In a few weeks I'm going to move from my tiny studio apartment, with its overcrowded kitchen and teeny stove and refrigerator door that doesn't quite close unless you push on it really hard. I'm excited to make this change and at the same time scared, two-sides-of-the-same-coin feelings that leave me a little unbalanced as I flip-flop between them.
This morning, like almost every morning, I got out of bed and stumbled three steps into the kitchen (I said tiny, right?) flicking on the kettle to get my first cup of tea going pronto. Somewhere in my foggy brain a thought burbled up: What will the morning choreography be in the next place? Suddenly I was flooded with nostalgia for something I have not yet lost. Standing there, still half awake and partially formed, I felt oddly vulnerable and a little sad, ready and not ready to take this next step.
A few minutes later, anchored by the tea and the smell of bread toasting, I considered the value of resiliency and the ability to navigate life's bumps and stutters and uncertainties without falling apart. How can we be bright and available to these challenges and yet not so overwhelmed that we become numb, distracted, shut down? I decided that one important element is choosing your coping mechanisms wisely. I looked down at my tea with toast and jam breakfast and figured I'm off to a good start.
Tea with toast and jam is one of my most comforting breakfasts, so basic and easy to throw together. It's something I have often, so it feels reliable, especially in times that aren't. We have a history, me and this breakfast ritual, that sends me out into the unknown, strong and able and ready to tame the dragons that come my way.
In the scale of human difficulties, moving isn't top of the list but it is stressful and, this time in particular, has threads of grief and loss woven into its sense of adventure and shiny new horizons. As the big day draws near, I'm realizing that I need all the help I can get. So I remind myself to be sure to pack my favorite tea and mug so that they're easy to get to: I suspect I'm really going to need them in the weeks to come.
Is there a food or food ritual that anchors you to your life, fortifies your spirit and helps you cope?
(Image: Dana Velden)