On Cold Pizza

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On Cold Pizza —

Who eats cold pizza? I do. And as I finished a leftover slice this morning, I considered just what it is that makes it so satisfying, that makes me feel so good?

Here’s what it is not – it is not flavorsome; it is not appetizing; it is neither yummy nor succulent, nor juicy (thank you, thesaurus). Just close your eyes and imagine thick cardboard topped with a congealed, slightly-chewy layer of wallpaper paste, and, every once-in-a-while, the bite of a hot pepper.

Oh, I know I could put it in the microwave. I could even use my new-found method of re-heating it in a skillet. That might make it taste better, but it wouldn’t be the same. No, cooking/heating it up would be what a grown-up would do, an adult who actually might want a slice of pizza that tasted, however faintly, like pizza.

I realized that what made the whole experience, might I say, delicious, is that eating cold pizza, right out of the refrigerator, is totally non-adult. And that’s why I like it. It’s that deliciously irresponsible feeling that I experience not nearly enough. Wicked, impish, playful, I love it.

And don’t we all deserve that in our ordered, call-or-write-your-senators days. Well, hell, yes! So now I leave these pages to make a list of more free and waggish tasks.  Oh, wait, I guess it isn’t too free to make a list. Nor to call impishness tasks. What can I say. I am a creature of well-defined habit.

So, here’s to cold pizza and drinking orange juice right out of the carton. Tomorrow the world!

http://www.cynthiastrauff.com

Gratitude and Joy: Compare and Contrast

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Gratitude and Joy:  Compare and Contrast

Gratitude – who in this life could not, should not, be grateful – even in the horrendous political climate we are enduring. The suggestions, admonitions, about gratitude, about keeping a gratitude journal, about simplicity, well, who would not agree with them? So much to be grateful for – and I honestly do spend most of my hours in a state of gratitude – for (some of) my family, my friends, my health, for having “enough,” and most of all, for the freedom of my days.

Freedom – to do what I want, when I want, to set my own schedule and be responsible for following or not following it. It has been years since I left the world of paid employment – and there has not been a day since when I have not breathed a deep sigh and paean of “thank you, universe, for this sovereignty.” It was not until I experienced it that I realized how fettered I had been for way-too-many years. It was a bondage that I had freely accepted, indeed, had sought out and believed was what I wanted, a way to prove myself, mainly to myself.

And then the veil was lifted, the clouds parted, and I found this life – late, but not too late. Gratitude, you bet. And a sense of enough – enough money, enough time, and (almost) enough love. Gratitude – absolutely.

Which brings me to joy, a quality that had not been my strong suit.

Ah, joy – to experience that unrestrained, free, soaring spell (for to me it is a spell – a good one) if only we open ourselves to it. Joy in its purest form, without the Puritan/Catholic/Jewish shackles of “you’d better be grateful for this and if you’re not, you’ll pay the price.” Just plain joy, without gratitude.

Whoa…. surely some severe consequence will befall me – this sunrise, can I just experience it, let it touch my heart, without a voice inside, sometimes quiet, sometimes more insistent, that declares – “this is a gift, be grateful, remember this for your entry to your gratitude journal”?

I know that joy is a gift, which I exuberantly receive with no chains or laces. And the more I open my eyes to it, the more it seems to appear. And do I ever love that no-strings-attached thing-y.

The universe conspired to send me back to an old friend, Abigail DeWitt, a wondrous writer and teacher who has been a muse and inspiration to me for several years. It is she, via her Write to Heal course, who opened my eyes and heart to joy. Even more thanks to you, Abigail.

I’ll end with a joyous commercial for her – learn about her and her programs on her website: abigaildewitt.com. You may wind up entering that into your gratitude journal….

Another Sunday, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com

On the Elasticity of Freedom

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Girl jumping with rose petals in air

On the Elasticity of Freedom

Last week I spent five days on my own – in my house – just me – and the cats. So, I said to my highly-in-need-of-structure self, this is an opportunity. Throw off those shackles of your “to do” list, be free, do only what you feel like doing, when you feel like doing it, be spontaneous. You can do it!

Now I realize that, since I left the world of paid employment (without a backward glance I might add), I am nothing but free, as I regularly prepare lists and schedules of tasks, errands, and most importantly, writing goals. Write every day the experts say – seat-in-chair. And so, for the most part, I have done this – as my seat is currently in-chair at the Toyota dealership for my car’s annual state inspection. And even on those days that I don’t write, I’m thinking about writing, and/or feeling guilty about not writing.

So, all this is a much too lengthy introduction to my point. I gave myself permission to NOT write, NOT research, and NOT feel guilty about it.

Just how did I fill my time? Naps, a season four House of Cards Netflix binge, lots of foreign and independent films, all the while supine on the sofa, with cats stretched out on various parts of my body.

I admit that being without a schedule, without a list, made me a bit anxious. And, yes, I succumbed. I did write down those things I wanted to do, though I not assign a day, time, or priority code. I told myself that I just wanted those words on paper so that I wouldn’t forget anything. Yes, and I’m sticking to that story.

How free was I, you ask? Well, I even read library books as my fancy chose, throwing caution to the wind about their due dates. I spent time on the sun porch; I straightened closets and junk drawers, and then read some more.

It was a lovely interlude. And as long as I knew it was an interlude, that soon I would be free to resume my rhythm of life, with husband returned, with responsibilities, with meetings, and, yes, even dinners to prepare, that taste of freedom was delicious. But, like a rich Viennese torte, best savored in small amounts.

Another Sunday, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com