Thursday, April 7, 2016

The View from The Other Side

Another day at the office.
These last couple of days I've felt an immense sense of satisfaction with my life. My surgery is over and the hip/back problem I went into hospital to have fixed does, in fact, appear to be repaired. My scheduled tasting room shifts are done with and I am pretty much setting my own schedule at the garden at the winery, planting squash, herbs and tomatoes and enjoying the cool mornings down there where the California quail, jackrabbits and lizards are my company in the quiet of the early day.

(And the grapevines of course, which are budded out and growing happily. I have nothing if not a beautiful "office" to work in.)

And last weekend, for the first time in I don't know how long, I took a Sabbath day and rested. Well, what passes as rest for me, anyway. I hung a couple of loads of laundry out on the line in the sunshine, puttered in the garden, and observed some God time in study and conversation. But I enjoyed it all -- my pace was slow, the work was easy, and there was lots of down time in between what little work I did.

Plus the house was quiet. The television was not going on all day, the computer did not beckon, and we received no invitations which took us out of the house. 

I guess that's one good thing about recovering from surgery...folks assume you're down for the count and leave you off the guest list. 

My garden sent me this beautiful get well bouquet. Thanks Mother Nature!

And the result is peace and quiet. I think there's an emotional dividend that pays off big when we prioritize our life where we put peace first. For me, it's a sweet spot I can feel -- putting the things that give me peace at the top of the priority list and removing things that distract/stress/hyper-activate me. You can't do it forever, those bills need paying, those phone calls need to be made and decisions need to happen -- but maybe for just one day, sundown to sundown, we can leave those things be.

Why do I only do this when something takes me out of the game enough that I have to call a time out? Why did it take a surgery for me to unhook myself from the yoke of scheduled socializing and work and just sit still for awhile?

Today I was back to work, and when I went into the winery my favorite chef was there, experimenting and making fruit chutneys with our late harvest wine. Since the chef's garden I manage is not a customer-service oriented position where I need to be johnny-on-the-spot, I can now be in a position to spend a few moments in the kitchen or behind the bar talking to the coworkers I love to be around. Anyway, Chef let me sample the chutney and it was absolutely divine. So this afternoon I'm making a small batch here at the house, which I'll use as a sauce for some barbecued meat I'm grilling for dinner.   

Steak with grilled fruit chutney -- yum.

Cooking is a signpost for me, I have noticed; if it's happening, life is proceeding at a decent pace -- when it stops, I've become too busy. I think for many of us, we stop cooking when we lack the time and  motivation to create good food.  It's kind of like being in a rowboat in a survival's interesting to see what gets thrown overboard when we're just paddling to save ourselves. Hobbies, rest, household chores, or even family? Interesting to think about what we get rid of and what we keep "on board."

And so, with the craziness of traveling out of town for surgery behind me, healing in the works, and a job change in progress, I've decided this is a great time to do some rearranging; perhaps pulling some things back into the lifeboat that I left to dog-paddle in the water for awhile.  

Peace will come first, followed by work of course. But peace first.

It occurs to me that if you place peace and quiet last on your priority list, by the time you get to enjoy it you will probably be asleep. Work will always be there (in some form or another) but peace is fleeting and best captured through planning and foresight. 

So my advice is this: Take a look in your lifeboat and pull those things you threw into the water back into the boat with you while they're still floating beside you, whether that's time to converse with people you enjoy, cooking, prayer time, or even just hanging some wash in the sunshine. 

What good is a lifeboat if your life isn't even in it? 


  1. I love this post! I've been thinking about you and hoping your recovery was going well! I'm so glad it is. How gorgeous your roses are. I love the mix. Many months before we'll have that. But I've loved cutting my daffodils lately.
    I have to laugh because I struggle in the opposite direction. There are countless times I should work a little harder at promoting my business or doing paperwork or whatever busy people do. Instead I experiment with a new bread recipe or go to lunch. I could stand to spend a little less time smelling the roses. Will I? Ehhh...
    I love your point about the Sabbath. It can be very difficult to assert time to yourself when everyone knows you have a flexible schedule. But it's so important. Mine is Friday. Starting Thursday night-sat morning everyone knows the chances are slim of getting me anywhere other than my kitchen or table. This actually started after my sister played Chava in a Jewish Community Center production of Fiddler. It was a fabulous experience for her and the cast and JCC members were so welcoming, inviting her to Shabbat so the WASP girl could have a sense of what it all really meant. She loved it so much that I sort of adopted it, too. And now most Friday nights make dinner for my family. Actually when marriage equality went nationwide last summer I said I was going to convert so I could have a Jewish husband. I need to work on my challah braiding though.

    1. Oh, Jewish husbands are the best, I HIGHLY recommend one for you! And I think Sabbath is for everyone, no matter if you're a person of faith or not. I really do admire your discipline to place yourself and your personal happiness first in each day. So many do not. You've already figured out the things that really matter, which are the ones which give us satisfaction. Good bread and friends/family around the table. But I would have thought challah braiding would come naturally to you with your line of work! : )