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Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Smoked pork chops
I am writing this on my sabbatical. It has been a few days since I made the decision to disconnect from this love of mine. It was not an impulsive decision. It had been coming. I have much more to learn, and much more to experience before I continue to share with you. I miss it terribly. In the meantime I am I am listening, learning, experiencing.
I have had quite a few rough days. Arguments, complications, deadlines, nearly-missed deadlines, ants in my bedroom and more have tested my patience and my stamina. I am working on a benefit gala, a cocktail for foreign dignitaries and local VIP's, a literary festival–in two cities, building an endowment fund, writing a finance book, revising a poetry book, raising a soon-to-be-teenager…and the list goes on. Today was a particularly rough day. I had a pretty tight schedule to keep. At 7:15 in the morning, as I was driving to my second stop of the day, another vehicle struck mine. BAM! Right rear-end smashed in. I didn't react. I just eased to the shoulder and began the after-accident rundown. I don't need to bore you with the details. When an accident happens this early in the morning, it pretty much consumes the day. The vehicle that struck mine turns out to be a motor coach bus. Yep. A big, long, tall, scary bus with an equally big, long, tall and scary accident claim process. It is part of a fleet. The owner of the bus, who wasn't the driver, told me that he would call me back with the details. This was at 8:21 in the morning. At 10:30 he stopped answering his phone. At 3:30 I was ready to be bound. I was overwhelmed.
My anxiety level was high…I mean really high. When my heart started pounding, I realized I couldn't function that way. Thinking, planning, organizing was not going to do it. I wasn't accomplishing much. My phone was ringing continuously…continuously! Email kept coming in. My to-do list kept growing. And all I wanted to do was scream, fix my car, get funding squared away for the festival and get the print shop to deliver our latest published anthology out by the 5:30 p.m. deadline. So I stopped and got pork chops out of the freezer. That fixed it.
I trimmed the smoked pork chops and cut them into squares, slowly. I browned and seasoned them in an old family cauldron. I added corn, water, rice, tomato paste, olives, capers, and red bell peppers then stewed it all for an unhurried while. The smell called my son into the kitchen. We danced silently. On with the ritual. I prepared cut, french green beans in balsamic vinegar and a sizzle of olive oil. I became fully immersed in the moment. I was wholly in my meditative state when the phone startled me. It was the call I had been waiting for.
I tended to the call calmly. My anxiety was under control. Stepping away from my worry about the car, circumstances I could not control, fear that things would go wrong, a critical attitude and my pitiful self-indulging in what was going wrong according to me helped me relax. I became grateful for the help I got along the way, that no one was injured in the accident, that I have a very supportive family, that my inamorato dropped everything to pick my son up from school, drop him off at home all the while supporting me physically and emotionally, that I work with a very competent group of people, that my car will be fixed, that I did do everything that I needed to do today and that nothing is more important than my peace of mind. Making anything else more important makes me generate negative energy, act selfishly and consume my thoughts with what is wrong. Finding my peace, becoming it, allows me creativity, problem solving, positive action and to be a conduit of these for others. My peace of mind lies in my love of Self and others. I find it in quiet moments, in still action and smoked pork chops.