One of the times I’m my most silent is when I’m sitting in front of a fire, looking at the flames and maybe listening to others chatter, but just being there myself. It’s a time when I’m not doing much: no cooking, no cleaning, no working, no commuting. The fire puts my mind into an in-between state, where I’m neither trying to move on to another activity nor recovering from the last one. These moments give me the rare chance to think about my big-picture life, not just what’s next.
One of the blogs that inspires me most is zenhabits.net – it’s run by a man named Leo Babauta and his insight on how we create habits for ourselves is usually uncomfortably familiar. He recently posted about having a flexible mind, and I felt how much the past month or so has made my mind inflexible. I want so badly for things to go correctly, I’ve allowed myself to fall into a rut of disappointment and annoyance whenever they don’t. Whereas I should be able to try something new and laugh at the resulting mess, I too often spiral into thinking that I’m a terrible cook or writer or teacher, just because I cannot do it well the first time. His blog does something that I think much good writing should do: it should make people feel understood and give them a way to move forward.
I have noticed that while I still post recipes, pictures of food, and memories of food with family and friends, I’m also posting more and more things about life habits – they are so important to me. As an adult, I don’t have teachers imposing deadlines and parents imposing goals, but I still want to see myself as a growing, changing person who is capable of better skills, better habits. One thing, for example, is that I have gotten lazy about eating salads, and they are so easy to tack on to another meal and get more greens into one’s diet. I’m trying to do that more for the upcoming month of October. Another is to make sure I take pictures both when I’m cooking and when Husband cooks, because both of us have great food to contribute to this blog. Small goals, small changes to my occasionally-inflexible mind, but hopefully they will have long-lasting impacts.