Oatmeal @ Clean Bedroom – Webster

This morning I overheard a conversation in the other room about the annoyance and inconvenience of maple and brown sugar oatmeal.

Of all the oatmeal flavors: apple cinnamon, bananas and cream, blueberries and cream, etc, maple and brown sugar oatmeal is not only less preferable but it actually causes offense. Serving this flavor to a child will bring scorn on your household.

Thing is, depending on where I order groceries from, the Fruit and Cream only pack may not be available. Added to that, given the fact that we could survive a small developed country for a year on the amount of oatmeal consumed in our household in a month, I kind of assume that the worst thing that could happen if we have a few of these MBS packets laying around is that a teenager will shrug their shoulders and eat them sometime between 2a and 3a in the morning when they reached the end of TikTok.

Try as I might, as I have been cleaning today, I cannot shake “the inconvenience of maple and brown sugar”. The call for action to ban MBS oatmeal in the household had a gravitas to it and it just got in my head. All morning as I have been cleaning, I found myself thinking “this is so inconvenient”.

Caked mud in my rug? Inconvenient.

Printer paper removed and not replaced? Inconvenient.

8 cereal bowls when 3 people ate? Inconvenient. The fact that two of them had almost entire portions of strawberries and cream oatmeal sitting in them for me to scrape out? Comedic and inconvenient.

Squashed blueberry in between the floor boards? Inconvenient.

Clean laundry heaped in a laundry basket? Inconvenient.

But more inconvenient than any of that was the fact that I was thinking this and my Monday morning groove with the tunes and the caring for the house was tainted by a pervasive voice in my head marching a rebellion of spirit. And I didn’t want that. I don’t want that.

“How disgusting to have maple and brown sugar oatmeal in the house. How offensive.” I kept thinking as I wiped down the toilet seats or as I scraped out caked applesauce with my thumbnail.

As I was putting the plants back in the south side window, I realized maybe I was grieving.

Maybe the sting of what came across as an insult resulted in me grieving the purpose I felt in my work. It’s not that the purpose I felt in my work is something I lost when I retired from corporate life. Purpose was something I hoped to reignite when I took a leap of faith on a new job in February and it just did not happen.

I let myself explore this for a little bit and found myself replaying some thoughts I had last night about work.

When I was falling asleep last night, I wondered if something had come up in the past couple of weeks that would have been “a job for Erin”. These days, the satisfaction of the perfect Excel filter is rivaled by the satisfaction of vacuuming up this one particularly popular corner in the kitchen and so today? I found myself wanting to be the smart person.

I found myself missing that feeling of showing up to a meeting and hearing, “oh good – you’re here”.

I miss the importance I allowed myself to feel when preparing for a meeting and having what I thought were the key questions to get answered so I could jump on and then jump off to a different collaboration I knew I was going to play an active part on.

My purpose felt reduced to the right flavors of oatmeal. Ah, yes, that is the emotional crux I dealt with this morning.

And the thing about it is that I know what I need to do. I need to finish up the odds and ends to button up my Monday cleaning and get to my notebooks. I have a self set deadline to send the content for the writing project I am working on to Delene (editor) this Thursday. I need to follow up with the publishing team at Village books. I need to get down in my creative hole.

I need to binge a show while I put together Christmas gifts and enjoy my creativity.

I need to align with my real, real purpose: giving, creating, serving.

It can be so hard to zoom out though, can’t it? I’m getting there. The brain is an interesting thing. Writing helped. :)

Prayer Life

I cried at work yesterday. Heavy sighs. Mental block. Exhaustion. In hindsight, though it was in the privacy of my basement studio, it was a childish reaction.

I’m sitting on my front steps. I moved a wreath of dried herbs and flowers to the hook on my 100 year old front door and it looks really nice. The plants all look good thanks to the rain and the sweet potato vine is literally reminding me of my best friend.

Birds. Morning. Ya know.

I just finished a 50 minute kundalini practice, complete with chanting Ek Ong Kar. It has been since May that I have taken the time to practice. The most interesting part of yoga to me is the inner dialogue. When you’re new to practicing, you acquaint yourself and become a witness. I believe this is the majority of the work.

When you have experience with yoga, you know this voice. For me, after not practicing for so long, I heard this pleading, scared, tired, voice. And I felt the relationship between this voice – ego – and my reaction to work.

Enter stage right, my prayer life.

It has been months since I have seen my prayer beads – actually well over a year. A string of beads I put together, each with a person or a theme. Work has a bead. Purpose and creativity has one. I taught workshops on putting together your list and then shopping beads to match.

People loved those workshops. They were rich and fun and interesting in their dialogue.


Last night, after a grueling day, Lucy came out to the front porch where Ellen and I were still sitting, digesting dinner.

“Why did you throw your prayer beads away?” She asked me. I was honestly perplexed. I sent her in to take care of the recycles and she came out curious about my prayer beads.

I was feeling loopy and off kilter from the day. What was she talking about.

Sure enough there they were in her hand. She showed me what she was doing, emptying a box of papers to be shredded and there they were at the bottom.

Crying at work is not who I am. I held the work bead and the creativity purpose bead in my hand and took a few deep breaths in before starting back at this puzzle. I worked until about 10 pm and shrugged at my attempt. Curious to move on.

I am finding myself aware of my tools and feeling a proverbial slap in the face to wake up and remember gifts and poise and breath. I am glad for the very real experience of struggling with yourself on the mat so that others don’t have to struggle with you unnecessarily.

Gotta keep my energetic self clean. Cared for.

Hot water with lemon.

Morning yoga.

Prayer Life.