We are in the middle of a drought in California which brings home to us the preciousness of every drop of clean, tasty water. As we pour this luscious liquid into our pot for tea each morning we imagine the flowing streams and rivers of our aquatic system. We feel the sacredness of the water and offer our thanks as it heats, bubbles, and then burbles onto the tea leaves.
The tea is another story. This morning the leaves are from Taiwan. We've met the man who grows this brew, a third generation tea maker. Picking the tender green foliage is not easy—it takes time and skill—and processing tea is an art honed by experience. We feel blessed by the taste that comes through this blend and paints our tongue with delicious simplicity.
Recently we were watching a documentary titled Raw Faith about a Unitarian minister, Marilyn Sewell, who has worked hard for decades as the leader of a church. Her service to the community came at a personal cost, and she didn't have much time for her family or for a partner. Miracle of miracles, she finally meets a man she loves and begins to lead a more balanced life. But then she is concerned. Tearfully, we see Marilyn tell her spiritual councilor that she doesn't always have time for her morning prayers now, preferring to stay in bed snuggling with her beloved. He smiles and tells her this too is a form of prayer: love is love, and loving another person is a sacred act as well.
In the most general sense, sacred is something worthy of awe and respect. This particular brand of awe and respect arises from our perception of its connection with the greater grandeur around us, be it God, earthly sprites, or the yawning wonder of the universe. Humans have worshipped stones, trees, chalices, statues, books, and cows as sacred, so why not clean water, good tea, and loved ones?
Seen this way, we have the potential in any given moment to experience the sacred through the quality of awareness and focus we bring to what we are doing. Summoning this awareness may slow us down as we dart about working and checking off our "to do" list, but it also gives us time to pause and experience the wonder in our lives.
By suggesting this we are not recommending that our lives shift to a solemn crawl. If anything seems sacred it is laughter, smiles, and dancing. In our experience, seeing the sacred in the everyday leads to more smiling inside and out, along with deep sighs of satisfaction, high fives, and cries of delight.
We had a client who in the search for her calling wanted to find ways to be more in touch with spirit. "Where do I go, and what do I do?" The answer that emerged was for her to focus on the here and now and to seek out spirit in everything she did. The issue was not what she did or where she did it, but how she did it. She discovered that she could continue living her life (including the same job), but what shifted was her awareness of the sacred all around her. Through the process she came upon the joy of drinking tea as a way to refine her focus, and she now drinks and shares tea at work as a way to connect with spirit. (We will make tea converts of you all!)
Take a moment right this very second and look around at the miracles happening around you. As we look outside our window we notice the full thrust of spring and the profusion of flowers and aromas. Notice the signs of the sacred that are beaming into your space moment by moment. Butterflies seem to appear whenever we are getting a bit too heavy, lightening our mood with their airy dance.
Everyday sacred is happening right now. Enjoy!
What do you find to be the most sacred part of your day? The first glimpse of the sky in the morning? Hugging a loved one? Preparing food? Spending time with your children? Pay attention to the sacred times, acts, and objects around you. What qualities do they bring into your world?
Is there a way you can enhance your experience of the sacred by giving it more time, more focus, more awareness overall? What supports you in expanding this awareness? Try a week of bringing your awareness to at least one sacred thing a day. What is different?
Wishing you smiles inside and out!
Beth and Eric
This monthly slow essay is from Beth Meredith & Eric Storm of Create The Good Life.
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