Before the new year starts and this project actually commences, I want to explain my intentions for it.
Gracious living does not require a change of decor or the purchase of a lot of fancy equipment. A person can live graciously in the suburbs or the city or a cabin in the woods.
Gracious living, in my mind, is about living with one’s senses awake. It’s about creating and tasting and touching and hearing and seeing things that are beautiful and worth the time and energy they require. It’s about facing whatever life throws at me with a positive and determined attitude. It’s about being at peace and in a state of grace.
A very wise man named Scott Nearing once wrote that “happiness is not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” I’ve always applied those words to possessions and belongings, being content with what you’ve got. Just recently it’s occurred to me that it can be applied in two other ways:
The first is still possession-oriented. It’s taking time to evaluate the things around me and actually decide if they are things that I want. If I don’t want them, and they are not useful, why are they still cluttering up my life? I own far too much stuff, so much that it owns me. I spent some time last year shedding stuff, but there is still more that could go. Paring my life down to the things that I want will mean that there is someplace for those wanted things to reside, and that I will be able to see them and enjoy them more. So further decluttering is in order, not just as a matter of cleaning but as a matter of appreciating.
The second is internal. ” Wanting what I have” means accepting the things that come into my life and looking upon them with an attitude of grace. Instead of being impatient with work, wanting what I have means being grateful for it. The busyness of a life filled with friends is a blessing, and being present to the moment is the best blessing I can offer them in return for their love. Wanting what I have is recognizing the grace in each moment.
I am not expecting the coming year to turn me into some sort of super woman of perfection. Instead, I am looking for it to be a year in which I feel that my time is well spent and I am proud of my accomplishments. I want my home to be a place of grace and peace, welcoming. I want to feel that I have learned new skills and given of myself.