Today I filled in the blanks.

HIGH POINT: Appreciating (yet again!) how much deeper my experience can be when I let go of outcomes

LOW POINT: Extra dishes to wash

BIGGEST LEARNING: I’d still make a terrible chef but at least I can appreciate the art form a little better

A couple of months ago I was over at a girlfriends house while she prepared food.  As I sat and watched (yes, I did offer to help first), I found myself astonished by the care and time she took to put together the meal.  She pulled out beautiful plates, delicate side bowls, sprinkled on garnishes, dabbed on spices and generally made (in my mind at the time) a simple process unnecessarily long and complex.

I was also secretly starving and wishing that she’d just hand me a bowl, a spoon and a blender.  Needless to say, it was quite a lesson in how other people do things.

I like completion.  I enjoy the relief of knowing that a task is done and all the edges rounded off.  I dislike ‘wasting’ time on beautifying and buffing those edges.  One look at my hair and you’ll know that to be true.

Each day over this past month I have been tempted  to hurry through to the ‘publish’ button once my final line has been written.  After all, that’s the whole point right?  Complete one blog a day for thirty-days?  Press publish each day before midnight?  Yes, they certainly may be the goals, but like so many destinations, it’s about who you become along the way.

Thanks to this challenge (and an influential creator friend of mine), I am learning the beauty of slowing down to appreciate the detours and unexpected stopovers that make any road trip worthwhile.

Just like a Middle Ages stonemason building a grand cathedral (yes, the last book I read was ‘Pillars of the Earth’),  the final structure will not stand without cement to hold it together.  The cathedrals of our life; relationships, work, family, playtime, adventure, will also not endure if we don’t inject something of substance into the blank spaces.

That is, without care, love, compassion, joy, meaning, depth, purpose…what does it matter if we reach California in time for the Little Miss Sunshine pageant?

Inside this blog the process is straight forward; how can I make a statement more impactful, bold, precise?  How can I drive my message home with even greater clarity?  How can I say the same thing from a different angle?  How can I insert even more fun, play, emotion, drama?

Outside in my life, this new practice is not so simple.  It is however, infinitely valuable.

Over the past 29-days I have experienced my own detours by way of:

  • Relaxed phone conversations that last hours rather than minutes (without even a glance at the clock)
  • Finding the fun and the funny whenever possible
  • Pulling out my version of the fancy silverware
  • Listening with far more than my ears
  • Using coriander
  • Dressing up when I don’t need to
  • Responding to texts, questions and comments with consideration for the other person – rather than an eagerness to get to the result
  • Pausing and contemplating before speaking in general
  • Giving more value to others
  • Asking in each moment: how can I bring even more to this?
  • Lingering hugs (see Day 28)
  • More touching

Just like so many of my greatest learnings here, I am astounded by how such small changes have led to such vast differences in my overall experience.

So here’s a massive cheers to pulling out the fine china, getting dressed up for dinner and forgetting to turn the oven on because the conversation was far more interesting.

Who knows, one day I might even have the hairstyle to prove it.