Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Many Hands

As the proverb goes, they make light work...

...even if they turn purple after a while.


Today was the perfect example of what a team can be at its best. It reminds me of why I love working at the bakery and what a joy it is to get to experience the synergistic energy of a group of people working toward a common goal. And having fun in the process.

Yep, as you might have guessed from some previous posts, today was "200 Gift Box Day".

And the true beauty of it was, it went off without a hitch!

Stacked even taller than me! : )

And the reason it went so smoothly? None of us was in it alone.

Last week I was working through the feelings of anxiety of what this day would be. And the reason I was anxious?

I often forget the I'm not alone part.

A couple years ago I participated in a 10-day silent meditation retreat with about fifteen other people, only one of which I knew. On the final day when we were able to begin talking again, I was surprised to find I had nothing to say. Everyone else spoke about how they were affected positively by other people in the group, about how the energy encouraged them and buoyed them along, supporting them in their most challenging times.

I was shocked.

I realized I had come into that experience as I do many others...feeling like I had to muscle through on my own. Like the only person I could, or ever should depend on is myself. Like my identification with being a strong independent woman depended on my ability do this and do it well. Without fail.

And yet to hear how lovingly everyone spoke of everyone else and their experiences of connection even though we rarely looked at each other and didn't speak to one another for ten days, I realized I had missed something beautiful and precious and deeply important.

None of us is ever alone. Ever.

Whether it is the energy of a group of others, the energy in nature, the divine spark in ourselves -- connection is available to us at all moments, if only we get out of our own way.

I missed the connection at the retreat because I was attached to my story of "alone". There's no doubt I had something to prove. If my story -- my ego's drama that I had built my life on -- said my sense of self-worth was based on how well I could take care of myself and anything that happened to fall within my realm of responsibility without depending on others for anything, I had to know that I could...that I excelled at it above all else.

What I learned that day -- and am reminded of again on days like today -- is that yes, I've proven to myself time and time again that I can do it alone. But gratefully, I don't have to.

None of us have to.

The choice is ours in this life to open up, invite others in, to be part of a team, to be one of the many sets of hands that will make short work of even the most daunting tasks...whether that task is 10 days of silence, a challenging yoga class, 200 gift boxes or getting a good meal in your family on any of many crazy, busy days.

When we do open up, guess what happens?

We get to set that self-imposed burden down. We get to relax. We get to let go and ride the wave. We get to connect and remember we're all in this wild adventure together.

We get to experience joy.

Thanks to my bakery team today for sharing in the work and for the joy of remembering we're all in it together!//

12 Brews of Christmas!
Speaking of us all being in it together, I had a nice surprise when I got home.

T was at Excelsior Vintage this afternoon on a sales call and told Rob -- EV's main dude -- what we were up to. He doesn't normally sell brews by the bottle, but in support of our fun, he let T buy this one.

You may remember Lagunitas from WTF last Tuesday. These guys have a sense of humor and don't take themselves too seriously.

I love that!

(Check out that fine man in the kitchen cooking dinner in the background!!)

For the eleventh brew of Christmas, my true love bought for me...

...the Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale. These guys crack me up! The story goes like this: When it came time to brew their favorite holiday brew, BrownShugga' Ale, they realized they didn't have the capacity they needed to do it. So they didn't.

And have been publicly flogging themselves ever since.

They are very clear that they made a mistake. I mean, just look at the name of the beer! And the label...

: )

There's that cute dog again!

So, this beer is the lightest and most interesting so far. And on a whim no less! They call it their "Cereal Medley" consisting of Rye, Wheat, Barley and Oats.

T's first comment was that it tasted sweet. When I said oats he said, mmm...oatmeal. I don't know if I would go quite that far, but it's complex and earthy with all those different grains. Yes, a little sweet, a little hoppy. And refreshing. Different.

So if they have to flog themselves to make something this fun and unique, it must motivate them and we'll let them at it.

I'll just happily drink their mistakes.

What's For Dinner Tonight?
What did my man make me for dinner tonight, you ask?

His old family recipe...

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 onion chopped and cooked with the beef
2 stalks celery, chopped and cooked with the beef
1 cup cooked macaroni pasta (or noodle of your choice)
1 small can tomato paste
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes
1/4 tsp dried minced garlic
Italian seasoning to taste
s+p to taste

T serves this with baked beans...makes for a nice sweet/savory combo.

We are breaking out the comfort food all over the place!

What old family recipes do you usually break out this time of year?

Enjoy your night! : )

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