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The Bowls Of Happiness

As promised, I want to talk this week about waffles. But first, I must begin with The Bowls of Happiness.

Pyrex bowls, yellow, green, red and blue

This set of Pyrex bowls greets me every morning, as they did every day of my childhood. Every day, mom, (dad, occasionally, for his special meatballs), and my twin sister, Patty, and I used these bowls. Perhaps, the blue one to scramble eggs, the red to make Waldorf salad, the green for mixing pie crust, the yellow for filling with sliced MacIntosh apples we'd picked from our trees, and covered with cinnamon and sugar--snitched, of course, by me.

These bowls, which I inherited (thank you, Patty!), begin my day, typically before the sun has risen. I use the red to mix up my waffle batter.

Red bowl

As you can see, the bowl wears its scars, as we all do. They are part of a fully-lived life. And what gets thrown at us along the way.

But what I like about the bowl is that it arrives each morning clean and empty. It holds possibility, but no promises. It's up to me to proceed on the truest path I can to achieve the outcome I desire. And even then, there are no guarantees.

But I am also reminded of a story told about a wise Zen monk and a student, which Sue Bender wrote about in her book, "Everyday Sacred."

The student asks many, many questions, but becomes increasingly annoyed and angry when the monk refuses to answer. Eventually the monk says, "Pour me a cup of tea, and I will tell you when to stop."

So the student begins pouring tea. He pours and pours. The cup overflows and spills everywhere. Frustrated, the student finally speaks, pointing out that the cup is full, and can hold no more.

"'And so it is with you, the wise teacher answers. 'Your mind is full of too many things. Only when you are empty will there be room for more knowledge to come in.'"

Looking into the bowls

I long for those moments of emptiness, those moments when I am open to all that wants to find me. Silence fills me more than sound. I turn off the radio in the car when I drive (okay, except for the occasional listening of the podcast "The West Wing Weekly!"). I often walk in the woods or kayak alone, not talking to anyone, not listening to music on my phone.

My favorite moment is when I rise early, eat my waffles (oh yes--stay tuned!), and get to the beach a mile from my house before dawn. I stand by the water's edge, letting the colors flow into me. As the sun rises, arms flung wide, I give gratitude for the colors, for the sun, and for the day. Who knows what it will hold?

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