Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The trick is to want to be where you are.

Occasionally I change the image on my desktop.

Sometimes it's an image of the ocean. Sometimes it's a forest, deep and mysterious. Sometimes it's a narrow cobblestone street, leading to an intriguing new place.

Sometimes it's this, a place I've actually been.

Heron Island, Australia

Sometimes I'm sitting at my eBay desk, frantically packaging orders, and I look across and I see this image, and I remember that vacation, and how wonderful it was to sit on the beach with dear friends and look up at the southern stars and marvel at a fresh and beautiful world.

Packaging can be fun, but it's not the same as sitting on the warm white sand of a gorgeous beach, watching the waves roll in.

Heron Island, Australia

It also isn't the same as canoeing down a river, singing and pointing out frogs and water lilies to each other, and marveling over the rich green color of the reeds.

Huron River, MI

Hawaii. Need I say more?

Maui, HI

But there I am, at the eBay desk, sticking labels on packages, looking at handwritten numbers on bags, trying to keep track of who bought what and which address goes where.

The trick, though, is to want to be there, at that eBay desk, sticking things on boxes. Because the little stuff is more than important. It's the fabric of our everyday lives, it's the cloth we fashion ourselves from. The trip to Australia is just the trim.

Even though the label isn't that important in the grand scheme of things, they do stack up. Every package I process, every trip I make to the post office, every pair of earrings I fashion...these things become a part of me, even though it's for such a short time. They become the weft and weave of my existence. They are the particular moment I am living, the tiny dot in time that is now. Behind me is the vast architecture of the past; ahead of me is the vast ocean of the future. The moment I am in is perfectly balanced between the two.

Even though we often feel most alive when we are on a trip somewhere in an exotic location, smelling the exotic scent of new flowers, our lives are made up of mundane moments; a haircut, filling out a form, checking email. Even though these things often seem like drudgery, they are still part of our experience as human beings.

Taking the time to appreciate the small marvels of our everyday lives is worth it. Even if it's just sticking a label on a package.

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