22 December – Ghost of Christmas present

Kitchen towels handwoven by Marilyn Webster, whimsyandtea.com, photo credit, Paige Green, paigegreenphotography.com

Exerpt from Thich Nhat Han, Peace is Every Step.

Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane. I must confess it takes me a bit longer to do the dishes, but I live fully in every moment, and I am happy. Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end–that is, not only do we do the dishes in order to have clean dishes, we also do the dishes just to do the dishes, to live fully in each moment while washing them.

What is one thing you can do right now to make this moment more present to you?

How does this writing prompt advent calendar work?
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6 Responses to 22 December – Ghost of Christmas present

  1. Marie says:

    I am listening to the darkness. Have you ever noticed that there is a soft hum even in the most silent night? I am closing my eyes and looking at the light that exists in the darkness.I am engaging with what is here right now. I am noticing a joy that is present wondering why it is so hard to use words to encompass a feeling. Feelings are so much more comprehensive than words. I am listening to the grandfather clock strike three. The sound spreads out and I can feel it reach me. It is calming. It is calming in the darkness. There is peace.

    • Melissa says:

      ‘Feelings are so much more comprehensive than words.’ – I so agree. It is as if language comes last as a measure of understanding. I’ve noticed that hum – I feel like it is the blanket of silence. I love how you describe the movement of the sound from the clock.

  2. Melissa says:

    I decided to play some cello. I decided to play not in preparation for a concert, or to practice for a lesson, or to learn something for an audition. But just to play. And I decided to play Bach’s unaccompanied suite for cello, no. 2, so that what I was playing was as complete as possible – it wasn’t missing a piano part or other accompaniment. I played the prelude slowly and carefully a few times, trying to listen as closely as possible to the notes, getting the intervals as close as I could. This was a piece I first started learning many years ago when I started playing cello again after a long break. I remember it seemed insurmountably difficult then, and the thought of playing the whole suite was outlandishly ambitious. Since then, I have played at the prelude (the first movement) from time to time, gradually learning it better, getting it a bit smoother. Today, instead of stopping, I decided to play the whole suite through – all six movements. Nevermind the mistakes, the tricky shifts, the difficult rhythms. Over the past several years, I have listened to the suites so much, they have sunk into my consiousness. I know what the next sound should be, even if I can’t get there full of tonality and grace. It was wonderful to play it through, forgiving myself for the errors and instead finding myself in the music. At the end, I went back to the beginning, the prelude, and played it once more. I was playing cello to play the cello.

    • Jill says:

      Wonderful! Cello playing makes for some of the best present moments, in my opinion. In music, each moment depends on the previous ones, as ‘meaning’ in music is said to arise from expectations and anticipation. I think this is true, but I also think that when one is playing them, each note can be experienced as beautiful on its own, too. In any case, cheers to your cello playing moments today!

  3. Jill says:

    Right now, to make this moment more present: notice details. Experience them, and contemplate that experience.

    Yesterday at sunset, I walked to the mailbox, about a third of a mile each way. I was savoring the color of the sunset through the intricate lace of bare branches and sparse pines, and that present moment was beautiful. But then a flock of two or three hundred grackles began flying low over the road. I saw the birds as they entered my field of view, but my visual awareness was not fully shifted to them until suddenly the waves of pressure that their beating wings created in the air above, full of interference patterns, reached me. At this marvelous sound, all my awareness shifted to the grackles, and the present moment became their flight overhead.

    • Melissa says:

      Thank you for sharing this moment, Jill. I can almost imagine being on the walk to the mailbox and back with you. You have described my favorite time of day – most mysterious and somehow, although there is not so much light to make things clear and distinct, I seem to notice more at that time of day (not dazzled by detail, I suppose).

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