Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Friday, April 16, 2010

To Do, Endlessly

I've been feeling like Sisyphus lately.  You know, in Greek mythology, the
king punished . . .  by being cursed to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity
My to do lists are repetitive, my days too often like Bill Murray's in "Groundhog Day."  And now that I'm getting more done, I'm more keenly aware that nothing really stays done.    

Of course, Sisyphus was working harder than I am, generally.  A truly Sisyphean task is "endlessly laborious or futile."  

My activities probably more closely resemble Tibetan sand painting, or Zen sand gardening.  In these practices, great care is taken to achieve an aesthetic effect.  The endeavor concludes with a "dispersion ritual," in which the product is destroyed and its energy released.  The point of the exercise is sacred effort and recognition of impermanence.  

The only parts I have trouble with are the sacred aspect, and that impermanence thing.  Oh, and accepting the spread of tiny particles of sand throughout my house.  Really, since one of my daily rounds lately involves visiting a series of sandboxes with my two-year-old charge.  He, actually, totally gets both the sacred and the impermanent nature of sand play.  His small face transforms with joy and reverence as he constructs his castles and bakes his "cakes."  He is equally delighted to stomp on the results.

What I take from this reflection today is that my focus needs to be on doing, and even getting done, but not on being done.  Which I will be, when I'm dead.  I need to join the ritual of everyday, and accept the routine and the repetitive along with the occasional punctuations of the unexpected.  I need to lean into the rhythms of my days.  And to pay attention to each moment, which is never precisely the same as the one before it.  

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