A recent day: I awake at 4:30am to the repetitive BEEP of my alarm (frankly, the only sound that does not irk the paralyzing fear of waking up in the middle of the night into negative associations). Given that I set out my things the night before, I do the bare minimum of preparations to get myself appropriately dressed for work (admittedly, wearing clothing inside out and backwards is entirely dependent on how early I was able to tune out the rest of the evening world whirling around me). In my un-caffeinated state, I make a slightly lewd comment around my superior (note: it is not directed toward her), and then we start pulling shots for ourselves. Clearly, I am still groggy.
Contrary to popular opinion, coffee shops do not have their piping wired to automatically dispense coffee upon request, so we prepare the store to have things to sell before the doors open. They open. We realize one of our two espresso machines is spewing black gunge and hot water from the space above the spray head that releases the liquid you are addicted to. I make hundreds of beverages solo over the next few hours, and I go home and take a brief nap to refresh before noon. The rest of the world continues working and I have a workday behind me and an afternoon to do the things that are important to me.
The problem with a day like I just described is that these “important things” I come across in the space of my post-work afternoon sometimes involve thinking about topics that are difficult to express. Things like examining why I am tired of being told to “smile” or to “have a good day.” First, I will take a moment to explain before you can criticize without understanding where I am coming from.
Q: Why am I tired of this?
A: I get the idea of wishing others well, and finding pleasure in those around you feeling good, but these comments often come from people who either have ulterior motives, or who are not close to me, or who have not received an invitation to converse with me from me (and any applicable mixture of these three things). To be clear, I am more a practitioner of contentment and non-attachment. We should honor that everyone, as an individual encountering the human experience, might not be having the best experience, and that not smiling through something, or that having a day that is not categorized as “good,” is not inherently bad.
Second, I will take a moment to express that if you are someone who currently has something to not smile about, or who has had a day that is not necessarily “good,” then I wish you the best through this time. Please know that I say this as someone who has had a hectic, though admittedly exciting, few months. The thing about hectic experiences, you know, is that not all days feel that great. The other thing, though, is that sometimes, you learn to appreciate the process behind these experiences (despite the fact that this takes time, and you are never required to walk away from anything feeling any other way except the way that you do).
In the hectic-ness of my past few months, I have discovered some cool things. Granted, some of them have been small. But really, I am starting to wonder if everything is. Our days are comprised of hours comprised of minutes comprised of seconds comprised of tenths of seconds. If, in those moments, we are able to wiggle unexpectedly into advanced yoga postures (follow me!); or get tickets to see our favorite band following the impending release of their new album; or discover the only probiotic that has ever made a noticeable difference in our feelings of general wellness; or find out that kefir (pronounced, despite everyone’s apparent inclination otherwise, “kuh-feer”) is AWESOME and DELICIOUS; we might start to appreciate the spaces between those small, powerfully exciting moments, too.
I suppose I should address the final point in my trail of most recent discoveries, kefir. In its purest definition, it is fermented milk: tart, tangy, drinkable yogurt that is full of healthy bacteria for the gut. Given that I am, despite appearances, secretly a health nut, the fact that it is low in sugar and great for your digestive tract are important qualities for me. Should you find yourself wishing at this point that I might STOP talking about all these uninteresting things, fear not! Kefir is interesting because it serves as a great base for awesome-tasting things, too. I used the rich, amber quality of pure maple syrup to macerate and complement tart raspberries. Once the berries had reduced to sweet, delicious mush (in the span of about 20 minutes), I poured my new favorite ingredient into the glass and gently decorated my creation with the delicate bite of spicy cinnamon. That’s how I found a new thing that I can’t not do. And I hope you do it, too, in the expanse of whatever kind of day you are having, full of whatever kind of facial expressions you feel like displaying.
Kefir with Maple Macerated Raspberries and Cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 cup plain kefir (my favorite is this one)
cinnamon, for sprinkling
In a small cup, combine raspberries and maple syrup. Let sit for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour kefir on top of raspberry mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve.