This morning during my devotional time I came across the phrase "intentional discovery." What promising words, I thought, as I sat at my Lady's Writing Desk with January sunbeams beginning to find direction through my early morning window. I had gone to Curves for my work-out already, so I knew how cold it was. 3 above zero. I was so happy to be "in" for the day, a day that would be a playground for intentional discovery.
Eventually, I moved to my office desk to play for the day. I felt open to discovery with my only intention being to cruise the surface of my 9 foot harvest table desk and to wander the bookshelves lining the walls and to roam through emails and other laptop enticements. I turned on the electric heater needed on these particularly cold days, wrapped myself in the shawl made by a dear friend, lit a candle, and connected to Pandora for background music. Indigo Girls to begin. And I paused to breathe a whisper of gratitude for the luxurious life I live.
I wrote my letter of the day to the artist whose painting hangs above our living room mantel. I responded to a number of emails. A large number. I read the blog of a friend who is living in China. I printed a registration form for a centering prayer course and sat quietly till I heard "yes." I put books back on the shelf that I had referred to in the last couple days: This Year I Will by M. J. Ryan, Passages in Caregiving by Gail Sheehy, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo and my thesaurus. I made a couple notes about future blog posts. I filed, sorted, tossed. The day was moving forward smoothly. This play day.
And then... I received an email from the director of a program where I hope to be a spiritual care volunteer. It had been awhile since I had sent her an email about times we could meet. Well, as often is the case there was a good reason. Her mother-in-law had just died days ago. Could I give her some time to regroup? I inhaled sharply as I read her words. I wonder when she last had a play day. When had her day last moved forward smoothly? And what intentional discoveries was she making in the process? I wrote her a note hoping I could offer a fragment of healing.
And then... my husband called, worried about the impending snowstorm and our drive to St Paul tomorrow. Perhaps we should leave today. He would assess the situation at work and let me know. I'm sure he felt the long pause on my end of the phone before I concurred with him. Darn, I thought, here goes my quiet day. That was my first thought and the second and third and fourth stumbled quickly over each other. What do I need to do before we leave? What do I need to take? What won't get done? What was I planning to do tomorrow morning and what can wait and what can't?
My fifth thought was to breathe and to fix a cup of hot chocolate. When we were in Paris this fall I enjoyed many cups of chocolat au chaud, hot chocolate. I am not a coffee drinker, but I am quite the connoisseur of hot chocolate, and I savored each Parisian cupful. While stirring the rich chocolate into the steaming milk, I became a resident of Paris. I slowed down. I noticed those sitting around me in deep conversation. I appreciated the beautiful young women passing by, walking easily whether they were wearing ballet flats or the highest of stilettos. I wrapped myself in my shawl and noticed the Paris light. I allowed the next thing to happen and knew I would be ready when it did.
I headed to the kitchen and heated the milk on the stove and stirred in the chocolate I brought back from Paris, and I poured into a mug with the Eiffel Tower sketched on the outside. I sat in the sunshine, and I intentionally slowed down and discovered that answers came easily as I sipped and savored. I will be ready if Bruce decides to leave early. I will return to my desk and do what the next thing is. All will be well. Intentional discovery.