I’ve been camping with my mom since I was in the womb. It was her first camping experience EVER – pregnant with me sleeping on a hard foam mattress in the desert of Southern California (you can tell where I get my hardiness from).
We’ve been nature lovers since and jump at the chance of watching the birds and sleeping with the stars.
She has a camper van that she uses as much as she can and I love to join her. When we first started taking trips as adults, I can’t say it was pretty – two of us in a small space on the road for up to 10 days at a time, but we’ve come a long way since then.
We now have a great rhythm and I consider it some of the most precious time of life – and really fun!
One thing I use to judge her for (yes, I judged my parents too), was how she held on to EVERYTHING. Her house is filled with things from the last 50 years (she says it’s a product of growing up with parents from the depression).
I tell her it’s a habit she can let go of!
BUT when we were out camping this time, I grew to really appreciate how well she takes care of what she has. I asked her when I pulled out a dish towel from the small cupboard, how long she’s had this dish towel.
She exclaimed, “47 years! All the towels in that cupboard are 47 years old!”
“Oh my gosh – that means you’ve had these since I was born Mom,” I replied in amazement.
They still work just as well now as they did then.
“The pots in this van,” she went on, “dad (my father) bought those for our first trip and I’ve been using them ever since.”
“Wow, those are some great pots!”
Part of the spiritual path is more than meditation or prayer or faith. It’s the daily practice, one of witch is taking care of what takes care of you.
The stuff you have – your shoes, clothes, kitchen ware, car, you get the idea.
My car use to be a mess. I mean A MESS. Now I do my best to keep it clean and a place I enjoy being when I drive around. It helps to keep the clutter of my mind to a minimum too.
Taking care of our things also creates a level of gratitude we might not have.
The shoes that you so carefully picked out, set them on the side of your front door, left shoe next to right shoe, clean off the mud or the dirt, polish as needed, and you’ll have gratitude for those shoes. The way they fit your feet and feel when you walk around. It’s the little things!
Last year when I did a long silent retreat, I allowed myself one “to do” while I was on retreat – darning my socks. They’re infamous for getting holes in the heals and toes, so I sewed them shut. I’ve been so happy since! I put them on and appreciate the effort I made in taking care of my socks.
Pick one thing this week you want to care for – it could be anything in your home or your car.
One thing, nothing more so the mind sees it as realistic in doing instead of the “entire house!”
Thanks Mom for this important lesson. I’m guessing I’ll still be using those dish towels another 27 years from now when we’re bopping around in your camper van!”
Categories: Gratitude, Health & Happiness, Self-Organization