older lady sweeping outside

Swept Away

Yesterday was a hot one. I had the day mapped out… get the barn chores done while it was still cool in the morning, go to the nursery to buy the last of my annuals, pot them and do some weeding in the vegetable garden, all before a 2PM client call. It felt doable and enjoyable. I love this time of year!

Here’s how it actually unfolded: Two unexpected work calls, a flat tire on the farm vehicle, and an unexpected visitor. Ok, I got this. I can go with the flow. I finally ran to the nursery where I often wander aimlessly for quite some time. I was a bit perplexed. Why am I not enjoying what I love to do most? Since when do I struggle to make aesthetic choices? Why am I getting impatient with this lovely sales woman? I started to feel that churning in my stomach, so I bought a few things and headed back home.

Clearly, this day had a mind of its’ own. Without an urgent deadline, it can all wait – until later in the day, tomorrow or maybe next week. I know this about myself; when I’m anxious and operating from that “get ’er done” perspective, I lose myself. My creativity switches off, I get stuck in my head and completely lose site of the intended meaning of an activity.

In the early evening I went back out to the porch to sweep the dirt I had left after planting. All was quiet and still except for the birds. A soft breeze blew across my face. Sweep, sweep, sweep. Every crevice between the wooden floorboards appeared needy of attention. Sweep, sweep. The corner cobwebs formed during the winter had collected all sorts of insects and dust. Sweep, sweep. Under the cushions of the porch furniture I found coins and an old receipt. Sweep, sweep, sweep. 45 minutes later I looked up to see the sunset through the trees. The dogs were sleeping in the warm grass and my porch was immaculate. There wasn’t another place in the world I wanted to be. This is what mindfulness feels like, and sometimes it happens at the darndest moments.   I felt refreshed and complete.

The day had turned out exactly as is should.

I struggled here to keep from writing more about mindfulness techniques, quoting authors and the philosophy behind it.  I wanted to share the feeling with you rather than the intellect.  If you are new to Mindfulness, you may enjoy guided meditations by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Christopher Germer or Kristin Neff.  All can be found on the Internet.

Do you remember an activity or moment when you’ve surprisingly found yourself swept-away? Do you have a daily practice that brings you moments of clarity? A special place or activity?

Wishing you many more of those,



  1. Beautifully written, Joan. Thanks for the reminder that the bit of time and attention it takes to find that sense of peace can have lasting impact.

    1. Author

      Yes, and sometimes it takes all day to find it!

  2. “…when I’m anxious and operating from that “get ’er done” perspective, I lose myself. My creativity switches off, I get stuck in my head and completely lose site of the intended meaning of an activity.” This will last me a year!! Thanks Joan!

  3. relate from the first sentence.. YES it’s exactly when i dont have a mission that i find the most peace and centering .. like this morning… i set to sit on the front porch with the computer and breakfast. bringing everything out. and then hearing a child making too much whiny noise i grabbed it all and went out back to my chair facing the woods. all done so simply.. no choreography…… the birds are singing up a storm.. i lay my tea cup on the grass.the wind is blowing so gently across my body. the air smells clean.. i am happy as a clam… birds. a wood pecker… flowers .. there is nothing more i could want.. .i am happy. still. mindful. grateful.. and ever so lucky to have a yard that i do that permits this..a meditative wildness .. enclosed.. like being in heaven….. YES sometimes just the simple things are all we need

    1. Author

      Nina, thank you for the description of your own version of mindfulness.

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