A Good Home, Jelly, Making Jelly, Mindfulness

MEDITATION LIKE JELLY

The thing about making jelly is

It’s a risky thing.

The experience is unpredictable.

Blog Photo - Jelly Currants in Pot

One minute you have a spoon in your hand

Stirring the sticky liquid in the pot

Staring at the smooth surface

Wondering when it will gel

**

Without warning, you find yourself 

Thinking about your worries

Worrying about your thoughts

Forgetting the jelly

Blog Photo - Jelly in Pot

Frothing to the rim of the pot

Gathering strength and density

Liquid thoughts like a substance

Which may or may not gel

**

Next, you’re in a meditation room

Listening to a voice say:

Don’t analyze your thoughts

Let them go. Let them pass

Blog Photo - Jelly Jar Double Mint

Thoughts are thoughts, not facts

Do not stop to judge them

Or be worried by them

Let them float out of your mind

 **

If your back or arm aches

Or someone has hurt you

Don’t dwell on those thoughts

Let them pass, and float away

 **

I return to the liquid on the stove

Just before the jelly boils over

Because making jelly requires this much:

My total attention.

Blog Photo - Jelly pouring into jars

Making jelly is a meditation

On the liquid in the pot, swirling

As my thoughts darken and thicken

And bubble and froth their way to the top

 **

Did I say thoughts? I meant jelly

But maybe I meant thoughts

Thoughts are not facts! the jelly says

Let them go while you stay here

 Blog Photo - Jelly Jars many

Watch me boil and swirl and stir, and boil

And swirl and swell, making bubbles.

You are here, the jelly says

So be here. Be present with me

**

So you stir and watch and wait

For that final moment

When the liquid becomes

That thick,  sweet, slow-moving gel.

 Blog - Red Current Jelly in Jars

The thing about making jelly is

It’s a strange thing

The journey is unpredictable.

*

PHOTOS BY HAMLIN GRANGE

 

A Good Home, Architecture, Canadiana, Christmas, Furniture, Gratitude, Homes, Inspiration, Interior Design, Spiritual, Wool Blankets

Everyday Glory

One late-autumn afternoon, after being stuck in bed for several days, I looked around at our bedroom and decided it needed colour.

Christmas was several weeks away, but  that didn’t mean I couldn’t haul out the two Christmas-themed cushions I’d received as a gift a few years before. Red does wonders for a room.

I could hardly wait for my husband to see this cheerful scene.

He went to bed before me that night. The next morning, I asked eagerly: “What did you think of the way I decorated our bedroom?”

“Decorated?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

He  stared at me, puzzled.

“Didn’t you notice anything different?”

“Oh!” he said. “You mean… all those pillows and stuff?”

I nodded.

“I didn’t really look at them,” he said.

Christmas Cushions
Christmas Cushions – Photo by H. Grange

There, in a corner of the floor were the red and white cushion and the two pillows in their lace-edged shams. They looked forlorn. I groaned.

“Oops – I screwed up, didn’t I?”

“It was so pretty,” I said in a whiny voice.

But when I met his eyes, he looked contrite, like a small boy in trouble.  Next thing I knew, we were both laughing.

Laughing over this foolishness was a little thing – an unremarkable thing. Unless you’ve learned to cherish the small moments of life.

Before the car accident, I was busy leading the big projects, travelling here and there.  Rushing around, trying to change the world, can make a person miss the beauty of “ordinary” things.

Injuries and pain are indescribably worse.   You finally have time to see, but barely have the energy to look.

But – oh – it’s worth the effort to look! To take joy in the small moments, to see one’s surroundings with new and grateful eyes.  To be open to small patches of everyday glory. 

"Snow Cones" on Spruce Branch - Photo by Hamlin Grange
“Snow Cones” on Spruce Branch – Photo by H. Grange

Snow on cedars. Fresh snow on the cedar and spruce trees  makes the garden beautiful, day and night.

The late sun. Late afternoon sunlight shining on wood floors is magical. And when the late sun hits the wavy glass sidelights in the front door of our old farmhouse, it’s wondrous.

Sunshine on Hardwood
Sunshine on Hardwood – Photo by H. Grange

My husband’s truant socks. I find them in the weirdest places, including the floor. I used to get irritated by this and other things, like his leaving the newspapers strewn across the breakfast table. (Or overlooking my small attempts to ‘cheer up’ our house.) Now when I come across stray socks, I give thanks for having someone kind, funny and loving to share my everyday life with . (And I try to assemble the newspapers without muttering.)

Canadian Wool Blanket
Canadian Wool Blanket – Photo by H. Grange

The old wool blanket. “Canadiana”, for sure, it would be worth something but for the pale stain on one side. Do I care about the stain? No.  I love this blanket for its brilliant stripes – and for having survived.

Blooming Amaryllis. Bought for 6 bucks,  it re-blooms (big red blooms) on long stalks in February. ‘Nuff said.

Freshly washed sheets.  There’s luxury in the smell and feel of freshly washed cotton sheets although they’ve been used and washed many times.

Our family’s big clay mixing bowl.  Many apple pies have been mixed up in that beautiful old bowl.

My daughter’s dogs.  Sometimes, just the sight of them gladdens my heart. One black, one white, they’re both tiny dogs with personalities of their own. As I write, they’re stretched out beside me,  fast asleep.

Julius and Dawson Fast Asleep
The Pooches

Slowing down  by choice is great. Being forced to do so is awful.  But in the spirit of lighting a candle and finding my way out of darkness, I’ve been focusing on positives.

I’m keeping both eyes open for that everyday kind of glory.

This post is dedicated to the caring staff at the pain management centre of Toronto Rehabilitation Hospital. One of the techniques they teach their patients is mindfulness.