Sunday, January 05, 2014
ML's Thinking Ahead to 2014--I'm Not Calling These Resolutions, Either
Franki's thinking ahead post threatens to makes me feel like an underachiever, but I refuse to go down that road. Sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow, and sometimes we cheer from the sidelines. It's all good.
When I look forward to 2014, I don't see so many obvious signposts. I see (or want to see) fairly calm water and steady paddling. I see more poems written, more exploration with art, a greater focus on the books I want to read rather than keeping up with the books "everyone" seem to be reading. There is no particular map, because I want to be more open to the moment at hand.
Which brings me to my One Little Word. My very first OLW. A word that seems selfish compared to the active words others have chosen, like MAKE and WONDER and CHOICE.
My One Little Word is BREATHE.
I met my OLW on New Year's Eve.
We were due to leave for our traditional New Year's Eve dinner in an hour and a half. True to my "cram-it-in-get-it-done" mentality, I decided that I had time to make the cheesecake for New Year's Day dinner before we left.
And I would have, if it hadn't been for the smoke. My cheesecakes always leak a little between the bottom and edges of the springform as they bake. There's always a little smoke as this "juice" burns off the foil on the bottom of the oven. This year, for whatever reason, there was a LOT of smoke. The smoke alarm went off. The cat ran panicked to the basement to hide and cover his ears. We opened all of the windows and brought fans up from the basement. AJ grabbed the ladder and yanked the wires out to turn the smoke alarm off. I pulled the foil out of the oven (spilling much of the "juice" on the oven floor) and put fresh foil in.
Moments later, there was even MORE smoke, boiling thick and black out of the oven vent. Apparently, it was not a good idea to leave all of that "juice" under the new foil.
This time, I turned the oven off and scrubbed as much of the charred blackness off the oven floor as I could, being careful not to burn the rag or my hands. Then I turned the oven back on, put the cheesecake back in, and texted our friends to tell them we'd be late.
All the while, I was beating myself up. Why had I thought it would work to get the cheesecake made on such a tight schedule? The house smelled HORRIBLE and it was all my fault. WE would smell like smoke. I terrorized the cat. I spoiled the group's New Year's Eve dinner plans because we'd be late. It was all my fault. I was a failure.
AJ talked me down. Advised me (not for the first time) to just BREATHE. It was done. I couldn't go back and change it. It would all work out. It wasn't that bad. It was kind of funny, actually, if I would just let myself laugh. Even the advice to BREATHE was funny, because all we could smell was cheesecake smoke.
But the cheesecake smoke made me realize that I needed the word BREATHE in my life for an entire year. I need a year of slowing down and focusing on the moment at hand, not getting myself all worked up about what's ahead, or all wrought up about how the things behind me played out.
I need to be right here, right now.
BREATHE will help me to stay in the moment, take joy in the now.
BREATHE will help me to celebrate being alive.
BREATHE will help me focus in a sensory way on this amazing world
in which we live.
BREATHE will help me listen more and talk less.
BREATHE will remind me of cheesecake smoke and make me laugh,
all year long.