My mom in her kitchen, early 1950's (Instagram)

All I wanted to do was to sleep longer. In that snug state of just waking up but being too sunken into the cradle of sheets to move, I heard a deep, soft voice whisper, ‘I’m making waffles, do you want one?’ After momentarily contemplating sleeping longer and ignoring the voice versus waking up to the waffles that I realized I could already smell cooking, I woke up saying ‘yes.’  I mean I actually woke up. Woke up from the dream. There was no tempting aroma, no waffle, no handsome man waiting to serve it to me. You can imagine the disappointment I felt.

It always perplexes me how in one moment I can go from strong, independent, fulfilled woman to a needy little lonely girl. That day I woke up feeling like the little girl. Why the hell was there no one around to thoughtfully fix me waffles as a gentle way to ease me out of bed? As the day progressed, similar questions arose. Why did I have to do all of the chores, depend on myself to get me where I was going, talk myself into doing what I needed to and out of the stress and confusion that came up in my life? Why was there no one there to pick up the slack if I decided to let it all go?

Inevitably, I recovered and made it back to a healthy state of confidence and happy self-reliance. I also happened upon a philosophical discussion (via Oprah podcast) about the ego and awareness parts of the self. In this conversation, spiritual thinker Eckhart Tolle talked about how he realized that these parts were distinct when he was talking in frustration to himself about himself.

The rest of the conversation revolved around recognizing these different parts of yourself and when they crop up in life: awareness when you are perhaps in a present state of mind and ego when you feel pain or identification with thoughts about yourself. To heighten the best and most joyful parts of living, it was important to take responsibility for which part of yourself was in control, to acknowledge your presence in a moment. After spending some time engaging with this philosophy and trying to take its lessons to heart, I encountered another dreamy morning conversation.

Again cozy and peaceful, morning seemed to break too early. I had so much to do, so much I had intended to do right away. I was too comfortable to get up, I thought. I didn’t want to run, I didn’t feel like it. Plus, I reasoned, I didn’t have clean shorts and sports bras, and I didn’t want to do laundry on top of everything else today. As I deliberated over these issues, I became less relaxed. With this realization, I stepped back. It was a bit like the spirit coming out of Patrick Swayze in Ghost, but in a much calmer manner.

This time, what I heard was my voice saying to myself, ‘okay, you stay there. I’ll take care of you.’ Imagining comfy me lying in bed, I got out of bed and got dressed. I picked up my rather messy apartment room by room. I made oatmeal with a generous amount of apples chopped up with care. I cleaned the dishes. I did the laundry- no big deal. I did it all with great care, keeping in mind that I wanted to do this well to support the other me. I told myself that I’d help her on a run, that she didn’t have to go fast or far and that I’d go with her.  I told her that I would take her to the coffee shop and do some work and that I’d make sure she got back in time to make a healthy lunch. Anytime other me felt stressed or overwhelmed or stuck, I told her ‘You’re fine. I’ll take care of you’, and I did.

I always spurned the idea of having someone around just for comfort, just to make things easier- though on days like the waffle dream day I feel more friendly towards it. In many instances that person can only be a dream, because no one can know all of who you are, what you are feeling, and what you need. Turning the strong, capable, caring parts of me into that supportive person and directing her compassion towards the vulnerable me helps me feel altogether peaceful. With those two parts of me in congruence, I can appreciate them both. I feel happy about where I am, what I’m doing, and how I am doing it, and anytime I need waffles, I know that I’ll find them.

Inspiration:

http://www.oprah.com/app/a-new-earth.html

Related beautiful story:

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/stitcher/levar-burton-reads/e/57777746