Three rags in hand, standing on a tall step stool in our screened-in porch with a bucket of dirty, soapy water by my side, I was (ready for this?) washing the ceiling. Yes, the ceiling. As I wiped down the beadboard, board by board, I eventually gained a rhythm to the project.
First, I tried a mop. The end result was a wet head coupled with dirt, grime, and mold smeared on the ceiling. After replacing the carpeting I had moved out of the way to use the mop, I tried using a rag rubbing back and forth to remove the black grime. Although it wasn’t quite as messy, the rag quickly became dark with dirt and had to be rinsed too frequently.
I then moved on to using three rags. Three because I could hold three in one hand and I had enough material to wipe down each board without having to rinse out the rags quite as much. Less steps to climb as I went up and down the stool to refresh each rag.
If I got ahead of myself, I found I had to redo something. If I skipped a board or did not wipe it down well, I was met with the idea of having a dingy gray ceiling instead of having the shiny, white beadboard ceiling back. If I tried to reach further than where I comfortably could from the step stool, I became off-balance and my attention was drawn more to not losing my footing than the work I was doing above me.
As I painstakingly cleaned, I thought about how this experience was analogous to many of my life’s experiences. How often have I gotten ahead of myself? Or, how often had I so badly wanted to get ahead of where I needed to be (or where I was) that I never started what I wanted to start?
Baby steps. That ceiling took baby steps. Aside from the fact it may seem crazy to clean a ceiling…I am quite thankful to have been reminded of that lesson. The lesson that sometimes the only way to reach a goal or go through a process (so many things in life are a process) is one small step followed by another small step.
There is a saying in the yoga world, “meet yourself where you are.” In other words, become mindful of who you are in the present and your surroundings without wanting something to be different than it is. Take stock and go from there. This provides a great jumping off platform…solid footing from which to work.
In that four hours, life was framed. Life was taught. Life was as is.
Quinoa and Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Garbanzo Beans
The sweet sun-dried tomatoes play off the salty olives well. Substance comes from quinoa, brown rice, and garbanzo beans. Nice finishing touches are a big squeeze of lemon, as much parsley as you like, and a slub of yogurt. If you don’t have quinoa, using all brown rice or farro in this dish would be fine rather than a combination of grains. The yogurt can be made into a sauce to serve on the side. Add salt, a touch of raw garlic and a squeeze of lemon. Stir to combine.
- 1 c. brown rice, cooked
- 1/2 c. quinoa, cooked
- 1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained or cooked dried beans
- 1 large leek, well cleaned, sliced thinly (about 2/3 c.)
- 1/2 c. julienned oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 T. oil from tomatoes
- 1/4 c. (heaping) pitted black olives, thinly sliced
- vegetable broth, optional
- chopped parsley
- lemon wedges
- T. or two of plain yogurt or prepared sauce, omit for vegans
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
- Set aside prepared grains and beans. In a large skillet heat 2 T of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Once heated, add the leeks and pinch of salt. Increase heat slightly and begin to sauté the leeks. Once the leeks have softened, about 5 – 7 minutes, stir in the prepared grains, beans, tomatoes, oil from tomatoes, and olives. Warm through. Salt to taste. Add a splash or two of broth if dish needs moistening.
- Plate each serving. Garnish with parsley, lemon wedge, and yogurt. Serve immediately. Serves 3 generously.