I’ve spent these past months of the pandemic in my house, where slowly there came into focus so many things that looked like they needed care. So much to be washed, dusted, wound back up, stored, stacked. Then I’m noticing all the torn and broken things that were shifted into drawers, with the intention of attending to them at some later date. And what about the slow leak staining the bathroom ceiling, the cracked window, the door that sticks? The garden overrun with weeds? The house plants are dry, the refrigerator needs restocking, the oven has stopped working. The patio fence took a hit when some branches came down. The car needs cleaning and I can’t get one of the dashboard lights to reset. I got a cheerful cardboard box where I toss my bills. This doesn’t even begin to touch on various commitments. Who is going to wash out the peanut butter jar, vacuum the floors, take out the recycling? Who is showing up at the job 40 hours/week? And this seems not even close to covering all of it.
The first thing I recognize is that I am not alone in this predicament. I’m guessing almost anyone could make a similar list that even is perhaps much, much longer.
The second is that there is no way most of this is getting done anytime soon.
Then the question arises: Who is making this list? To what end?
I have a moment where I recognize there is a person named Jill who is experiencing life. How does that happen? Suddenly “I” is in awareness and see that she gets hungry, she gets tired, she is told things are “overwhelming,” which means she has been taken over by conditioning. Suddenly it feels like the person thought of as “I, Jill” becomes a union of Jill with All That Is, and then that becomes a union of Jill plus the Jill that is in union with All That Is, and so on. The sense of “I” becomes more a sense of “we,” which more and more feels simply like All That Is.
So what does it mean to take care in this? It means even if the dinner is simple and prepared quickly, we can eat each bite slowly because that is better for her digestive system. Someone gifted fresh rosemary that can be added to the meal, which is something Jill loves. The smell of it is divine. We can stop and scratch the neighbor’s cat behind the ears which both parties enjoy immensely. In meditation, we have a moment where we marvel at the ease of the breath and the spaciousness it illuminates. When her heart rate goes up, we can do breathing exercises to massage the nervous system. We do the back stretches which give her the strength and mobility to recaulk the kitchen sink, which we did for the first time today. We watched videos to learn how to do it and took our time. It had been on the list for a long time. And it brought so much joy to do it, and now to see it done, a result of this union of care of the body, care of sink, care of bringing attention, care of Jill, care of the house… ad infinitum. The union of all things, being in the process of caring.