Message from Joanna on May 18th, 2021…Here we are, 10 years after I first posted Keep Your Feet Moving. I am keeping my eyes wide open and my feet moving and the Bull Sh?t Meter on high alert. How about you?
I’d hoped to have two large Spring cleaning tasks accomplished by the new moon on April 3rd. The most pressing of these was to complete our personal income tax prep which is a bit complicated in having several small businesses. Two days in a row the power went out within ten minutes of having started the task. The second time it went out all day until about 10 PM…
David and I have a name for these forces that get in the way when you’re all powered up and full steam ahead–the interrupters.
Well, I don’t roll over and play dead for the interrupters. What did I do? I took on task #2:
- Part A. Cleaning out the filing cabinets.
- Part B. Filing the last quarter of 2010.
- Part C. Removing the 2010 files for storage.
- Part D. Filing the 1st quarter of 2011.
It was 48 degrees without the benefit of heat in my office (no power/no heat). I dug in and went through every folder. It was time. I have cleaned the file cabinets yearly, but hadn’t done a deep clean in a number of years. I had files going back to teaching adult ed in Portsmouth, NH. We had files for Buell’s Granite employees. We haven’t had employees for well over the time the government requires one to keep these records.
I pulled files for a day and a half and spent another day filing. I’d hoped to have a bonfire to burn the laundry basket full of the paperwork of our past life, immediately. The weather either wasn’t cooperative or we were too tired at night to go back out and do it. Finally, this past Sunday morning seemed ideal. It was warm and there was no wind when we started.
David had to rebuild the fire, as it had been set earlier for this job and was damp. David helped my feed the fire by the handful. It took us about an hour. I’d felt the weight of the past in cleaning out the files and it was still very evident while we patiently fed the fire as much as it could eat at a time.
David reached the bottom of the burn basket. I started stripping off my clothing. David asked, “What are you doing, are you going to burn your clothes?” As sick as I was of wearing my shabby winter uniform, that wasn’t it. When he figured it out, he pleaded fearfully, “Don’t do it, please don’t do it!”
I walked to the edge of the quarry, paused for a moment and jumped in. I was so focused on getting out that I honestly can’t tell you that it was cold though I know that it was. I also cannot express adequately how good it felt! I felt so free–clear of those ties to the past that had been purified in the fire.
So, how’s it going with your Spring cleaning tasks?
I can’t encourage you enough to:
- 1. Identify what needs to released, or organized or completed.
- 2. Do it!
- 3. Celebrate!
You never know what jewel will turn up as a result of Spring cleaning. I found a copy of an email from Harriet Winograd from 1998. Hurricane George was bearing down on Florida. Harriet shared the Buddhist story below. Though I’d set it aside on my desk to share in a post, it had ended up in the quarry. I spotted it while on a walk and fished it out. Oh, was I surprised and grateful to turn it over and see it was the one piece I thought I’d saved!
Keep Your Feet Moving
Once every 100 years, a person could reach enlightenment by entering the room of 1000 demons, crossing the length of the large room and opening the door to the outside. It wasn’t however, that simple.
All of the demons that a person experiences were in that room. For example, if someone were afraid of heights, it would seem as though she were crossing the room on a tightrope high above the ground. And there were 1000 of these demons.
The goal was to enter the room, where that doorway would disappear only allowing the door across the room for exiting. There were 2 important things to remember 1. It’s all an illusion and 2. Just keep your feet moving and you will get to the other side. Unfortunately, some people got so paralyzed by the their fears that they could never leave the room.
So it’s a choice. Either wait a number lifetimes before you reach enlightenment or go for it– enter the room and keep those feet moving real fast!
Here in 2021 as it was in 2011, we are being offered a choice. If you haven’t found yourself in this room yet, facing your greatest fears, know that you will, soon enough. Do you really want to have to carry the heaviness of the past or what you’ve left undone across the tightrope with you?
On the other side of that tightrope is where TRUTH lives.