Catching the Run-off

It was a while ago that a friend and I discussed an email going around called 40 Tips for a Better Life.  It’s a hodge-podge list of small obtainable goals that, although they promise to enrich our lives, are easy to shrug off.  One of them says “Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.”  Another encourages “Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.”


This same friend introduced me to Washington DC’s River Safe Homes program.  (Yes, I know this seems like a non sequitor, but hang with me. You want to see where this is going.)  See, DC knows that there’s a problem with storm water, which is really just rainwater that cannot remain where it falls – the ground is too hard, too paved, not enough vegetation, etc. Instead of being absorbed, it flows as a torrent into the local rivers, carrying with it all the nasties it collects along the way.  To reduce this river pollution, DC encourages citizens to install rain barrels, plan shade trees, create a rain garden, introduce bayscaping, or replace large paved spaces with pervious pavers (oh, sweet alliteration). Then the rainwater can do what it’s supposed to – enrich the ground where it falls.

Rain Barrel Spout

Soon after my own rainwater audit, I experienced an unguarded moment of silence and soon began to wonder. Couldn’t we create our own personal rain gardens? Install our own metaphorical rain barrels where we can capture the nourishing richness of the present moment?

I think about the torrent of information coming at my through my various iGadgets. I think about how I’m busy running, running, running, keeping my mind active, keeping my body active. There’s also the torrent of life lessons that are coming at me since I started paying attention. Really, they happen all the time, but the busyness creates a run-off of life experiences that flow past me without being absorbed or appreciated. When I do make the time to do these prescribed practices, I’m able to make connections that I didn’t see before. And I write them into this blog – my own personal rain garden.

That’s what the 40 tips are trying to tell us. Create your own rain barrel. Sit in silence for 10 minutes a day. Practice meditation, yoga, tai chi or prayer. Give yourself a chance to honor the present moment, set your intentions, make connections, and otherwise create a pervious, porous life that is constantly nourished and abundant.

For more practical tips, check out My Rain Barrel page with links to tools I use to build my metaphorical rain barrel. I’d love to hear about yours!


There are different wells within your heart.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far too deep for that.

In one well
You have just a few precious cups of water,
That “love” is literally something of yourself,
It can grow as slow as a diamond
If it is lost.

Your love
Should never be offered to the mouth of a
Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.

There are different wells within us.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far, far too deep
For that.

– Hafiz

Ladinsky, D. (1999).  The gift: Poems by the great sufi master.  New York: Penguin.

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