Ukiah, Northern California
\”Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important. The reason it’s important is that, fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering. We’re discovering the universe.”
Today, on New Year\’s, I realized my life is a book. My story, my emotions and feelings, my challenges, my world changes with the turn of each page.
As the pages keep turning, I will never truly know the outcome.
In one day, today, so many pages turned. So many emotions, new beginnings, and challenges appeared before and within me.
Within each page of my book, I try to let go and keep my heart open and be present with everything going on. There are moments that feel raw and unpleasant, moments I wish could be stomped out.
This morning, I felt a slight nervousness in my stomach, a feeling of not having Scott here during a family gathering to hold me steady, to be here, to support me. For me to support him as well. I sat with the feeling for a bit, and then I started peeling potatoes.
Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” — Zen Kōan
As I peeled the potatoes, I let the emotions of loss and abandonment move through my body. I focused my attention cutting the potatoes into small squares. I lit the gas stove. I poured oil into the black cast iron pan. I seasoned the potatoes. I opened the frig and pulled out a dozen eggs. I cracked each egg, thoughtfully, in the bowl. I preheated the toaster for the sourdough bread. The cut up potatoes tumbled into the pan on high heat. After they were almost finished cooking, I placed the veggie sausages in a small pan to heat up and sizzle. In the frying pan, a big pat of butter melted as I poured the scrambled egg mix in to set.
My family asked if they could help. I gently shook my head \”no\”.
I remembered Scott cooking by my side in the kitchen. Memories of our talks together while we washed the dishes, patted them dry, and put them away surfaced and moved through me.
I turned the potatoes. I turned the eggs. I turned the veggie sausage.
By myself, I set up the plates, the utensils, the butter and jam for toast, the napkins, and arranged the ketchup and dressings side by side. I turned the toast over browning each side in the toaster.
When everything was ready, I called my family to eat breakfast on the first day of the New Year.
Later this afternoon, I went for a walk and felt Scott with me, as I stopped on the path, the white glow of winter light broke through the trees touching my shoulder, and in the woods before me, a Pileated Woodpecker, one of Scott\’s favorite birds knocked on the base of a tree within a few feet of me.
I watched for awhile until the sunlight dissolved into the rain clouds and the woodpecker vanished deeper into the forest.