A Sense of Accomplishment

The house was quiet as a stone. I pulled the blanket over me and faced the door wall, the pre-dawn landscape silent and still, the snow taking on the bluish tint of transition.

I began my day with my usual pre-dawn meditation, ascending into the depths of my soul before even consulting the to-do list. Everyone was still asleep, the gift of a day off school to commemorate a man who set our country straight on the path toward equality and freedom for all.

I filed papers that had stacked up on my desk. Wrote thank you notes long overdue to people who made donations in memory of my grandmother.

I pulled out carrots and celery, onions and mushrooms, short ribs, barley, vegetable broth, for a mushroom-barley soup to enjoy at dinner tonight. I sautéed leeks with salt and pepper for mini quiches, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts to tuck into the center of the egg-puff.

I showered and pulled on clothes that are comfortable and comforting. And then I sat down in front of the computer to say hello to the world.

All of this before 8 o’clock. What does it take to make you feel like you’re making progress?

I completed some work leftover from the weekend, spoke to two clients before 10. Made breakfast, poured chocolate milk for two of my kids, put the dishes into the dishwasher. The soup is cooling on the countertop. My husband is at the new house, checking on the progress. He’s already gone to the grocery for fresh dill and parsnip.

A sense of accomplishment is like a belief: intensely personal, to varying degrees of importance, and as fleeting as the weather. One packed day makes you feel like you’re standing on a mountain peak, while another day of one or two very deliberate, very important tasks end up leaving you empty.

Who’s to judge? And what is right?

It’s 7 minutes after 10 on a Monday morning, and I feel good. I’ve done a lot, enough for me for now, and I’ll do more later.

In the meantime, it’s a lesson of self-acceptance, of balance, of flowing into and out of the moments, safe in the knowledge that there is never enough, and it is always enough.

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