Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Consider the Empty Bowl

There is a story Sue Bender relates in her book “Everyday Sacred” of a monk who, each morning, takes his empty begging bowl in his hands and stands in the flow of crowds in the city. Whatever is put in the bowl that day—money, rice a bit of fruit—he uses for his nourishment. Each morning he begins again with an empty bowl, and each day he finds that he receives enough to live.

Each morning we are blessed with a new day. A new beginning. Whatever we did the day before, whatever decisions we made, are done. Finished. Can not be taken back.

But the new day provides the opportunity to do something new. To change the direction that we might have chosen yesterday. To begin again.

Move on. Move forward. Look back only to seek clues for how to move forward today.

Nothing is set in stone.

For each morning, you have an empty bowl.

For your mini-vacation, find a bowl in your house—any bowl. Something that reflects you. If you love to bake, perhaps a mixing bowl; if you cherish fine china, a piece from your favorite pattern; a cereal bowl that you use for breakfast. Place the bowl where you can see it and remind yourself that yesterday is past. You have an empty bowl into which to gather new gifts, new decisions, new challenges, new woes, new joys.

Maybe things are not going very well today. Mini-vacation!

Consider your empty bowl.

Remind yourself to do something different, to look at the problem from a new perspective, to seek out new advice.

Are you berating yourself for past decisions? Do you miss the present because you’re focused on the past? Can you not look at today with fresh eyes because of the past? Do you sit in judgment on yourself? Mini-vacation!

Consider your empty bowl.

Life gives you endless chances to make a new decision, change directions, take a breath. Life gives you an empty bowl.

Blessings on your caregiving day!

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