, clean rooms
      And now can relax on her butt. 🙂

      Stop moving the furniture. Sit and heal. Let others do nice little things for you. Don’t make me come over there!

      1. Thank you, dear Suzanne, I’m chuckling as I type. While I have to work at ‘stillness’, I’m heeding your good advice: furniture is remaining in place and my butt is planted on the most comfortable cushion. It’s hard to give up that invincible part of the song……[:~)

    2. Sending you a cyber hug and good thoughts Cheryl…your hobbling around moving the lamp made me laugh (I soooo identified with you!) Love, Mary

    3. Cheryl b. by the beautiful sea, we gather ’round your hurting knee,
      the flock, so faithful, we hear your cry,
      so sweet and soft, we sweetly fly,
      from north and south and east and west,
      we do what White Feather simply does best,
      we gather ’round our loved ones, and sit and wait
      ’til morning comes
      and hopefully you’ll rise, come ‘morn,
      and grace us with your presence reborn!

      Cheryl, b. By the Beautiful Sea!

    1. I love Maria’s comment, sort of wraps it all together for today, May’s “Begin”, smiling sky. . .

      Maria’s whisper: “beautiful smiling sky”

      I am sending to all of you my beautiful Arizona sunset tonight,

      beautiful smiling sunset. . .

  10. Oh, I am so late in coming to the flock today, and may I say, you are all wonderful! Cheryl b rest that knee for now, physical therapy awaits you soon enough. When I get into a cleaning frenzy, I bounce from one project to another without finishing just one thing. I have to keep redirecting myself back to the beginning. Today I was filling the dogs water dish and left to do something else and forgot about the water. Caught it just as it was over flowing. I like living on the edge with my housework!

  11. Beautiful photo Mary. I enjoy these peaceful sunsets from my front deck here in MA. Trying to sit back and “breathe” before the craziness of the Christmas season begins.
    Keeping it simple .

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