Do you keep a to-do list?
I do. On my list today:
Call to change tickets for a play.
We have tickets to a play, but the performance is scheduled for Halloween. We have close to 800 trick-or-treaters come to our door that night. Our neighborhood Halloween has turned into a huge block party with families walking up and down the street, the police supervising, and lines of merrily costumed kids forming at our door. We don't want to miss that night.
So on my list today is to call the theater to change our reservation.
This is what's also on my list today:
Call to get some fencing put in,
call to find someone to refinish our front doors,
fix the fountain,
count the number of my dad's drawings that I have,
finish the family photo albums from the 1970s and 80s, (yes, I'm a little behind)
call my sister,
email people who emailed me several days ago,
talk to friends,
call the plumber,
get a copy of our property tax bill,
clean out storage locker, (where am I going to put that stuff)
fix sprinklers on the hill,
draw layout of plants to replace part of the front lawn.
A big, unrealistic list to finish all in one day. Some of the items have been on my list for several years while I wait for the right moment.
But thinking one thing at a time, right. So before I start on my list, I go upstairs to brush my teeth. As I walk by the railing, I see the stack of books waiting to go upstairs and think:
"Oh, those look interesting," as I rifle through a few pages, teeth forgotten. Oh, back upstairs, without the books, I clean up a cat hairball - yuck - hang up a sweater, fix my hair, brush teeth, do not go into the other upstair bedroom to start sorting out objects to give away, oh, I did, but only to pick up a photo box to put stuff in to take to Sunday's printmaking class. Downstairs, those books again, walk back to workroom, ignore computer and the emails waiting, pause at work table, thinking how long it's been since I was able to paint (last week), and the state of the table as more and more things are layered on top of one another.
Waiting for the right moment when I can do one thing at a time.
Buddhist call this monkey or beginner mind when your mind flits from one thing to another and you don't know how to pull your thoughts back, let them go, and concentrate on just one task at hand. So I close my eyes and take a deep breath, watch my neighbor, who used to walk vigorously up and down the street, as he now slowly walks by with the help of a cane. I calm myself down watching him so that I can begin, so that I can realize that my list will get done, one thing at a time.
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Here are this week's One Ink Drawing a Day for Inktober: