During a recent meditation, I received the message: “Buy a push broom.” What in the world? First thing that came to mind was a childhood memory of going to a neighbour’s business establishment and asking for a job. He was a barber. I must have been about 11 years old and full of excitement at the prospect of my first job. I had big dreams! I wanted a new transistor radio! A new red bike! I wanted to travel! I wanted to motor to the edge of the enchanted forest that lay on the outskirts of the small town I grew up in and spend dreamy days by the river watching the logs make their way slowly down the pike.
The second memory that came to mind was probably stirred by the first, crumbs of song lyrics filtering through the vestiges of my past. “Two hours of pushing broom, buys an 8 X 12 four-bit room, I’m a man of means, by no-means, King of the Road!” I remember this happy-go-lucky view of the world, made popular by Roger Miller. I think it was the first glimpse into my bohemian ways. “I’ll ask Mr. Carmichael for a job pushing broom in his shop!” I exclaimed one day to myself, delighted at the thought of my new perspective and worldly views.
I’ll be moving soon. Up to a house on a hill overlooking the view of the mountains to the North, and the breathless beauty of the infinity of sunsets to the West. On the property there is an old garage, with an adjacent wood floor and a-yet-unreachable loft. The roof needs mending. There is an electrical extension but the power is not intact. My heart is full of dreams of workshops, spiritual and community gatherings, recording possibilities, and retreats. My mind is on fire with ideas of the opportunities that this space might provide. How can I make this happen? Where to begin? Looking for a miracle! So, I decided to take it into prayer.
Lo and behold: the answer! “Buy a push broom.” This reminds me of the ancient Zen saying ‘”Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.”
There is beauty in working one’s life through prayer. It feels connected, grounded and sacred. And work it is. It is full of texture and imagination. It broadens the horizons and the heart for all kinds of encounters with the miraculous. It is a lush life filled with small victories and puts a perspective on the significance of what we often take for granted and insignificant. And it revels in freedom.
I never did get the job pushing broom at the barbershop. However, I took heart and listened to the prescribed antidote when having asked where to begin. I bought a push broom, and a bright new pair of lime working gloves as an added bonus. Let the games begin!
Please join us at The Songroom for the upcoming Solstice Drum and Sunset Ceremony. Peace for the journey.