Almost every morning this week, I woke up, read the blessing either out loud or quietly to myself, and then meditated. Aaaah....
Starting my morning by acknowledging and blessing the new day was so simple and so beautiful. It got me thinking about this past year and how this blog - these blessings - have been such a huge part of my weekly experiences. In some ways, I think I really embraced O'Donahue's words, allowing them to weave into my day-to-day life in a game-changing kind of way. And then there were other times when the blessing didn't strike any chord whatsoever, and I all but forgot about it until 7pm on Sunday when it came time to post something. But whether I thought about the blessing during the week or not, for the past year, (with rather impressive consistency, if I do say so myself) I stayed true to my weekly ritual of creation... My art projects became a little blessing, honoring the previous 7 days of my life.
Everybody, whether they're aware of it or not, has little personal rituals in their daily life... little blessings to mark a moment. My brother sometimes sings a really silly chicken-related song while he brushes his teeth... it might not look like a blessing from the outside, but I imagine this little ritual of his brings a toothpastey smile to his face every morning, so to me its a blessing!
An ex-boyfriend of mine used to make his coffee every morning with a beautifully precise ritual; the perfect consistency of the grind achieved with a couple of well placed shakes of the old grinder, the exact amount of water, the sound of a motorcycle on his phone timer, marking that joyous moment when the coffee was ready to be pressed, and poured into the Larry's Beans mug. Though his ritual was performed almost as a mindless habit sometimes, the look on his face when he took that first sip was always one of such pure appreciation and simple pleasure... a blessing!
Every night before bed, after they've read a book and sung a song, my niece asks her parents one question. I'm pretty this ritual was born out of the days when my niece wasn't the easiest little lady to get into bed - she would just continue to ask questions in a futile attempt to avoid the moment when the light went of the door closed... a kind of "if I don't stop talking, you can't leave, which means bedtime will never happen" maneuver! Anyways... eventually, my sister and brother-in-law had enough and decided to put an official limit on the number of questions she was allowed to ask... One. Just one question. Over time, this ritual has evolved from the never-ending question machine, to something profoundly beautiful. In December, while babysitting, I got to witness this beauty first hand. As I was turning off her bedroom light and walking out the door, she reminded me that she had not yet asked her question...
Anna: "Auntie Mally, I have to ask you my question!"
Me: "Oh! I forgot! Ask away..."
Anna: *big pause* "Do you ever have trouble falling asleep?"
Me: "Yes, sometimes I do. ... Do you?"
Anna: "Yes. Sometimes. ... Auntie Mally, can I ask one more question?"
Me: "Yes, you may." (I'm the cool Auntie - its my job to spoil her a little bit!)
Anna: "What are you going to dream about tonight?"
Me: "Well that is a wonderful question. ... I am going to dream about making snow angles and drinking hot chocolate - that sounds like a lovely thing to dream about. What are you going to dream about tonight?"
Anna: ".... Being with my family. Goodnight, Mally."
GAH! I mean. Come on. If thats not a blessing, then I don't know what is!
Another thing I like about blessings and rituals, is how they serve as a kind of comma for the long, jumbled, run-on sentence of the day... they're just these simple little punctuations marks to remind me to pause, breathe, and be in the moment. Sometimes its a subconsciously placed comma, one that maybe I'm not even aware of. And sometimes its more deliberate, like my choice to start my days this past week by reading the same blessing every morning, or saying Grace at the start of a meal.
Say Grace. I just love those words... they sound so beautiful together... a blessing in and of themselves.
A few weeks ago, at my family's Easter dinner, I was reminded of how much I love this ritual. Since then, I have been trying to remember to say Grace before every meal I eat - no matter if I'm alone in my kitchen, out in a coffeeshop or on a date in a fancy restaurant. Taking even just one small moment to say thank you infuses every bite with something special.
But its hard to remember!! I move so fast so much of the time, I often find myself just grabbing my fork and diving in! I love food so much! The flavors! The textures! The combinations! I just love to eat! But I also know that when I take the time to acknowledge the incredible gift of the food before me, the whole eating experience changes; I slow down, I eat mindfully and I enjoy every bite, from the moment the first morsel touches my lips, to that last swallow, the memory of the flavors still lingering on my tongue.
My mouth is watering.
My art project this week is the Oatmeal Cookie Goo I mistakenly made while attempting to make Oatmeal Cinnamon Truffles. I completely misread the recipe (total brain-fart moment) and put one cup of water into the blender instead of one TABLESPOON! Big difference. So rather than ending up with a rather corse, moldable delicious oatmeal substance, I basically had goo. Delicious goo. But goo nonetheless... not cookie dough, not sauce... goo.
My friend Raven was with me at the time, and while I tried my darndest to un-goo the goo, he strapped on his Superman cape and flew off to the grocery store to buy a late night pint of Vanilla ice cream. So in the end, instead of the decadent Oatmeal Cinnamon Truffles that I had planned on, we ate Ben & Jerry's vanilla ice cream smothered in Oatmeal Cookie Goo. And it was amazing. It was also really good on hot cereal in the morning... or you can crispify the outside by putting them in the oven for a few minutes...
Oatmeal Cookie Goo. Art? Maybe not... Versatile dessert goodness? Yes.
Let me know if you want the recipe ;-)