“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the last post, we talked about the beauty of an uncluttered mind. And from an uncluttered mind flows the most pleasurable action.
We know when we are doing the right thing. We don’t obsess, doubt, worry, or regret. Actions emanate from a clear mind and finish without adding to our inner turmoil. They are clean. They leave no residue. They are unambiguous, joyful, and efficient.
And then there are those actions that stick to us like glue. We have a sinking feeling before we do them, and their shadow stays with us no matter what we do. Like these, for example:
- Lying; not telling the whole truth
- Addictive or compulsive behaviors
Behaviors such as these are confusing from the get-go. They come from fear, desire, and pressure. We strategize to avoid discomfort, to make ourselves look good, to get what we think we need, to do what we think we should.
They feed inner agitation. They leave us in an endless loop of trying to figure things out and clean up after ourselves. If we tell the truth, we know this is not a satisfying way to be.
Clean actions arise from clarity and inner knowing. We respond appropriately to what is in front of us. We take in the details of the circumstances we find ourselves in, digest them through the heart, then trust what happens next.
This is how we stay close to the bone. We tune in to what is utterly true for us and have the courage to let it be our guide. We give ourselves permission to:
- Say no or say yes,
- Express love rather than resentment,
- Remember to give thanks,
- Do what we enjoy,
- Follow our deepest yearnings.
We unlock the shackles that keep us tied up in stressful endeavors, and we let ourselves live freely. We make the space to be efficient and creative.
Clean action happens in the moment as we surrender our personal dramas and allow the truth that appears. We can ask: What is right in this moment? And listen for the answer.
Earlier this week, I had planned to go to a yoga class. When the time came to walk out the door, I knew that I was pushing through the truth to follow my plan. I stopped at this decision point allowing the dilemma, then chose to stay home.
A mundane example, you might be thinking. On the surface, it is. But the truth appears only in the moment, and the choice we make is only the one in front of us. Even in the bigger decisions in life – to leave a job, to get married or have children – we know when we know.
Sometimes the clean action is no action. Rather than propelling ourselves forward or playing out our habits once again, if we really listen, we see that we are being asked to be still and keep quiet. There is so much wisdom in silence. And if it makes us uncomfortable, the discomfort is a gift that needs our loving attention.
Staying close to the bone means being conscious and aware. We are open, receptive, and allowing. We get out of the way and let each action be lived fully. With no trace and no residue, we are available to the next moment – clear, clean, alive.
Do you live close to the bone? What actions leave a residue that you want to pay more attention to? I’d love to hear…