Inspiration

Need To Make a Decision? Sort Marbles.

Some days, sorting marbles sheds light on essential questions.

Smooth handfuls of glass slipped firmly against each other in my hands. Water streamed from the kitchen faucet. I washed and rinsed my favorite colors in a stainless steel strainer, playing with texture and light. The marbles had been supporting stalks of lucky bamboo in clear glass vases.  Except the lucky bamboo suddenly turned yellow, rotted, and died. Some luck! Wonder what the message is there. The florist at Safeway said, “simply a bad batch.”

Sorting marbles on a Saturday afternoon was a mundane activity for my cranky mood. I got to thinking–first, it feels good to accomplish something, even as simple as Ziploc baggies of matched marbles. [Can you hear me laugh at myself? This sounds slightly absurd–even to me!]

However, in this uncomplicated action, I realize I was also sorting bigger questions: What work calls me? Where is my best yes? My no? Where do I sparkle, come most fully alive?

I think about words Charles Halpern wrote in Making Waves and Riding the Currents:

I thought about the transparent river, flowing under the crystalline ice, which had given me so clear a view of the life of the river–the weeds bobbing in the currents, the fish swimming indolently upstream, the air bubbles sliding downstream, pressed against the ice. All of this was invisible when the surface of the water was ruffled by gusts of wind. I wanted to cultivate that clarity of vision, and to bring that sense of wonder to my work and to my life. I wanted to be able to touch back continually into such deep engagement with things as they are, and build my understanding and actions on that foundation, without distortion or distracting abstractions.”

The silent, simple act of sorting marbles helps me sort life questions, see beneath the surface, and clear my distortions and distractions.


I’m curious, what activity provides you an opportunity for introspection and reflection? How do you make time to slow down and see beneath the surface of things?

I welcome your reply–please write in the box below.

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