The Universe, she is a fickle bitch.
I suppose the same could be said for many of us. One moment we are sunshine, light, and warmth…the next we are woe-is-meing and at the bottom of the very darkest well.
And by “we” I mean “me,” and sometimes just that quickly.
Not five hours after the last blog post in which I expounded on deep places of stillness and grace, I discovered I actually owe the IRS about five grand, received a $52 parking ticket when I went to go pick up a useless, destroyed purse of mine that was stolen six weeks ago, and found out that there is a distinct possibility that my mobile phone company (who shall hereafter be referred to as “Fucking T-Mobile”) will not cover the cost of a new phone, even though A) I have insurance, and B) the old phone is well and truly broken through no fault of my own.
Well played, Universe.
It’s like a test.
I am pretty sure I failed it just a little bit when I stormed into the house, railing against bills and screaming at The Teenager to clean up her mess and you left a towel in my bathroom and for chrissakes I am sick of cleaning up dog shit so clean up the backyard.
It’s a bit much to take, all at once.
And then, in a brief moment of clarity, I remembered this:
May we exist like a lotus,
At home in the muddy water.
Thus we bow to life as it is.
I found this little verse in the book At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace Within Everyday Chaos by Ezra Bayda. In it, he talks about how we constantly accept life’s blessings as our birthright, then suddenly turn to the universe and moan, “Why me?” when things don’t go our way.
To this, Bayda replies, “Why not you?”
Why not, indeed.
Should someone else owe taxes instead of me? Get a ticket? Have a 15-year-old?
It’s not a test. It’s just life. One day after another, one trauma and triumph and minor insult and lovely moment at a time.
The test is not in the events. The test is in what you do with them. Much of this is mindset, meeting what happens as it happens.
I have not been good at this in the past, this being in the moment, calm acceptance type of person. I think if maybe these woe-ful events were carefully spaced, then perhaps I might be better at it, but turns out the universe and its attendant whims is not necessarily a Day-Timer kind of entity.
In these times, and in all times, actually, because once a quote speaks to me and I interact with it in my brain it is forever burned there, and I will use it over and over, the Department of Redundancy Department, I am reminded of the distinction between anxiety and depression:
Anxiety looks to the future.
Depression looks to the past.
Present is always exceptionally hard for me because in addition to death and taxes and dogs and teenagers there are a myriad other things to worry about and reflect upon. Things that pull me out of what is now.
Things that may happen soon or have already happened but are not the reality of this moment.
Present, for me, requires a nudge. Something to tether me to what is in currently in my face. Something that will help me turn my phone face down, leave the ringer off, or just “forget” that I left it on the counter at home.
Present today? Well, present at my house today makes muffins. Gluten-free, sweet, barely-considered-breakfast muffins with fat blueberries taking up most of the cake.
Present at my house wants these muffins right now, dammit, so this recipe takes 30 minutes, from the first scoop of flour to taking fresh, hot muffins out of the oven and shoving them in your face.
I’d say that’s a pretty good way to live in the moment.
Double-plus bonus: These are so simple that you could actually make them while your first cup of coffee is brewing. Seriously. Regular AP flour works here, too. #InstantLove
1 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
3 T light brown sugar
2 T sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
6 T melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a muffin tin (butter, oil, or cooking spray. #ItsNotRocketScience #PlusYouAreSleepy)
In a large-ish bowl whisk together dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (I used a 2-cup measuring cup, adding the eggs last and beating them in).
In an even smaller bowl, whisk together crumb topping ingredients while you melt the butter.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add blueberries and stir to combine.
Fill muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full.
Use a fork to add crumble ingredients to melted butter and mix to combine. It should be somewhat clumpy, which is what you want. Spoon/pour/use your hands to distribute crumble on top of your muffins.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out fairly clean or with maybe a crumb or two clinging to it.
Eat many of the muffins and go about your day.
Voila. The present moment, only with fresh, hot muffins. #Om