A scoop of Neapolitan

Buenas Tardes Travellers,

Did you ever eat Neapolitan ice cream as a child? As an adult, I can totally see the genius of that idea, 3 flavors in one spoonful. Perfect for those of us who cannot decided what restaurant to eat out no matter how long we debate about it…you know who you are…

Stawberry, vanilla, chocolate.

I never liked it much as a child. I thought those 3 flavors together sounded grossly wrong. I also did not like banana splits. Same reason, too many things mixed together. And you couldn’t separate them very well, no matter how very carefully you tried. There was no dissection technique or distillation that would get the strawberry off the other flavors, was there?

But I totally enjoy it now…funny how things change. I think because one of the great things you can appreciate in this life is the overlap. Sometimes mixing up ideas, types of music, culinary flavors, or cultures produce far more interesting complexities and savory results.

My brain in the past few days has been a lot like Neapolitan ice cream. I’ve got a few ideas that seem to be all tied together and so I’ve decided to write it that way versus try and separate them at their edges…

Surrender. I’ve been thinking about what that word means to me now in it’s most fully realized state. I believe most humans associate surrender with losing. Fly the white flag, be a good sport, give up. Hands in the air at a bank robbery.

I always think of that phrase about when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. There will be a surrender of both, won’t there? Thinking about rocks that smooth in the stream from the constant wearing of the water. You may think the rock is the only one changing, but inside the water are microscopic pieces of that rock, so the water’s nature is changed as well.

I’ve come to believe that a surrender is an opening or softening to accept the things you absolutely cannot control. It’s willful in it’s intent, and I see it more as an accomplishment than a loss. I think it may be one of the most important skills we work to acquire throughout our lives. I work on it everyday.

I remember waking from the edge of sleep sobbing and shaking on three occasions last year before my husband left. I believed I was terrified of the unknown, of being left alone with only myself, in a house that felt like home but yet, everything was unknown. And I remember losing my appetite, my taste for food and feeling like something died in me. That was a year ago.

Now somewhere along the way, I know I surrendered to what was happening. It wasn’t like a flip of the light switch, it was gradual slow sunrise, that crept into my life millimeter by millimeter. But I know it did, because I’m here right in this moment, in a quiet house, no other noise but Ramona’s claws clicking on the floor as she walks by. The sun is drifting in and out, and I’m alone. And I’m alright with it. I’m alright with me, maybe not 100%, but at least we’ve crossed like the 80% marker.

It’s the constant fighting to control everything that I had to learn to let go of, and accept that not having everything just so was good. Surrender.

Blame. I feel like humans tend to need someone to blame when things don’t go their way, don’t you? Think about the media, politics, he said/she said rhetoric, and history. There’s always someone at fault for other people’s suffering…I tend to think that’s an extremely detrimental train of thought to get on board with. And an equally  difficult practice to disembark from.

Don’t confuse this with responsibility, that’s an entirely different conversation.

Does there really need to be someone to blame in any given situation? Aren’t all of us a composite of our experiences and our families generations of behaviors that get passed down over and over? We are each shaped by so many hands.

I think by blaming others we lose sight at our own opportunity to make the best choices we can with the situation as it has presented itself to us. I think very few things in life are caused by a single human. Because again, human interaction is also like Neapolitan ice cream. Once a movement/incident/epidemic gets going, it’s very hard to tell where it precisely began. We can make assumptions and guesses, but blaming never makes anyone truly feel better.

I think blaming also holds us hostage and prevent us from moving on. It’s prevent us from finding solutions and being constructive. We will never know all the whys, and seeking to assign blame for closure doesn’t work.

Joy and peace. Because they go hand in hand, like the salt and pepper of life…One of my very favorite quotes in the whole world goes a little something like this:

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

Here is a piece of my daily life peace…

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I think animals are steady practitioners of peace. I think their minds are mostly unmarred by the things that plague us, not just because we live different kinds of lives, but because I think they understand the simpler aspects of living and what is necessary, what is needed, what is appreciated and the rest is just white noise. I think humans should spend as much time as you can spare in their presence to take that inside.

I think peace isn’t so much an absence of unpleasantries as it is a cultivation of what’s going on around you. It’s a filter you can apply at any time to transcend the madness in your life. It’s a choice. It’s always been a choice, and realizing that will give you peace of mind. And I work on this all time as well.

Joy in it’s smallest minutia is what life is about, or at least I’m pretty damn sure it is. This may be my one super power. I find small joy everywhere and in the most random things. In the past 24 hours, I’ve been tabulating in my mind all the things that seemed so wonderful in my daily existence that I wouldn’t want to look back on and not have experienced them:

Showers and the warm of the water. The smell of anything and everything. Right now, it’s cut grass wafting in the open windows, later it will bacon cooking in the kitchen. The sunlight. Anywhere, everywhere. How it looks and feels. The quiet inside the house and the sounds of life going on in the distance like dogs barking, Birds chattering, cars and lawn mowers. Faline guarding the house, growling at neighbor’s guests while looking out the window. Too funny. Charlie racing up the stairs so he can throw himself on the floor for a belly rub, who needs four legs anyways. Aren’t cats hilarious? The delicate sound of the bells on their collars always makes me smile, dunno why. Like the clicking of the dog’s toe nails and tags. Talking to family and friends on the phone at random intervals, because we are in life together, no matter how shitty it gets. The moment I get in bed, knowing I’m going to get to go to sleep, it’s an enormous relief and comfort. Last night’s bonus, the bed was made with freshly cleaned sheets. Yesterday’s random grocery finds: Buying eggs from the local farmers who put little stories inside the carton. A really good slice of cinnamon bun cheesecake from my Co-op last night. Since we’ve become scavengers, I always feel like the robin who found a shiny bauble at such things in grocery stores…

This morning there was this:

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Do you see that purple in the low right corner? That’s red cabbage, and somehow she can discern that sound, the sound of chopping cabbage on a cutting board, from all the other sounds in the house. I can hear her coming to get her fill. It makes me giggle just writing about it.

Last night there was this bit of scrumptiousness:

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It’s called a champagne mango. I strongly suggest trying on before you leave this Earth. Let it get really ripe though, that’s my only word of caution. You want to make sure you have the experience at the height of the mango’s powers…

I guess that’s what I have to say about the here and now. It’s the Neapolitan combination of  Surrender, Lose the blame, find the peace and joy your human soul seeks. And I’m pretty sure those are all swirled together in the puddle we call life.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you are well in the world and if you would like to leave any comments, that would awesome. I know this was a long winded affair, you’re a champ for reading it!!!

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