Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I find a certain coziness in a pot of stew, quietly bubbling on the stove. It reminds me of a lifetime ago. Places and spaces of time where I lived in a big professionally decorated house with a husband, a daughter, a maid, and even 'Lilly' who would come weekly to water and trim the dead leaves from a handful of houseplants. Imagine that! I had the best and newest of everything. Drove around in a red sports car, had an outdoor kitchen, a thriving daily television show, radio show, an herb and vegetable garden, an alphabetized spice rack (we won't go into that ) and an active and, what most would call, an enviable entertaining lifestyle. And then once a month I would go to the beach condo to unwind. For the life of me, I can’t tell you what I was unwinding from. Perhaps from a feeling of emptiness that would not go away. Or perhaps I wasn’t unwinding, as much as running away, or maybe running toward something unattainable.

Now I see vividly that coziness and peace cannot be found in a pot of stew, or in holding everything you ever dreamed of in your hands, but rather from a life lived ecstatically. Blissfully, joyfully, and joyously lived, trimming your own dead leaves from houseplants and going to the beach to peace, to listen, and to hear what your soul is trying to tell you.

At one point, I remember all too well internally pleading for my life and wondering if the pain of unknown origin would ever end. I had it all but couldn’t find the puzzle pieces that would take away the brokenness. I kept myself busy, smiled at the right times and people, and then wrapped my heart and soul and tucked them away where they would no longer hurt. It was as if I didn’t really belong anyplace and hoping that surrounding myself with too much noise, too many people, too much stuff would allow me to find whatever it was I was looking for.

Well, we all know the outcome of this. Much like I was, there are people wandering dazed with the same thoughts and disquieting feelings. I know many of them. Running here and there, trips to exotic places, drawers and closets  of jewelry and clothing unworn, and houses full of treasures and toys too many to see or even appreciate, frantically busy every moment of every day and weekend. No time to face their lives head on or to see who they are. No time out for fear they discover their emptiness in the stillness.

This was the first story of my life. Now the second is much more serene, quiet, and real. Sure there are regrets and some parts of this imperfect person that still need work, but for the most part I am enjoying being in harmony with life. With silence, clarity comes and opens you to life. Mahatma Gandhi says it better, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in perfect harmony.” Much like the harmony and solace found in a burbling pot of stew, it takes many ingredients, but the end result is comforting and nourishing to your spirit, your core, your essence.

I felt this harmony at 4:00 am this morning, when the critters woke me to go outside. I stumbled down stairs to let them out and grumble at the clock. But soon with a cup of  coffee in hand went back up to bed and curled up with a book, "The Life of Pi." It was cold and my dogs, Gracie and Wally, snuggled close, breathing quietly and sighing every once in a while. I lay still remembering a quote I had scribbled down, Begin doing what you love now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake.”

This is where the story begins. This is where your story begins.


"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
~ Aristotle~

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