Wrapping up the holiday week yesterday and enjoying lunch with several beloved family members, including my son and his girlfriend, all of a sudden I experienced one of those razor-sharp-clear-and-extreme-close-up moments that seared itself into my mind’s eye: my son’s girlfriend’s wallet.

Sounds like this is going to be about money? Great holiday topic! No. No? Then why the wallet?

Well, it wasn’t so much the wallet itself, although, pink and perfect, it was indeed a vision of Cuteness itself. Primarily, however, it was that the wallet was completely clean and well organized, and that when Marissa opened it to remove cash, it appeared to me that she did so with such care and presence, that it stopped me in my tracks. Marissa is a beautiful girl with beautiful hands and beautiful manners, and suddenly I saw the beauty in this scene: the Zen in the wallet—the raising to the level of Art the actions and details we might typically view as absolutely unimportant.

The most valuable, fundamental ability for each and every human being is to the experience the bliss and joy of the present moment.

—-Dave Oshana

This Buddhist concept, “experiencing the bliss and joy of the present moment,” underpins my approach to life, which often, I might add, completely eludes me. Though in many instances I’m fully able to merge with the Everything and dive into the joy, sometimes (like I can do with almost anything), I’m über intense about presence and rather than experiencing “joy and bliss,” I experience  a heavy, rigid nagging: “Pay attention! Pay attention! Pay attention!” Exhausting.

But in this wallet-moment, I suddenly saw the fun in engaging with the unimportant actions and details of the Now! How fun to attend to my nails, to organize my wallet, to carefully place the bills into it, and to mindfully remove them. This idea spread like wildfire: how fun to carefully arrange my desk, my writing utensils, my medicine chest, my kitchen. How fun to use every item with presence and reverence. How FUN!

So today, I’m organizing, I’m simplifying, and I’m accomplishing these tasks with presence, with the ideal of reverence in each action, of care, of attention. And it’s FUN. There are many ways to enter into the present moment, and at this moment, I’m enjoying this one. In the Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle relays a story tracing the origin of Zen back to a single flower. For me, yesterday, the fun and joy of presence—in particular, the Zen of the Unimportant—originated with one perfect, pink wallet. And why, I ask you, not? LiveLove&BU

Photo: Marc Jacobs Wallet