About a year or two ago, I switched to a smoothie for breakfast. It’s healthy, quick, inexpensive, and tasty. And I’m out of the milk and carb game from my cereal days. I’m no dietician, but it just feels better. I love it. Except when I spill the whole thing walking out the door in the morning on my way to the office. Which is what happened the other morning. As my readers know, I’m relaxing my way into inner peace as quickly and directly and painlessly as I can. Not because I’m special, but because that’s what I really, really want. I pay attention to life and I try. And so I share much of my life on this blog. You see, peace is found in the most ordinary of places. You don’t have to meditate for decades in a cave in the Himalayas, although you certainly could if you want to. Life will bring you exactly what you need and when you need it, anytime, anyplace. Like when you’re walking out the door in the morning on the way to the office.
This post should really be called How to Clean Up a Smoothie, because anyone can spill one just fine. It’s all about how you clean it up after it’s been spilled. And it’s dripping all over stuff that you don’t want a thick smoothie to drip all over. And you were just walking out the door, headed to the office in the morning. You were actually already out the door on the way to the car. And you forgot something inside, so you set it down. And it spilled. And you’re standing there looking at it. And… pause! Let’s hit the pause button right there on this frame, relax, and take a very chill look. Let’s survey the scene from high above, because this is the moment of truth. And this is what you can learn to do in the moment. And yes, we’re talking about a smoothie! The mind could say big deal, but I’m telling you – this is where awakening occurs. This is your doorway to inner peace. And it’s so damn ordinary. Final thing… please don’t think I’m trying to brag in any way at all. Like look how I did this. There’s another way to live, and I’m practicing it, getting better all the time. And I’m just sharing it with you to show you what it looks like so you’ll have more options. And know that in the future, this will taught in middle school. Actually, I’m starting to do that on Tuesdays! More on that later. Back to that frame we paused on…
The first step is to resist going straight to thought. And watch out, because it happens fast! You can train yourself to go to the breath first, though, and let things sink in without thought, without words. Just be patient with that and keep practicing. And life will give you ample opportunities to practice… A bunch of conditioned thinking will not help at this point. Just breathe, relax, and survey the scene. Let it sink in. And it will. When you do this without engaging the thinker, your wisdom/common sense is automatically engaged instead. Which do you prefer? I prefer the one that feels better, the wisdom/common sense. And it simply had the knowing to clean it up. What’s the first step? Do that. Then do the next step. Wash, rinse, repeat. Then go to the office.
Now let’s see what the alternative looks like, the alternative that we all know very well. In the past, I would’ve already been angry where we pressed pause. The thought stream would’ve already started, and this would’ve been the beginning of “one of those days.” Sound familiar? Not this time, though. I mean, I didn’t want this to happen, but it did. So after letting it sink it that yes, I now had to deal with this totally avoidable situation, I simply started cleaning it up, one step at a time. And don’t get me wrong, those same thoughts started to come in! I didn’t feed them, though. The impulse was pretty strong to be angry, but I kept returning to just being present and getting the job done. And it all got cleaned up and I ended up feeling fine. It didn’t become one of those days because I learned what’s going on behind the scenes in the mind and practiced. The key words are learned and practiced.
The next question was what will I do about breakfast? I mention this not because you care what I eat, but because this was the next place where mental bitching and moaning wanted to creep in, along with the anger and frustration that it creates. So… pause again! I definitely felt a decent impulse to be in a bad mood at this point, just like when it first happened. I did not feed it, though. I stayed present and simply asked myself what my options were. I had the feeling that I just didn’t want to make another smoothie; I felt defeated in the smoothie department for the day. And our wisdom/common sense communicates to us as a feeling much of the time. So if I didn’t want to make another one, what were my options? Notice that there was never a story about it. The impulse to launch into a perfectly believable story was there, but it leaves as fast as it arrives with practice. Just stay focused and relaxed and stick to the next step. And what came up was a lovely new spot in my neighborhood that has a delicious breakfast burrito. So I went there. And it was awesome (for those in Pensacola, it was the Single Fin Cafe inside of Waterboyz Surf & Skate Shop – who knew they had food?).
So that’s the tale of the spilled smoothie. It’s not about how you spill it; it’s all about how you clean it up. “One of those days” was avoided. Impulses and feelings (to be angry and create a bad day) move through us without getting stuck when we simply let them. It’s all about feeding that ego voice versus leading with your wisdom/common sense. The breath really helps, too. Just feel the breath in your body and in every cell as you let the situation sink in. You could even look at the scene as soon as it happens and train yourself to say, “This has happened” a few times. Yes, there’s a whole blog post just on that… If you do that, you’re automatically bypassing that ego thought stream and engaging the part of you that can absolutely handle a spilled smoothie without it affecting the rest of your day in a negative way. And it’s built-in! You just have to tune in to that radio station instead of the chatterbox. And all it takes is some education, which this is, and then practice, which life will readily provide. Like maybe starting today.
And just so you know how the day turned out, I had a gap between lunch and my afternoon clients, so I went paddleboarding. And I had my coolest dolphin experience ever. Two dolphins were swimming side by side, and I paddled up to them, about 5-6 feet away. And then they darted to the side and swam real slow. And I turned and paddled toward them again and got close. And they darted to the side and swam real slow. This happened several times, and it was so cool. They swam around my board some, too, and I swear one of them was looking at me while they passed. I’m talking about some serious eye contact with Flipper from point blank range. And this could’ve been “one of those days??” Ha! One of the most awesome days of my life, maybe! Happy smoothie cleaning!