Gratitude

Well I haven’t written much lately. Been living life instead.

And yet, as a writer since I was old enough to hold the pen, not writing seems like I’m not breathing.

That’s what happens when you get busy in business. You forget to breathe. You forget to do what you do automatically, what drives you, the way your body takes in and processes meaning.

We’ve been offering gratitude to the gods this past week. Gratitude for getting through two rounds of stomach flu, for having wonderful clients to work with and abundant work, for having love ever-abounding in every direction, for our home, our life, our good fortune.

It was a week of gratitude across this country, my favorite time of year – the time when everyone, regardless of belief or ethnicity or religious doctrine celebrates being an American in their own flavorful way.

For us, it was a week of being together in our nation’s capital. Two turkeys on the table – one maple-glazed, the other rubbed and seasoned and brined. There was “native potato” soup with crunchy bits of bacon from the farmer’s market in Dupont Circle and I made my squash pudding, along with a pumpkin version, too. We had oysters and cheese and salad and green beans and potatoes done several ways and two stuffings – one spicy, one traditional.

But it wasn’t just the food. Every year at the Golodners’ brick brownstone, cousins and friends arrive in numbers, pour the wine, mix cocktails, and catch up on a year gone by. Kids ran up and down four flights of stairs, watching movies, playing with toys, reading books.

It was a bustling bundle of energy and love and I was glad to be there.

In the wake of divorce, as life plods along and evolves into something wonderful, it is the new people who brighten our path. We are redefining our life here.

The other stellar thing about this past week is I unplugged. Really, and completely. It was a holiday, after all, and I’m not a brain surgeon, so there were no real emergencies to worry over. It was so freakin’ nice.

No phone ringing, no text-message buzzing, no constant thumb-scribbling on the Blackberry, no late-night work or early-rising get-to-it-ness. I rose and slept with the sun and moon over my shoulder, and fell into the rhythm of the people around me.

I got back into the kitchen, too.

In my last life, I used to cook as if it would save my life. Perhaps it did in that incarnation – but since I’ve poured myself into my business, into living on a level beyond misery, my love for food preparation, for offering others home-cooked goodness, has had to take a back seat.

Every Friday, I would make the dough early in the morning, let it rise in the warm kitchen and by late afternoon, pound it into submission. The kids would stand on chairs at the counter, little hands forming individual challah loaves. I braided two big ones and we glazed each with egg-sugar-water and baked them to soft sweet goodness.

There is meaning for the taking from every way of living, so many ways to be authentic. Now, I’m striving for balance – for the cooking and the slow moments – of yoga, of bread-baking, of breathing in and out again in a moment so still I can hear my heart beating, and know I’m alive. The work is ever-present and it will wait. The down-time will come again. And it’s up to me to find a way to integrate it all for that balanced, yin-yang way of living, before too many moments have disappeared without thought.

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