Zen in a Can

by Bella Rum

You know I love him, but we’ve been together for almost two weeks.

All day.

Every single day.

The vacation was fantastic, but it lingered after we returned home. Days went by and he didn’t go to work, and then there was the long Memorial Day weekend. Yes that. That took us into a second week.

I love everything about him until about the sixth day. On the seventh day, I’m ready for some serious alone time. Then I begin to notice how he leaves things on the floor, little piles of things. I trip over them, crash into a table or chair and spill papers or books or a box of crackers all over the rug. Can you spill papers, books and crackers?

By the next day I’ve had it with him standing in the kitchen. I know there’s nothing wrong with standing, but he seems to spread himself across the room. How long are those legs? He’s like those people in grocery stores who block the aisles. He takes up the entire room, and I have to keep walking around him.

Then he starts finishing tasks I’ve started. I know I should look upon this as help, but it feels more like encroachment. I start to sweep, stop to shake a rug and when I turn around, he has the broom. I begin putting the groceries away; suddenly he’s grabbing everything and sticking it just any old place.

Then he stands in front of the refrigerator. By the middle of the second week, this simple and innocent act drives me wild.

By the end of the second week, his breathing irritates me.  I actually say to him, “Stop breathing so hard.” And after his shower, the bathroom smells like him – which doesn’t usually bother me, but suddenly it’s too much of HIM. I just NEED to be alone for a little while, and he’ll be the greatest guy in the world again.

By Memorial Day, I decide I’ll get out of the house and paint the porch. Paint the porch!?!?! In 98 degree temps and humidity out the wazoo? This from the gal who refuses to go outside when it’s more than 78 degrees with balmy breezes and dappled shade, but I actually find myself singing and humming as I paint away my irritation.

I’m never happier than when I have a paint brush in my hand, but it was the solitude that gave me that peaceful feeling. I need it more now than when I was younger. I can feel myself tightening up when I don’t get enough time to breathe.

There was the slightest breeze, and it made me think of leaving the harbor on Dad’s boat when I was a kid. My heart always lifted when we left the channel for open water. I once told my brother that I couldn’t be unhappy on open water.

My mind stopped racing as I dipped the brush in the paint and stroked the railing. My thoughts slowed. I watched as, with the swipe of my brush, the weathered railing became new and fresh and young again. How easy it was to transform a piece of wood, to give it new life. There’s  something about respecting and honoring and caring for what we already have. I don’t know. Suddenly there was a little space in between each of my thoughts. I could feel myself becoming calmer, finding the center.

He’s playing golf with my brother-in-law today. I told him that when he finally decides it’s time to quit his three-day-a-week job, he’ll have to find something else to do. He said that’s just fine with him. He doesn’t find me to be such a prize either. 🙂

So, we’re in agreement. He must play golf three days a week. Three is the perfect number. Who knew?

What do you do to find that calm within?