It is rather hard to be disciplined to write when it is two days before Christmas, a bunch of people are coming to dine at my home, a cake needs to be baked, mounds of gifts need to be sorted and wrapped.
Will twenty five minutes upset the wagon too much?
It feels a bit silly to be sitting here, typing random thoughts, as a practice, an exercise. But exercise it is. So. Here I am.
The sky was blue when I woke, but cool and brisk. I am watching an ominous blue gray mass of impending weather move in from the west, and a breeze gathers. I have yet to deep clean the bakery, so a dusting of spelt flour covers the place, trays are stacked, crumbs and a rolling pin still sit on the stainless steel table. chickens scratch outside the door, grumbling a bit, asking me to toss them the crumbs. After the timer sounds, I will.
Yesterday in the bakery was so weird. I had two batches of cookies completely fail. No recovery. All the spelt gingerbread people. I used the regular recipe. I added plenty more spelt flour, since it reacts so differently, let the dough refrigerate for several hours, chilled the cookie dough before throwing it in the oven. The nuss eckern wouldn't set up. No matter what.
At some point I realized things were not going as I wished. The caramel sauce I make on a regular basis just wouldn't incorporate. It seemed like there was an unknown factor in the chemistry of all things and consequently I grew very frustrated. I felt a deep sense of anxiety well. All those ingredients, so expensive, becoming gourmet chicken food. All that time, to yield nothing but exasperation. And then all the income from cookie orders lost.
I snapped at the girls, steamed, and felt a bit of panic, as my orbit felt wobbly. Isn't it strange how small things can trigger such reactions? Maybe not for you, but then again, we all have some triggers, don't we? I tried to ask myself what it was I really feared, and why did it stir me up so much. The niggling voice in the back of the head told me I was afraid of running out of money, and the loss of income touched a nerve. I told myself the truth, being that a couple hundred dollars here or there was not going to send us to the poor house. That I am in a comfortable place financially, and when stretched, can pick up side work here or there that will cover the gap. About 45 minutes after the surge of panic, I was able to tell the girls that the fail of a couple of recipes was no big deal (thank you, Pema Chodron for the no big deal teaching), and we hugged, i said my I'm sorry for snapping, and we were all able to smile as we finished up many other good things for my customers.
The girls set out a platter of treats, we had glasses of wine and perrier, Christmas music on the ipad, and wonderful smells of the many successful bakery goods. Customer friends stood around, shared laughter, a few tears here and there, conversations, love, real community. My mom and dad came over and met neighbors. We laughed about the epic fail, and one of my friends confided that she felt glad when I shared my fails with them. That authenticity gave her hope. We talked about perspective, and how there are some things in life that are not no big deal. Having your house burn down, losing all your possessions is a pretty big deal. Having your child die is a super big deal. Mental illness is a big deal. But many other bumps in the road are just that. A bump. No big deal.
I am trying hard to let the time between onset of stress, anxiety, panic, whatever you want to call it, and "no big deal" grow shorter. I would like to say I had it made, and was able to catch myself before slipping down the slope. Practice makes perfect.
Time's up. Ding!