Saturday, November 14, 2009

this too shall pass

One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah Ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, "Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot which gives you six months to find it." "If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty," replied Benaiah, "I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?" "It has magic powers," answered the king. "If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy." Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility. Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day's wares on a shabby carpet. "Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?" asked Benaiah. He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile. That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. "Well, my friend," said Solomon, "have you found what I sent you after?" All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled. To everyone's surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, "Here it is, your majesty!" As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: gimel, zayin, yud, which began the words "Gam zeh ya'avor" -- "This too shall pass." At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.
Jewish wisdom folktale

I think that's a really powerful story. Being the season of thanks and giving, I think this is a really important message to keep in mind... that this moment, every moment, shall pass into a new one. So cherish those moments you never want to let go and have patience during those moments where your mind is in another place or another time. This is something I have trouble keeping in mind--that those moments where my mind is somewhere else yearning to be an hour in the future or 10 miles away, will eventually pass. So I should try making the most of that moment, even if it isn't the most joyful. That might be while at work, or riding the bus, or doing daily errands like grocery shopping or doing laundry.

One of the lessons I have learned from Gretchin Ruben, author of The Happiness Project, is that in order to really be happy, you have to be 100% in the moment you're in. Or that moment can never be a happy one.

Right now for instance, Clint is away on a TDY and I would much rather have him here. I find myself grumbling my way through work and finding every household chore doubly tedious because I'm alone in it. But I used to be a single lady before! And I rather enjoyed it... so I'm trying to make the most of my temporary bachelorette-hoodness by doing some of the things I used to love, and forgot that I still do. Like chatting it up with friends, catching up on writing, enjoying some alone time! I get to make bachelorette-meals (Margie-dillas-my version of a cheese-free, low fat quesadilla) and not worry about making a meal for two.

Of course I'm still itching for when he gets back... but I want to enjoy this moment now. Because it too shall pass, and then what would be the point? Enjoy those little moments... make your coworkers laugh, ask your child what she's up to and actually be interested in it... you can never get those moments and opportunities back.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's starting to taste a lot like Christmas!

There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them.
P.J. O'Rourke

It's Christmas-time! Well, at least in the UK it is. (In the states, it is Thanksgiving time...) And that means festive holiday decorations in metallic red and reflective silver, Salvation Army bell-ringers, and overpriced Holiday sales! (and the overzealous clearance-hunters too! Wooohoooo!)

But this excess of energy actually helps me get into the festive spirit... and a few of these flavorful treats help toooo...

1) Hot apple cider... spiked?
2) Egg nog. OK, not actually Egg nogg but egg nogg flavored things like ice cream and hot Celestial Seasonings Egg Nogg'n tea.
3) Pumpkin pie
4) Mulled wine
5) Apple streudels
6) Pancakes... always a great breakfast or brunch treat but particularly more filling and satisfying when it's cold out
7) Chai tea lattes
8) Mint chocolates
9) Hot chocolate... with Bailey's?
10) Speaking of Bailey's, Irish Coffee!

So most of these are alcoholic... (but how else do you survive festive family occasions?)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

To have faith... or not to have faith.

"If there were no God, it would have been necessary to invent him."

I saw an awesome interview of Lewis Black this morning. It was only an excerpt but it was brilliant; he outlined his reasons for why he believed in God; and why he doesn't believe in God. Whether you have a faith in Him or not, I think it's important to understand why you do. I thought I would compile my own list of reasons, trying to stay in Black's lighthearted style...

Reasons to Believe:
1. I'd feel bad for all the men who built those cathedrals.
2. Hiccups are inexplicable without Him.
3. Death is a less frightening thought.
4. Electrons and protons boggle my mind....(except I can feel static. I can't feel God.)
5. Wine.

Reasons I don't Believe:
1. I can feel static.
2. Cats get cancer too. That's just cruel.
3. Animals can be gay. It's natural, not a sin.
4. My mother doesn't.
5. Jared Diamond's books explain anthropological evolution so well.
6. All the bad things I ever did were not because the devil told me to do it.
7. My will has been pretty free.