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The Importance of a Life Well-Tended

This is a season of tending. At this time of year we tend all the tools in my community. We get out each one, clean it, scrub the rust off, sharpen it, oil it, and lay it out to be thanked and blessed with all the other community tools. It's a process that reminds me of the importance of tending in life. Tending is a life practice- tending to our physical space, our tools, our belongings, tending to our relationships, our connection with other humans and with other beings, tending to our connection with the world around us, tending to our work in life, sharpening our skills and knowledge- all tending can be a spiritual practice. The daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance of our lives is so important.

Modern life makes tending difficult. Most products are not made to be tended. Our disposable culture designs things to be used until they break and throw them “away” to get a new one. The practice of tending, of maintenance, brings in a new respect for the objects that help us to live. These “objects” have been taken out of the earth without their consent and used and abused until we’re done with them. It brings my life new meaning to remember that these tools, whatever they may be, are the reason I survive. Without them, humans would not live as comfortably as we do, and maybe not be living at all.

We are connected with the world around us. Holding respect and remembering the mutual indebtedness of all of life enlivens the world. In the current world we live in, tending often doesn’t seem important or worthwhile. I know I often feel the need to always be producing something, to always be “getting something done”. Tending can sometimes feel like time wasted. It’s important to remember the relationship we have with the world around us, and that tending can be the core of a life well lived.

As we prepare for the activity of spring and summer, take stock of what you want to tend- now and throughout the year to come. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Do your knives need sharpening?

  • Do your relationships need tending?

  • Does your altar need to be cleaned?

  • Is there a tool in your life that could be fixed instead of just getting a new one?

Dedicate yourself to continued maintenance in your life, to continue enlivening your life through tending. 

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