Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Pot Full Of Beans

A Pot Full Of Beans


I realized, as I stood and stirred the bubbling pot of baked beans that had been simmering on the stove for hours, that my emotions were mimicking its actions, as they threatened to burst through the surface after months of being supressed.

Absently, I moved my spoon through the thick mass of molasses-colored manna, as I let my mind wander freely over recent events.
“How did I get to this place?” I asked myself. “How could my life be so different from what I imagined it would be, just six short years ago?”

The molten mass of beans chose that moment to spit hot lava onto my hand, startling me back to reality.
I moved, quickly, to the sink, to thrust my burnt fingers beneath a rush of icy water, breathing fast and hard to fight the pain of the burn.

Once the throbbing had begun to subside, I returned to my post in front of the stovetop, picking up my spoon like a weapon and brandishing it before the still-tempermentally bubbling pot. This time, I gingerly pushed the beans from the bottom of the pot, being sure to move them away from my body to avoid a repeat performance.

As I let myself slide into reflection once again, a myriad of emotions began to make themselves felt, pushing against the restraints that had so carefully tied them down for so long.

Longing, regret, desire, sadness, melancholy, loneliness – each emotion thrust its head to the surface, as if it were a dolphin gasping for air before plunging back to the depths once more.

I realized that somewhere along the way, I got lazy and let go of the daily minding of my life. Somehow, overwhelmed by the many challenges that were thrown unexpectedly in my path, I forgot that the greatest challenge – and indeed, the most important one – was to take care of myself. In the chaotic jumble that became my new life, somehow my own person was lost in the shuffle. I struggled to take care of others, to be available to family and friends, while somehow scrambling to pull together enough money to pay my bills, and left my soul unattended by the wayside.

I realized that I had become someone I no longer recognized, allowing myself to be pushed around by the needs and desires of others, without standing up and recognizing what I truly needed to do for my own health.

I smiled, ironically, thinking of the rush of cold water I had just poured over my heated skin moments before. Life-giving, soul-feeding, energy-filled water, the source of my truest self. And yet, I pondered, when was the last time I had been to the lake? Or walked by the creek? Or just swam in a pool? For years, I had a weekly commitment to swimming that nourished me body and soul, building up the store of energy that was so quickly depleted when others came to suck it from the well of my nurturing. But now, while they still come, the well is not replenished, and I feel that it will soon run dry.

I pondered about the word regret, too, and corrected myself. I do not have regrets, for I am who I am precisely because of what has come before. Choices and circumstances all combined to create the individual that I have become, and I do not regret that. Perhaps, if I could redo my life, I might make some different selections along the way, but I don’t think of them as regrets.

Perhaps it’s the historian in me, who knows that we cannot change the past, making the great “what if” questions irrelevant.

A pop from the pot startles me back to attention. I stir more carefully now, as the beans are cooking down to a hearty, thick mass that smells of brown sugar and worchestershire sauce. My stomach growls, and I laugh and chastise it with the admonishment that dinner is still hours off.

And I think about how to be true to myself, to find the ways to create a whole being, while also juggling the needs and expectations of others. In the past, I have put those expectations first; I realize now that I must not sacrifice myself to satisfy those around me. There must be a balance; for I cannot help those around me if I am depleted myself.

The conservation of energy governs the universe, and I cannot continue to give out energy when I receive none in return. I must find the sources to replenish the well that others are pumping dry.

And so my mind turns to Lily Dale, and my impending trip there. A fellow visitor posted photos of the Dale to Facebook the other day, and as I flipped through the images, my entire body began to tingle with the energy I could see in the photos, making me even more anxious to make my pilgrimage there in a couple of weeks.

It’s time to free the abilities that have been stuffed down in hiding for most of my life. It’s time to recognize that I have powers that others might fear. And it’s time to bring home those longings and desires that I have left unfulfilled for far too long.

Like the pot of beans before me on the stove top, my abilities have been simmering, aging, and preparing themselves for just the right moment to be presented to the world. And I think that day is quickly drawing near.

Watch out world, here comes Christiana.

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