Find Me in the Stillness

The window where I ate the chili.

Friday afternoon after an intense Pilates class, I walked over to Nickell’s & Scheffler for a quick snack.  They had just finished preparing chili and were cooling it.  Being a sucker for fresh food, I immediately ordered a cup.  It was super cold outside so I was super excited to dig in.  I pulled up a chair to the table by the window to people watch.  One spoon full was all I needed to affirm I made the right decision for my snack.

Usually when I eat on by myself, I always have a book, my kindle, or at least my phone close by to busy myself and camouflage myself as a busy student or business woman.   However, this morning, I happened to read a short section in The Artist’s Way which demanded that artists (humans) need down time away from everything, including media.  Thus, I resisted all urges to get my phone out and aimlessly browse Facebook.  It took me a few spoonfuls  to relax my body and mind and just enjoy the bowl in front of me.  Once I did though, I became so grateful for the chef, who was standing just a few feet away.  Each spoonful was an absolute balance of textures and flavors.  It was a bowl of smoky, savory serenity.

The chili reminded me of the first time I had chili that I wanted to recreate–Superbowl night January 2006.  A friend/classmate was throwing  a Superbowl party for a bunch of English teachers half of whom didn’t watch football regularly.  His chili was slowed cooked all day and had steak instead of ground beef.  Before this day, I was not someone who ever ordered chili or really enjoyed it.  But that day all I needed was one bite and I was sold.  I asked D a zillion questions about how he made it and what his ingredients were.  Now, he doesn’t know this, but I still to this day compare all chili’s to his.  As I sat there at the quaint sandwich shop that reminded me of a small New England town, I watched all the people in Old Town walk by.  Some licking the icing off their index fingers. (Alexandria Cupcake is next door.)  Some cuddling up together.  Outside it was still with activity.  Just as I had this thought, two tween girls squealed. “Oh My God, it’s a vintage shop!  I love vintage!”  One of the girls interrupted the stillness. Then, they ran across the street giggling.

My first response– annoyance for their volume and gratitude for not being the classroom.  My second response after a moment to sit with the occurrence–gratitude and understanding that these girls are part of the stillness of life.

On this last day of 2012, I sit here feeling so different from how I felt on this same day a year ago.  I sit here accepting the part of myself that I sometimes find an interruption to the stillness–the part of myself who wants to do it all and do it all at the same time.   I am a dreamer which means that I want to taste it all at once.  It is why I have trouble deciding what to order at a new restaurant.  It is why I have trouble choosing my next book to read.  It is why I travel frequently and pressure my friends to travel with me.  It is why I have trouble deciding which texts to use as the mentor texts for a unit of study in my classroom. It is also why I spent much of my break watching films.  I want it all–to experience it all.  This part of myself, though sometimes feels overwhelming and may cause some anxiety, is still a part of the fabric of my life.  It declares my dreams completely free of prejudice and negativity.

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2 thoughts on “Find Me in the Stillness

  1. hooray for chilli! was i at that super bowl party? i can’t believe i don’t remember the chilli like you do. i do remember loving his food, though, in general.

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