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Garden Photography: Pepper Lane

Pepper Lane

Pepper Lane: Our Back Yard

I live in my head too much, and often have a tendency to talk and write in a theoretical way about the freedom and responsibility of the secular existentialist.  My wife—so far ahead of me as an evolved human—reminds me of this at times.  She tells me if one accepts that emphasis on the present is a logical conclusion of secular existentialism, then it is worth talking about what that means for a person practically—not simply theoretically.

Engaging the “now” has become somewhat of a cottage industry for self-help writers and readers alike.  Some of the writing might give the impression that being in the now means simply meditating in the present in a condition of bliss.  Yet this is not practical for those who must do, as opposed to just think– as a part of their existence.

Life is not something that we engage in after work is done, after we eat, after we clean the house, or after we weed the garden.  Everything we do every day is life itself…not an appendix, or a preface.  For me–and I understand there are many good choices available—living in the now means being aware of what I am doing, i.e., being present, with what is at times considered the mundane “stuff” of life.

What must I do to live?  I must have the courage to get out of bed each morning, brush, shower, go to work, go home, eat, shop, clean, and a host of other “little” things.  Yet I can be present and find joy even in these things if I choose.

If my wife and son are, as I say, the most important focus of my life, then I can demonstrate that in each moment I am with them by being present and engaged.   I can choose not to maximize my earning potential provided that material needs are being met, so that I can spend more time with them.

I spend about a third of my day at work.  I can make that work meaningful even if I don’t enjoy everything about my job if I am in the present, and seeking to maximize what is meaningful for me in each moment.  For me, that means relationships.  I can choose to be present in each professional relationship, in each interaction I have with colleagues and students.

I spend even more time at home.  I can allow my house and yard to be the expression of the joy and love of my family.  Together, we can allow our house to be a place that is an expression of what life means to us.  My wife is an artist, and her art is everywhere inside and outside the house.

Every day, we eat.  Instead of alienating myself from the source of our food, I can embrace it, along with the joy that preparing it can bring.  We have our “kitchen-window garden,” as seen above, and each plant is raised with love and care.  We have a variety of peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and others.  My wife and I tend them together, sometimes quietly, sometimes with animated conversation.  The ritual of watering is usually done in silence.

My wife is an incredible cook, and in her rests hundreds of years of oral tradition with cooking.  She was born and raised in Mumbai, and although no recipes are written, she has a mental file of thousands of recipes and home remedies.  I had no idea I loved vegetable so much until I tasted her cooking.  It is little wonder that India is so full of vegetarians, and the USA so few.  Knowing how to cook vegetables is key.  I love being the “chef’s helper” during the evening, cutting the vegetables we grew in our very own garden.  Eating together is the final sacred act of loving each other, caring for our bodies, and enjoying the connection with our little garden.

There is so much more.  My life is so full.  If there are things I must do, then I can find joy in them, and thus usher myself unreservedly into the present.

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About gnatseyeview

Love Being, and photographing others Being.

51 responses »

  1. Very positive, very motivating. Treasure it while you have it and you will have it forever.

    Reply
  2. I found this very Buddhist, but without the mysticism; thanks for the momentary oasis of calm.

    Reply
  3. Very peaceful, very ordered, a study in composed (as opposed to composted) thought.

    Every second is precious, living in the now means making the most of each and every one, and taking joy from doing so.

    Namaste ~ Anupadin

    Reply
  4. Your wife is a very wise woman, and your backyard is delightful! : )

    Reply
  5. I truly like the sentence where you say that everything we do is living, no preface. I find myself living inside my head, often imagining what life could be like if…. Your words are very much motivating to enjoy everybit of our day to day activities.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the encouragement. I do the “living in my head” thing far too much. I’m fortunate to have a partner who reminds me to not only observe life, but to participate.

      Reply
  6. I enjoyed reading this…and appreciate the courage it took to share the intimate details of your life and “inner workings”……Thank You!

    Reply
  7. Very nice and thoughtful! Reminds me of John Lennon : “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” from his “Beautiful boy” song.

    Reply
  8. Thanks for stopping by my site to see my photos – and thanks for the reminder about ‘living in the now’
    . I have been troubled for the last few days about ‘getting to a better place’ once I have sorted all the mundane issues surrounding my pending divorce – I cannot fathom how I am going to get from A to Z ?!
    I am going to now try very hard to focus on (and ENJOY ! ) the rest of the alphabet !!!

    Reply
  9. One of the characters in my series is a real truth seeker–a blundering one–and he’s my favorite! Your writing inspires me to make Buck Crenshaw think more. Thanks!

    Reply
  10. thefoodiefarmer

    Thank you for visiting my blog, I’m so glad you did! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and I’m excited to read more!

    Reply
  11. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. It’s importand that we enjoy and appreciate the moments we live.

    Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate the time you took to stop by. May your day be filled with joy and peace.
    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    Reply
  12. Very nice post and picture. In honor of the gnat, I thought you might enjoy this little photo of mine (I don’t really know if it is a gnat but it is really little): http://wp.me/a3bN4o-1bh

    Reply
  13. very beautiful and motivating dear 🙂 thank you so much for sharing it with us
    I have recently realized the joy in food to be honest being 29 that sounds late but this is when I have started finding joy in simple things like food, laugh, a stroll so I think I can relate to what you have written here…its very nice

    Reply
  14. You have a lovely garden. I really want one and hope to grow some veggies when I move soon. We should all grown our own food 🙂

    Reply
  15. I love your comments about finding joy in the things that we must do and showing your love of your home. This was very beautiful.

    Reply
  16. Very much liked what you have said here on today’s posting. So true, so very true. Jack

    Reply
  17. I certainly enjoyed reading this and being reminded of all the choices I get to make in a day. Thanks for your well articulated thoughts.

    Reply
  18. Lovely garden. What a little treasure.

    Reply
  19. theartofdigitalimages

    I am a practionerof Zen Buddhism… Awareness of the present is a fundamental teaching of the Buddha…and is a very difficult path…

    BUT right here and right now is our reality… i

    Reply
  20. You have a wonderful philosophy, and a lovely way of expressing it.

    Reply
  21. A practical way to live. And such a neat and tidy vege patch.

    Reply
  22. Thank you for visiting my site.

    I found your post on ‘being mindful’ and living in the now very inspiring and – hopefully – useful.

    Reply
  23. Very well saId. Dr. Wayne Dyer, one of those self-help gurus you hinted at, couldn’t have said it any better. And thanks for dropping by and liking my latest post on my f-stop fantasy blog. 🙂

    Reply

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