One of my favorite ‘folk’ songs is the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts,” written by Joseph Brackett in 1848. It’s about as close to a paean as you can get when your topic is simplicity, and–in many ways–I think it fits the ideals of paganism as much as it does the Shaker faith. We strive to take pleasure in the mundane, simple things. To observe their rotation within the year. The final line, “To turn, turn will be our delight ’til by turning, turning we come ’round right,” is something of Wiccan theology in a single sentence.
Today, Roderick reminds us that it is in experiencing simplicity were a witch “finds power and spiritual unfoldment.” We have our rituals, but we also have daily ‘noticings.’ We take the time to feel the wind in our hair, to take pleasure in a ray of sun on a cloudy day, to experience the darkeness of night. We note what happens in the present, and we appreciate it.
This “noting and celebrating” where we are in life is an important part of our spiritual path, and the focus of today’s exercise:
The purpose of today’s activity is to open your sense of wonder and appreciation about the simple delights of living. Begin this exercise by listing those aspects of your life that deserve or require recognition. If you have nothing that you can list, consider what that might mean. Are you cultivating an authentic, multifaceted life? If you have nothing that you consider worth honoring, consider how you might have arrived at this point in your life, or how this perception might have emerged.
Sometime today, pause to breath deeply and to appreciate a simple quiet moment. Perhaps you can enjoy the sunset, a beautiful cloud formation, or the purr of a cat. Find some aspect of your daily experience that can become a point of celebration. when you build upon such moments, life begins to take on greater meaning–and ultimately, magical power.
My list of things that deserve recognition:
- I am doing this exercise. Seriously, I think it is something that deserves a smattering of applause. It is so easy to put this book on the shelf and carry on with something else: heaven knows I’ve got a lot on my plate.
- I am trying to be better: to be more responsible with my work, to find my place as an adult, to foster a spiritual life, to take care of my body. I am trying.
- I occasionally have small successes.
- I learn from my failures.
- I am a responsible member of my house. I follow through with my chores and jobs and sometimes even do more.
- I’m a kick-ass cook.
- I’m a damn fine knitter.
- I am a domestic goddess–and I like being one.
- I care about the world and I’m trying to do my part to maintain it.
And for my simple moment, I laid in the sun and watched it filter down through the new leaves our our persimmon tree. And, boy, did I ever appreciate the warmth and the return of life to that ol’ tree. It’s one of my favorite things about living at my co-op: the jam I made from some of the persimmons this past autumn was incredible.